Ok so I could list all the Bible verses about material things. I could expound upon Jesus speaking to the rich young man….but I’m not. Who would I be kidding? I like stuff just as much as the next person! I’m not going to act all holier than thou because I’ve purged our basement and have enough stuff to fill up the back of my mini-van with the seats down. Why? Well to be honest purging things that I may need in the future or are sentimental is hard for me. So how did I manage to get rid of that much stuff? It’s no secret….my nesting instincts kicked in full force! So here are some tips that I figured out while I was working on it.
1. Is it stained or broken? If it is stained, can it be treated and removed? If not and you won’t wear it, consider if it can be repurposed. If it is a large piece of clothing, can you cut it down to make something else out of it? Blocks for a quilt, clothes for a small child or doll? If the answer is no, then look to see if it is a good type of material to work as rags. I found a lot of stained t-shirts in my stash that I cut up into much-needed rags. I did this last year, but as messy as my kids are, we were still always running out. Now our drawer is crammed full, and it is getting a lot of use. If your item is broken, examine if it can be repaired or repurposed. If it can’t then it needs to be pitched.
2. When is the last time I used this? If you haven’t used it in the last 6-12 months, chances are you won’t. Now there obviously exceptions to this like…baby gear and sentimental items. I saved my baby gear after having our daughter because I knew I wanted to have another baby….but it happened in God’s timing and our son was born 4 years later. I also saved it after him because again I wanted another baby. Had I been a little more vigilant I would have known that our car seat system (which was taking up a lot of space) would expire before baby #3 was born. Sigh, live and learn…we discovered this a couple of weeks before it expired…so out it went! We also had a play gym that was stored and the batteries corroded all over it, couldn’t be washed (because of the electrical parts) so out it went too. Lesson learned: make sure to store all items properly and remove all batteries. I’ll cover sentimental items in the next point.
3. Really examine all sentimental items This I believe is the hardest thing for most people. I know it is for me. I had over 20 porcelain dolls stored in our basement that I had collected as a child. I held onto them because not only were they pretty, but because of the people who gave them to me. Finally I had to decide…do I really want to keep all of these? I picked out a few of the prettiest to put in my daughter’s room and then donated the rest to goodwill. They aren’t doing anything for me sitting the basement. I only remember them when I go to move something and find them. So take pictures, put them in a scrap-book, and find them a new home. Most of the other items that are sentimental to me, I purpose to use at least 1 time a year. Like the Royal Dalton Tea set that I gave my mother. She loved it very much and was so excited to own something made by Royal Dalton. Last year in her remembrance I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch and used that tea set to help serve 🙂 It was a great way to honor her on that day and I am so glad that I kept it.
4. Kids toys This is another hard one for people….but I am going to tell you the unvarnished truth. Your kids will be as happy with a card board box, crayons, and scissors as they would be if you never gave them that DS or leapstart for Christmas! I think that the marketplace is over loaded with so many cool toys that adults just love to buy for kids. The marketing of those cool toys is also done very well, with well-timed ads so your kids see it when they are watching their favorite tv shows. Remember the more stuff you have, the more stuff to get broken, and the more stuff to clean up. I don’t know about you, but I hate spending 30+ minute cleaning up after the kids, or harping on them to keep cleaning. They hate cleaning up as much as I do. If there was less to clean, there is less to fight over! Kids have wonderful imaginations and over running them with toys, games, and movies is doing them a disservice. The more stuff they have, the less they have to use their imaginations, or invent things. I use to spend hours outside playing with nothing more than a swing, a bike, and a wagon. I had a wonderful time, because I used my imagination!
The jist of the whole post is, more is generally just that more. It will take up more of your time, not save you time. So prayerfully ask God what you have in your home and your life that is unnecessary, I think you might just be surprised!