How Do We Define Clutter?
Before you can begin to declutter your life, you need to know what clutter means.
We all know someone who is a packrat or hoarder, be they a friend, relative, neighbor, or ourselves. By packrat or hoarder, I mean someone whose house, apartment, or garage is cluttered with stuff. By stuff, I mean things, be they junk or treasures.
I am not talking about hoarding trash or garbage. Trash and garbage are those that belong in the city dump, such as empty pizza boxes, discarded junk mail, rotting food, old newspapers, etc. Letting your house be full of literal garbage is not what this column is about.
When does pack rating or hoarding things, be they mentors, collectibles, clothes, books, or keepsakes, become a problem?
It becomes a problem when it creates a problem. One way to declutter your life is to ask for God’s help in prioritizing his or her keepsakes.
How Do We Know Who Is A Packrat?
Do you feel compelled emotionally to buy things of no utilitarian value even though you cannot afford them? If so, you have a problem.
Are you unable to throw out anything because it has an emotional association with someone or someplace dear? Is this resulting in your having boxes filled with old Christmas cards, your children’s third-grade papers, and old playbills?
You may have a problem when you are invited to a beloved late Aunt’s estate sale and compelled to snatch every object you associated with her. Do you feel guilty if you fail to prevent any of her lamps, wastebasket, or purse from going to a stranger? Does this result in your home being a museum of late relatives’ possessions? If so, you probably have a problem.
Can you not leave a garage sale, flea market, or antique mall without adding to one of your collections? Do you keep clothes and shoes you haven’t worn in over two years for sentimental reasons? Is this resulting in tripping over boxes and a lack of space in your home for really needed items? If so, you have a problem.
Asking For God’s Help To Declutter Your Life
Ok, so how does one declutter or dis-hoard using a Biblical worldview? First, remember that no concern is too small to present to God. Paul wrote, “Whatever we do, do it to the glory of God.” He did not limit it to big decisions, such as what career to pursue or who we should include in our will. By making every decision as God’s child, you will be amazed by how the Holy Spirit guides us.
The major reason we keep things of no utilitarian value is because they remind us of what we have done and where we have been. It also reminds others what we have done and where we have been. A perfect example of this occurs when we visit a nursing home resident and see a display of his military ribbons and medals. They tell us where he has been and what he has done. It reminds him, too, that he was part of something much larger than himself. A key concept here is that he was a valued piece of the whole cause that saved America from foreign aggression.
As a child of God, we are a part and a representative of a much greater world- God’s Kingdom. What things do we want to display to represent Him? Remember, we are going to live forever, and so will all who are born again in Him. Let’s get back to the urge, one may have to hoard our late beloved Aunt’s keepsakes. Remember, her immortality is assured by Christ’s resurrection, not by our keeping her gift from me.” I wish everyone heard that from people close to them.
I Ask God To Help Me Not To Hord
God tells us in Psalm 50:10-11 the whole world is His and everything in it. Yes, everything is God’s. We should keep this in mind when we decide the fate of a departed loved one’s possessions.
At 98, my close uncle went onto the Glory. I helped run his estate sale. There were dozens of things that held precious memories of time spent with him and my late aunt. My instinct was to take home dozens of their things. To avoid hoarding, I simply asked God to guide the estate sale and remind me it was His estate sale.
On the workbench was Uncle Larry’s fishing gear. We used it many times together for decades. Should I take it home even though I rarely use my fishing gear now?
On the second day of His estate sale, a grandfatherly man looked at the fishing gear. “My three grandchildren are coming to visit us, and they have never been fishing. This set will give each of us a pole. I’ll take it.” I believe Uncle Larry in Heaven was telling Aunt Mary, “Our great-grandchildren did not want it, so now the Lord will use it for another man to take his grandchildren fishing. That’s better than Leland hoarding it.
Will our toys of yesteryear be recreated in the post-resurrection World to Come? One can cite Isaiah 65:17,
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17
to answer no. Or one can cite Psalm 21:5,
“His glory is great in Your salvation; Honor and majesty You have placed upon him.” Psalm 21:5
(not all new things), to answer yes. One thing is certain. God knows us and our needs better than we know ourselves. He loves us and is our Heavenly Father. We can trust everything, yes everything, to His care. Asking for God’s help in prioritizing your keepsakes will help to declutter your life and make life easier.
Christian Themed Children’s Books
Do you have a child or grandchild that enjoys reading?
Leland has many Christian-themed children’s books that spark imagination and intrigue with sometimes rhyming storytelling. Here are two that have Christian-based values.
Join Toby, a faithful lighthouse keeper, as he navigates the challenges of his important role while finding companionship in his loyal dog, Buddy, and an adorable kitten named Mittens.