Up to my neck in boxes

I’m up to my neck in boxes. Chaos reigns in my household, but only for a couple more days. We’re getting ready to move – just around the corner, but we still have to sort and wrap and box everything like we were going cross-country. I’ve been cleaning out junk drawers, making piles for Goodwill, running to the store to buy more trash stickers because we have mounds of black, bulging trash bags sitting in our corners. It’s so hard for me to concentrate when things are crazy all around me. The visual clutter clogs my mind, making me tense and claustrophobic. I can hardly stand it.

I read a book recently about how to simplify your life. The author suggests changing the way we view our possessions. It’s not about how expensive something was; it’s about how it contributes to the vision you have for your life. Do you picture yourself having people over for spontaneous cookouts or game nights? Then keep your dining room or game area ready. Do you want to function as an efficient professional? Organize your office. Put your CDs in their cases so you don’t waste 20 minutes finding the one you want. Have too much stuff to put everything away? Then look at each item based on these criteria: has it proven to be useful, and/or is it something you find beautiful? If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, get rid of it. You don’t need it.

As I declutter and simplify and pare my possessions down to a more manageable level, I’m finding that the weight of the stress I have been carrying is lightening. When my cabinets are neatly arranged, I can breathe easier. When I don’t have too many dishes, they don’t pile up, and I don’t get behind. I’m much less frazzled. Today it hit me: maybe I need to pack away some of my mental junk in boxes. Toss it, purge it, give it away. I don’t need that guilt. I don’t want to think about the ways a former friend wronged me a few years back. It’s not useful, and it’s not pretty. Why drudge it up? I need to reclaim the beautiful things and remove my talents from their dusty boxes to display them for everyone to see.

Sometimes there are things in our lives that were expensive. They cost us a lot – a lot of time, money, effort, trauma, or personal sacrifice. But they’re not important enough to let them get in the way of the person we want to be. We don’t want to showcase them. Yes, they were once important, but they’ve outlived their usefulness. It’s OK to let things go sometimes, whether it’s a friend that no longer uplifts you, or a hobby you thought you’d always pursue, or a commitment you once made to an organization that no longer enriches your life. Rid your life of the unnecessary clutter and keep only the good, right, valuable things God has placed in it. It’s amazing how much less cluttered your spirit will be.

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