I’m amazed by the amount of stuff we have accumulated in our house during the six years we’ve lived here.

I’m also amazed by how contingent my crankiness is upon how settled and organized said stuff is in our house. If said stuff is strewn everywhere, upstairs and down, everyone better watch out because mama won’t be happy and you know if mama ain’t happy . . .

So since the June 1 deadline of Heart Sisters, I’ve been selecting a room or area of our house to go through and pitch, donate, or relocate.

I have a strong need for visual peace. This isn’t a case of OCD because I don’t have an OCD personality  (and no, I’m not in denial.)

It’s just that the more stuff I have to keep track of, the more clouded my brain becomes with said stuff and I become a ticking time bomb about to explode with words like “We have too much stuff!” and “Why can’t we pick up our stuff?!” and, my personal favorite,  “I am not your servant!”

Of course, all three statements are true – we do have too much stuff and my children (OK, and me) need to do a better job of picking it all up. And I’m certainly not anyone’s servant though yes, I feel like one often because I’m a mom.

So with the goal of shedding crappage in mind, we cleared out the playroom last week. Several McDonald’s toys were pitched (my kids still don’t know about this and no one has wondered about the whereabouts of those plastic trinkets) and we took a slew of gently-used toys to a local organization that helps the homeless get back on their feet.

When we returned home, I assessed the order of the playroom and exhaled. “This is an amount of stuff we can manage,” I thought to myself.

And as I stepped into the kitchen to begin our dinner frenzy, I felt lighter. I felt less stress. I felt like I actually might be able to answer my four year old’s inevitable inquiry of the whereabouts of his Transformers.

No one has missed one single donated toy.

My children have been playing in the play room more. They’ve discovered toys that were lost for so long they now seem like new. Basically, they’re doing more with less.

So I can’t help but wonder: Does the presence of so much stuff actually complicate our lives rather than enrich it? We accumulate our “stuff” because well, we can. We don’t live in a third world country where our children have to use a balloon as a soccer ball. We live in a society of excess and embarrassing wealth.

Yet the United States is one of the most stressed-out cultures in existence.

When I was in Florida a few weeks ago, I spent a week with a wardrobe of five shirts, five bottoms, and two bathing suits.

I did just fine. In fact, I was able to get myself ready in record time because there weren’t a whole lot of outfit choices.

Similarly, today after church, we went through a Subway drive-thru. It took ages. It always takes ages.

Of course, I needed to voice this complaint to my dear husband who then said, “Well, they make everything fresh and there are so many choices.”

Exactly. There are so many choices.

What kind of bread? What kind of cheese? Toasted or not? Veggies? Condiments?

For the love of Pete, I’m exhausted by the end of my order.

It’s in this process of shedding our material stuff that I see the lesson, oh always the lesson, He’s teaching . . .

My own stuff gets in the way of a whole lot. It makes me cranky. It makes me tired. It keeps me from putting good stuff in its place.

It’s sneaky and deceitful because our stuff makes us believe if we just have it, then we will be happy or accepted or at peace or whatever our hearts are longing for.

But it’s in the simplification, the stillness of less, that we find our peace.

One trip to Goodwill at a time.

What about you? Does your stuff stress you out? How do you manage clutter in your house?






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