Ten Things I Learned from Purging My House

 

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.Who doesn’t like a tidy, clutter free, organized house?

My hand is in the air. And I bet yours is too.

Well I’ve been organizing and purging stuff from my house and it feels wonderful.

It also is looking better. Not always in the open and living spaces, but behind cupboard and closet doors. Book shelves.

And that is a good feeling. To open a closet door and see more of the white shelves. To pull open a bathroom drawer and see everything in one quick glance.

I started in my bathroom. That place where shampoo, body products, hair accessories, and beauty stuff accumulate. One large garbage sack later, all items left were just necessary products and nothing had an expired date.

Ironic how we think one day I may just wear that shade of lipstick. Years pass, and that day never comes.

Sorting, processing, throwing out and reorganizing our house is a lot like doing the same to our life. Not everything you come across is all bad and needs to go, nor is everything all good and needs to stay.

Somethings have served their purpose and now can be passed onto someone else (baby things). Somethings are expired (that jar of bright blue polish I never got around to wearing). Somethings you still need, and may always need (kitchen dishes), and somethings were only for a season (card making supplies).

10 things I learned from decluttering my house, plus decluttering tips:

 

1. We like to collect stuff. Get a few people living under the same roof and pretty soon that stuff is tasking up all available spaces, drawers, and horizontal surfaces. It is easier to bring stuff in than toss stuff out. So, don’t delay to long.  The longer we wait to organize and purge, the more stuff we will have to go through.

2. Life is about stages. And it seems each stage needs new and different equipment. What a baby needs are far different from what a teen needs. What a runner needs are not the same as a swimmer. Every stage and interest needs different stuff. When we have lots of stages and ages we need more stuff. But as time goes on, we can get rid of stuff from stages that have been outgrown or moved past.

3. Memories get attached to and tied up in our stuff. It is hard to see a box of baby clothes the kids wore and not walk down memory lane. I was surprised about how many good memories I came across as I was purging. Even silly stuff, like a can of sunscreen from a few years ago that we had taken on a trip conjured up some snapshot moments of that trip.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.4. A little bit of purging here and there makes a big dent. Occasionally I spent most of the day organizing and sorting and tossing, like the day I tackled my office. But even that day had interruptions and pauses, including a trip to drop a kid off, running errands, and visiting for an hour or two with a friend. Other days I had ten minutes and sorted through one drawer. An hour and a half turned into a bathroom purge. Half an hour translated into organizing a book-case. Over time, all add up to a lighter and more organized house.

5. Tastes change over time. That octagonal set of dishes I bought before I was married, the ones I haven’t used in years, well my tastes have changed. And that is alright. Get rid of things you no longer use, that no longer speak to you, or compliment your current tastes.

6. Hobbies and interests fall by the side. I have lots of card making supplies. Stamps, embossing powders, stickers, fancy paper, edging scissors, and pens of every color. But the last time I pulled all the stuff out to make cards in the last ten years was to make cards with some friends. I no longer have that desire anymore and am spending my crafting time doing other things. And that is all right. For years my daughter and I used those supplies. I had stamping birthday parties for her, and craft nights for her friends. But that stage is gone. Now someone else can use them. Don’t keep things you are no longer interested in or will do only every ten years. Pass the blessing along to others.

7. There is a reason we hold onto things. Maybe we were poor growing up. Maybe things represent security. Maybe we want to be prepared for anything or every possible situation. Maybe our stuff holds memories and we are holding onto those memories. Maybe we think we may become poor again and won’t be able to buy another, so we keep one and a spare. Maybe we are to overwhelmed to even tackle a small project. Maybe we hear our mother’s voice, or someone else’s and believe a lie about us or our stuff.

As I was cleaning, I thought about my reasons for keeping things. Like most things, it was a complicated reason of several things. First, I was poor growing up. I needed to keep and take of what I had because I wasn’t getting more. (I still have mechanical pencils that still work from my college days.) Back in my twenties, there was not a Walmart on nearly ever corner where you could buy things at a reasonable price. My first set of dishes and silverware were expensive. Now I can go to Walmart and buy a set of dishes for 4 for $20.00. I sometimes forget this and keep things I don’t really like or want, forgetting I can buy a new one at a reasonable price and in many more options than years ago. I grew up not wasting or getting rid of the one item, so I do better donating things to a charity, rather than tossing them.

As I am purging and sorting, I remind myself that I am no longer poor. That I can afford to replace items I don’t like or want. And that I don’t need to keep items I don’t like or want anymore. These truths help me be more ruthless. The truth is that most things are replaceable if I accidentally throw away something I may want in the future. (That unused punch bowl.)

As for things with memories, like that prom dress you wore in high school and still have and will never wear again, take a picture and toss the item. Now you can revisit those memories anytime you want.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.8. Things wear out and need to be replaced. Those sheets that are twenty years old and worn to 10-thread count need to be tossed. In fact, most linens have a life of less than 10 years. One lady, whose kids I used to babysit as a teen, had a wonderful idea. “Every ten years everyone needs a new wedding shower because all their items from their first one are now worn out and need replacing.” Nine years after my wedding the truth of her comment was reality. As you toss items, make a list of the items you need to replace. (You just may need to throw yourself your own shower!)

9. We need to toss out the old to make room for the new. To keep our houses from bulging, toss out something old so the new fits in. This works in our closet, drawers, and bookshelves. It also works in our lives. Get rid of the old lies and believe the truth. Get rid of those t-shirts from 15 years ago and get some that fit and look better. It is better to have fewer things that work, that we enjoy, that bring us happiness, and that we use, than a houseful of things we don’t.

Ask yourself: Does it serve a purpose? Does it remind me of memories? (Maybe you can take a picture and toss the item.) Is it something I use regularly enough to keep? If not, can I buy a new one or rent one if I latter need it? Does this create peace for me (like artwork) and make my place prettier? Do I really need this? Why am I holding onto this?

10. You will find surprises. Things you thought were lost will resurface. Things you didn’t even know you had, will be discovered. And things you had hidden and forgot about will be found. In a coffee table drawer, I found an unopened bar of chocolate that I had hidden about 6 years ago. Along with the novel I was reading at the time. Keep a sense of humor and wonder.

Purging and sorting our accumulated stuff within our spaces can be a happy walk down memory lane. It can also be hard and sad. It can be confronting the past and our beliefs in our self and life. It can be a surprise and a laugh.

Like in every other area of life, give yourself grace.

This is not a competition.

Our stuff does not determine our worth or our day.

No shame or guilt allowed. We are learning more about our self and our past through our accumulated stuff. And in the process, we are changing and becoming new people.

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

PS. Want to see your clutter in a new light? And get a chuckle? Read Kathi Lipp’s post, Why Clutter is Like Every Bad Boyfriend You Ever Had


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What have you learned through de-cluttering?

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Decluttering our house can teach us lessons about ourselves. Here's what I learned through purging my house.

What’s the Plot Line of Your Journey?

 

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.What does your current journey look like?

Do you sometimes look around and think you would rather be on someone else’s’ journey? A journey with fewer twists and turns?

Or wish your journey liked a little more like Instagram? More beach days and less mess days.

We may wish for a perfect life of calm and no major swings in either direction, but our journey through this life is messy, full of lessons, conflicts, ups and downs.

There is no one in the Bible with a Pinterest life. I have never read a memoir where the main character had an Instagram life. No one I currently know has a perfectly smooth life.

I doubt you or I will be the first ones.

 

The plot line of life. Everyone has one in this journey of life. 

 

Everyone has trials, conflict, and troubles. Bible characters. Major and minor characters in novels. People in magazines, movies, and television shows.

It’s called the plot. And what makes the plot interesting and keeps us watching or reading is the plot line, which consists of conflict, partial resolution, more conflict, some resolution, a new conflict, and then another new and bigger conflict. Up and down the story goes. Pulling us in. Getting us concerned for the characters. Wanting to know the outcome for the characters. And finally, at the end of the plot, there is big resolution and we can sigh and smile and be happy for everyone involved. And on that happy note the book ends.

That plot line with conflict and resolution that we find in movies and books, well, that is our life. Our Journey.

Up and down we go on the plot line. Conflict and resolution taking turns.

Some conflict we bring upon our self through our choices and actions, some conflict is caused by others. Some conflict just arrives from nowhere, and some comes from natural disasters, disease, and chance.

Up and down on the plot line of life we go. Just like the characters in a novel.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Life is a journey. Things to remember about your journey and your plot line:

 

1. We have some control over our journey. We get to choose our actions and reactions. While we can’t control other characters or the future, we get to be in charge of ourselves.

2. We know some things about this plot line. We have an enemy. We have a lover, comforter, and Savior. We have a helper living inside us. We know we will never be forsaken for any reason. We know the glorious ending and who wins this cosmic battle. We know our marching orders: love God and others.

3. Our journey is supposed to change us, improve us, develop us into better characters. Just like characters in a book are supposed to change because of the conflict they face, so we too need to change.

In literature class you may have done a character analysis paper. Where you pick one character from the story and explain how the character changed and grew, how they developed or what they learned. In other words, how the plot caused them self-awareness or necessitated change in them.

Some characters change for the good, like Anne in Ann of Green Gables. Some characters change for the worse, like Fagin In Oliver Twist. Those that don’t change, are stagnant and flat characters.

4. Our journey will have peaks and valleys. We get through the valleys as best as we can. Not perfectly, or prettily, or knowing exactly what we are doing, but we get through and learn how to better handle the next valley. We look back and see God’s hand and his walking beside us in the valleys. And as time goes by, we begin to understand how better to approach the valleys and know that they too will end sometime in the future, but none of us get perfect at traversing them.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.5. Don’t judge another person’s journey. You never see all the peaks and valleys their life contains or the plot line that developed character growth.

6. A perpetually happy ending is a myth. We think some day we will arrive. Be mature. Know it all. Be able to relax and watch others battle, but that is a myth. We will only arrive to a perpetually happy ending on the other side of eternity.

7. God will finish the journey with you. He promises he won’t give up on you until you make it past the finish line.

8. While we are the main characters in our stories, our story is not ultimately all about us. Not all about our glory. Because if we are Christians, the story ultimately comes to be about him, to point others to him, to glorify him. That is why we surrender our will to his will. Our way to his way. Our dreams to his dreams for us.

9. We are never alone on our journey. God is working behind the scenes, providing the courage and strength, the will to change and keep going.

What does your plot line look like?

Your character analysis?

We are on a journey of love, growth, faith, hope, and endurance.

Enjoy your journey.

We look forward to that day when there will be no more conflict and resolution. Where our plot line is steady. Because one day we will be living in a perfect world.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What does your current plot line look like?

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.All pictures, except flower pictures taken at:

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.At the Volcanoes National Park It was pretty weird to see acres and acres that turned into miles of recent stark black lava. No plants. Just dried and hardened lava that once flowed and bubbled. I imagined it was what some planet looked like. Maybe Mars. It was so desolate. But keep driving to a little older flow and you start to see greenery. It doesn’t take long, before bushes, trees, and plants are growing here and there on this hard rock. Gaining a foothold. Growing despite the lava base. And over time, the landscape is transformed into a lush tropical landscape. And your wouldn’t know that it was lava instead of dirt, unless you bent down and tried to dig the black base that is nourishing the plants. We may currently see only the barren black hard lava in our life. But God can plant seeds that one day turn into a tropical paradise. And when he looks at us, he doesn’t see our barren parts, but the tropical paradise we can become.

We may wish for a perfect life, but our journey through life is messy, full of lessons, plot twists, conflicts, and ups and downs. Here are 10 things to remember on your journey.

Will the Real You Please Stand?

 

Do you ever see someone else and suddenly do a double take?

Maybe they look like your twin. Are wearing something you own. Saying something you would say. Have the same name and hair color. Or they have some quirky mannerism you have been teased about all your life.

Anyway, you stop and stare and can’t quite tear your eyes away from them, even if you are beginning to feel a bit like a scary stalker.

We were ordering ice cream when I turned around and there was a lady walking towards us with her husband and kids. And darn, if she wasn’t wearing my skirt — the same blue pencil skirt splashed with brown and tan flowers that I had at home in my closet.

I looked at her again and realized it wasn’t my size, so she hadn’t snuck into my closet and borrowed, or stolen my skirt. But what was she doing with my skirt?

I kept watching her, feeling like she was imitating me. Like she had stolen my identity. As if I was somehow watching myself. I was caught in a deja-vu moment. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

I felt like saying, “Will the real Theresa please stand up!”

 

How I let my self-identity and worth be stolen?

 

It was a skirt I had bought last year. One I thought conveyed my personality. Of course, I knew I hadn’t bought the only one. But it was the first time I had bumped into someone wearing something I owned. Something so distinctive. Not like a gray t-shirt or black leggings that everyone else had.

We eventually wandered away, but I kept thinking about that lady wearing my skirt.

Obviously, she wasn’t trying to imitate me or pretend to be me, but it kinda felt like it. And it felt like maybe she was a better me.

Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t as unique as I thought I was. Or was told I was.

I wondered if she had the same taste in clothes as me. In what other ways were we alike?

She didn’t steal my identity, but suddenly it felt compromised. Almost fake. Not quite real.

And yet I was still the same person. Nothing had changed, expect I had seen another woman wearing my skirt.

On a good day this would have had me laughing and complimenting her good taste, but on that day it had me doubting and wondering.

Maybe because she looked more put together than I did. She appeared more confident, relaxed, and her children were smiling and looked to be about perfect.

She didn’t look like she had fought with her toddler to get his shoes on. Made only popcorn and apple slices for dinner. Had a run in with her teen. Or words with her husband.

See, that is what comparison looks like. Them winning, and you feeling lower than a flattened and blackened penny.

And all because she was wearing my skirt that I thought looked like me. Maybe was me, on some days.

Self-identity and worth, what contributes to them?

 

If we are not careful our identity gets stolen. Compromised. Hidden. Disbelieved.

We doubt ourselves. Question ourselves. Compare ourselves. Feel like imposters.

We do everything but believe the truth of God. Who says we are his beloved. His child bought and paid for. Whom he delights in.

We instead listen to the voices in our head. The voices whispered by our enemy saying we are not enough or do enough. We listen to the voices of society that tells us we should be all and do all.

The lies get louder than the truth. They dare us to prove them wrong, and we can’t. Not of our own power. Not of our own strength.

Improving your identity and self-worth problems.

 

Ladies, this is our dilemma.  Are we going to believe the voices of others that lie to us, or are we going to choose to believe the truth teller who loves more than we can even fathom?

Are we going to argue and protest and say no way when he calls us beloved? Or are we going to say thank you and accept the free gift he is handing us?

Are we going to try to earn our worth and identity by what we do and accomplish, or accept what he has accomplished for us and freely gives us?

Are we going to believe the lies swirling in our head and around us, or believe his truth captured in written words?

Don’t let someone or yourself tell you that you are not of worth. Because you are. Not because of what you say or do, but because he says you are.

Don’t let your past, present, mistakes, sins, or faults determine your identity. We don’t need to be perfect because he is.

Don’t let your identity be determined by others — your mother, kids, husband, friend, boss, teacher, co-worker, neighbor, or your negative self-talk. Evaluate their words and see if they are true? Right? Do they align with your true identity given by God?

Tell yourself the truth daily. Tell your sisters the truth. Your children. Your mate. Your co-workers and neighbors.

You are valuable. Loved. Precious. Enough. Your worth comes from being his and not what we do or say.

Let us proclaim the truth loudly and drown out the lies that are swirling through the air stealing and trying to change our God given identity. Our worth.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

P.S. To protect our identity and worth we need to listen to the right voices. What Voices Are You Listening To?


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What steals your worth or identity?

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).