Our family's goal for this year is to create space - specifically space in time. We are looking at what consumes our mental time and our physical time. What are the things that are stealing opportunities for prayer, discussion, study, and serving people? In this process, I've been looking at my "stuff"... the physical stuff. Honestly, it is the easiest place to start.
I have always lived to the full brim of what ever space I've occupied... but, as an adult, I've always had a little space. But, since we now have a house - my storage space has expanded and expanded and expanded. Plastic shoe boxes are labeled. Shelves are organized. Closet is color-coded. But, I seem to spend a lot of time maintaining things that I just don't use. So, I'm down sizing. Well, I like to think of it as Up Sizing!
I'm opening UP my visual space. I'm not keeping anything in eye-view that is not one of my favorites. I have several things that are just "filling" space - but don't provoke me to a specific memory. Those things are getting a price tag and going in the garage sale box.
I'm gifting UP my things. I have a huge soup pot I got at a garage sale. I would have never paid a real price for one, but it turns out that I do use this treasure find all the time. Every time I put stuff in my garage sale pile, I am daydreaming of how this thing will be a benefit for someone's home.
I'm releasing UP my time. I have clothes that I wear only when all my other clothes are dirty. I'm terrible about actually putting clothes away. So, wearing my B team clothes creates more laundry and my basket of clean clothes doesn't get taken care of in a timely manner. If I had less clothes (and only my power outfits!), I wouldn't be allowed to have baskets of laundry sitting around.
I'm freeing UP my storage space. I am only keeping the things I can name. With the door closed. With the drawer closed. When I am in another room. I'm really strong visually, so I can name a lot. But, the things I can't name are the things I don't use.
I'm dreaming UP the future. I have stashed a lot of things for the future. I might need this, isn't going to work this time. There are some things I will use rarely in the future that are wise, space effective, and cost effective, but there is no need to keep 82 gift bags from my wedding. And should I need to attend 82 weddings, I will allow myself to be really creative. My mom recently wrapped a gift in new bar mop towels for a wedding she attended. The creative opportunities that await are endless.
I'm going to UPcycle. My crazy plastic containers with no lids - those can be donated to schools or recycled. My adorable jars - those can be actually used as containers instead of just wasting space. My grandmother's cookie jar? Let me use it for bags of beans or for bags from the grocery store. I'm going to keep the things that make me smile - and use them in my everyday.
Don't think that I've cried a couple of times. Don't think that I'm not having to convince myself that this is good for me and is going to help. Don't think that I'm not seeing just how materialistic I am... This is hard stuff! (Especially to the kitchen. That can wait a while. A long while.)
I've been praying for God to release me from my ties to things. I've been reading how-to lists about downsizing. I've been watching a show about tiny houses and living really simply. I've been thinking about my friends in Haiti who do not have XX of kitchen cabinets like I do... See, I am embarrassed to even let them know how many I have. That says a lot.
But then, when you walk into our house and say, "It's so bare," I'll be embarrassed too. And there shines the light on a whole different faith journey.
I'm thankful that God is in the work of cleaning out our hearts - even when we think we're only cleaning out our houses.