These past two weeks have been big ones for Austin and me. We are closing in on the final steps of purchasing our first home. Though we are cautiously optimistic about how soon we will be able to close on a house, we are fairly confident that we will be living in a small space for the next five to ten years.
Here in the US, and even more specifically in the south, bigger always seems to be better.
Also, here in the US, we have this little thing called the dang real-estate market. Austin and I live in Nashville, (which is in my opinion) one of the most fun cities you’ll find in this country. It is growing by the day, and in turn, everything is turning to gold.
While that means it is a good time to invest, it also means that I am not going to get the same thing for my budget that I might get in my hometown in Kentucky.
All of this being said, I have gotten serious in the past two weeks about simplifying my life. And it has been super fun and exciting!
Moreover, I have come across scripture that has really convicted my love for stuff lately.
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For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
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Things we own here on this earth are not bad. They are not sinful. We are the sinful ones. We are the discontent ones.
I really noticed this discontentment in myself when I became all bent out of shape over the number of bathrooms that would be in my home. It seems like a simple ask: more than one bathroom. It would certainly be more convenient. But what if God is calling me to a neighborhood where the homes just don’t have more than one bathroom. What if He is asking me to give up convenience and comfort for the sake of His Kingdom.
I wouldn’t know because I would be too busy complaining and in turn, drown out His voice.
So I am on a mission to turn down the noise. This week, I turned down the noise of my extra stuff in my home using the KonMari Method. Here is how you can do the same:
1. Break your life into categories–not rooms.
I am the type that usually thinks about organization by room. But even organizing your stuff by room can get way overwhelming. Think about it: your bedroom has all your clothes, your books, your cosmetics, your jewelry, and the ever dreaded junk drawer.
Simplifying your bedroom–or any room–likely won’t be an hour ordeal. It may take an entire day or multiple afternoons. Take it slow. Take it by category.
2. Gather an entire category into one area.
Once you decide what section you are going to tackle, gather everything into one are. If your category is clothing, lay everything out on your bed. If your category is “books”, lay all of them out on your table. If your category is “kitchen utensils”, lay them across your counter.
The point is, you need to see everything.
For example, I have three short sleeved black shirts that are almost identical. Had I pulled out everything one at a time, I may have neglected to rid myself of one or both of the unneeded shirts.
3. Ask yourself, does this item make me happy?
Okay, I get it. This question is the corniest. But it is seriously the best thing that you could ask yourself when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep something. Let’s go back to the three black shirts. I tried all three on and realized that I only really liked the fit of one. Therefore, when wearing the other two, I was thinking about how I wished they fit differently.
Only one made me happy. So I can only keep one.
Now there will definitely be other things that don’t necessarily make you happy, but they contribute to happiness in your life. Another example: the glass pyrex I got for my wedding makes me happier than all the plastic wear that I got as a poor college student because it is better quality (and also is less likely to give my family cancer). So I got rid of all the plastic I didn’t need.
(If you are a believer, keep reading! There is a different question below for you that might appeal to you even more than this one.)
4. Dust or clean everything you decide to keep.
This step is annoying, but I promise it makes a difference.
If you know you have to physically clean everything you keep, you might be less likely to hang on to unnecessary things that don’t mean a lot to you. This trick is a psychological beauty.
If you don’t want to wash a delicate piece of clothing, press it. Cleaning things make them feel new, so not only will you be better at discerning what to keep, but you will feel like you got a whole new plethora of shiny new things that you can’t wait to use!
5. Reorganize everything and put it back in its place.
Last but not least, put it back all pretty. Maybe try rolling your towels rather than folding. Maybe reorganize your pantry to better fit the needs of your family. Really consider your life and how your organization methods might need to be reworked.
The point of this whole process is to make us reconsider what we need. If all the stuff in our lives is potentially leading to stress then we have to consider whether or not it really has a place in our homes any longer.
The longer we hold on to the arbitrary, the harder it is to let go.
This is an adapted way of doing the KonMari method and it was taken from the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. But I want to challenge you to go a step beyond this book.
I want to ask you to consider asking yourself before you begin, “Do I have an overbearing love for my stuff?” I want you to consider that none of this stuff will follow you beyond this world.
I want us to join in asking, “Do all these things make me a better disciple and a better disciple maker?” If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, ask God to allow you to let go. Our Saturdays are better spent spending time with our families and going through scripture with our friends than up-keeping all of the things that have invaded our lives.