Dealing with Our Stuff

23 Oct

Tooth FairyOn Facebook, some time ago, Christian comedian Rhonda Rhea asked, “So, what do you suppose the tooth fairy does with all those teeth?”

Rhonda certainly has a creative mind, writing lots of humorous-but-insightful books. But this Facebook entry made me wonder about teeth and other things I’ve saved over the years. I remember saving my sons’ teeth in a little green bottle for years to give to them when they grew up ~ until I realized they probably wouldn’t want this icky memory someday.

A few years back, I looked around my home and analyzed what I saw. Many memories ~ and things I’ll keep until I die because they are special to me. (I doubt they’ll be that “special” to my kids. I mean, what are they going to do with my rubber chicken?)

But there are other things that, quite honestly, are just taking up space. How many crystal bowls does one need for entertaining? How many books on gastro-intestinal problems? How many sets of placemats?

My friend, Carolyn Peak, once wrote me that she went through her trailer and counted the number of pairs of scissors she had. (Yes, it is pair of scissors for one; a pair of scissors consists of two pivoted blades. But I digress.)  Carolyn had nine, and she questioned the sanity of having more pairs of scissors than rooms in her trailer. (This was before scrapbooking made all those cutsey scissors necessary.) I won’t even tell you how many pair of scissors I have. And don’t ask me about other office supplies. Suffice it to say the cabinet door won’t close.

Woman Destroyed by "Stuff"Quotes from the popular television show, Hoarding: Buried Alive, indicate that hoarding has ruined people’s lives. They are overwhelmed by their “stuff,” not knowing where to start to eliminate even the unnecessary. At the end of 2009, there were some 50,000 self-storage facilities in the United States; and according to the “Self Storage Demand Study” (2007), one in ten American households now rent a storage unit.* That is up 75 percent from 1997 ~ we are becoming pack rats, addicted to things!

I’ve seen firsthand how hoarding can overwhelm people, control their lives, destroy relationships, and strip them of the joy and productivity God intended for them.

Words from Peter Walsh, the professional organizer from another television show, Clean Sweep, and the author of a book called It’s All Too Much, might be part of the answer to the hoarding problem. Walsh asks homeowners what they envisioned for their home. Then he helps them eliminate what doesn’t  belong in that vision. I am using that principle to go through my home, closet by closet and drawer by drawer. (I’m tackling that office supply cabinet soon.)

The vision I have for my home is this: “refuge, hospitality, glory to God.” Anything that disturbs the peace of refuge, gets in the way of opening my home to encourage and serve, or doesn’t reflect well on my Lord has to go, regardless of my emotional attachment. I want to follow scriptural advice to live an orderly life (1 Cor. 14:40) and glorify God, especially in my home (1 Cor. 10:31). I need to learn contentment, too (Heb. 13:5-6; 1 Tim. 6:8; 1 Tim. 6:6).

Bottom line is ~ we can’t take anything with us anyway. It’s all temporary. Our desire should be for God, not the things of earth (Ps. 73:25). So we need to be wise about what we allow in our homes. We need to practice discernment in how we use our homes. (Homes were never meant to be storage units, were they?)

What is your biggest struggle in dealing with the “stuff” in your home?

I’ve written two articles that might help: Hoarders and Pack Rats and Collection or Clutter. Part of the answer is to simplify, and I know Marcia Ramsland can help with that! Do you know of other helpful  resources, or have insights to share with others who struggle with their “stuff”?

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_storage

 

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