I’m not sure I can even say.
Maybe it was stress that brought it on. Or maybe it was a deep, spiritual insight. Then again, maybe it was just all that garlic in the pasta I’d had for lunch.
In any case, the light went on....
We were burdened with too much stuff.
More than I could handle. More than this mom could manage. And, clearly, more than our children could manage.
I knew this because we couldn't seem to stay on top of it, no matter what I tried. To be perfectly honest, it had become a source of friction between them and me and I didn't like it.
I suddenly saw it for what it was. Our stuff was holding us back and weighing us down.
So I called the children together and quietly started talking to them about treasure. This was a word even the youngest could understand. Oh, yes, they knew about treasure.
How much treasure should we really have and where should we keep it?
This sure got the kids thinking. They didn’t want to be greedy. We wanted our treasure in to be in Heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).
Now maybe you’re jumping ahead, “Oh, so she decided to declutter.” But you see, I’d already tried that before and it didn’t seem to work for us.
No, what I’m talking about is quite different. Rather than sorting through mounds of things and deciding what we could get rid of and what we’d hang onto....I did something totally different.
We looked at our pile of stuff and decided what we would KEEP.
But that's it. Everything else had to go.
It was so simple and so easy, I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before.
We picked out a specific space for clothes and a specific box for toys and that space determined the amount of things they could keep. We then had a big party passing along all the remaining items to others who needed it far more than we did. And you know something? The entire process took only one afternoon. What a great day!
Here’s how we were set free from so much stuff....
Treasure Box I gave each child a clear, plastic box (a 16-quart-drawer from Walmart) and let them pick out what was most dear to them - as long as it fit in the box. When the box was too full? They had too many treasures and needed to pass along those things to others (or the trash). Each child kept their box under their bed.
Traveling Light Now if God suddenly called us to the mission field (could happen!) or we invited someone to stay with us (has happened), we were no longer tied down by our possessions. We were free to say “Yes!” and didn’t have this huge management issue on what we should do with All The Stuff.
Freed From the Trap If you’re wondering if the children felt sad or deprived? No, I’d say it had quite the opposite effect. They felt FREE. They could now clean their rooms in less than 10 minutes. Our house was generally tidy and our evening pick-up took only a few minutes. Mommy was less stressed and we spent far less time looking for lost items. It was a win-win for us all.
So if you happen to be like me and find yourself balancing more than you can manage? If you want to simplify your life, but a big project like decluttering seems rather overwhelming? You might want to consider freeing your family from having so much stuff.
Live free. You’ll love it!
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21)
Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
*Lisa is also the author of the newly released book, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband.
This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom.
Please check the series page for all of the posts!