The first month of the year seems to be a good time for decluttering. Dozens of magazine titles at the check-out counters suggest a few simple tricks to get organized and get rid of clutter in the New Year. For years, my husband and I would spend the last week of our Christmas vacation trying to clear out closets, cabinets and basement storage areas. We were exhausting ourselves and were never truly successful. We knew we liked a clean home, but we did not fully understand why this was an important part of our spiritual life.
This all changed in July 2015. Our family suffered a devastating house fire. Everyone was safe, and our insurance policy covered our loss, thankfully. However, our children lost all of their belongings; toys, furniture, books and their precious cuddlies. Our family ended up losing 90% of our personal belongings and the entire interior of our home. We moved into a hotel room for three weeks before insurance found us a rental home for nine months until we could move back into our home. To experience such a loss is quite challenging. The insurance process alone is a two-year process to recover all which was lost. We certainly experienced devastation, frustration, and despair. We suffered a great loss. However, something wonderful came out of this.
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We each grew more accustomed to living with less. The first time I did our family’s laundry at the rental house, just weeks after the fire, I was tickled that I could do our entire laundry in just two loads. That is five people, with clean clothes, with only two loads of laundry. Instead of being sad at this accomplishment, I was ecstatic! I wouldn’t be slaving over laundry for hours and hours anymore! We had a fresh start and could dictate how much stuff we really wanted to welcome back into our home.
I do not want to make light of our loss, by any means. However, the lesson our family learned through this experience is the WHY it is so important to declutter and get organized.
Less stuff means more security from the right source. Candidly, pre-fire, I seemed to enjoy having extras. This gave me comfort and a sense of security to know I would always have what I needed. Maybe it was as simple as extra socks, kitchen platters, or blankets. Too often “What if I need two or three?” or “What if someone needs to borrow it?” would creep into my head. However, when you have to purposefully repurchase all that you lost, you start to think about they why you want to replace things. Did I want to have to find a place for all of these extras? Did we REALLY need eight blankets? Do I want to purchase something and lose that clean kitchen shelf that has nothing on it right now?
Right now, we have less to clean, less to worry about, and less time spent on cleaning. Our linen closet is no longer bursting with extra sheet sets. And maybe this sounds like a dream, but I assure you, our road to this destination, I do not wish on anyone.
However, living leaner right now feels spiritually healthier. The less I rely on things for security and comfort, the more I must rely on Christ for these things. What do I really need? The answer, I assure you, is not found in our closets, cabinets or under our beds. What do we really need? Do I trust Him enough to let go of materials so I have a greater capacity to let Him be my source of security and comfort? Am I capable to focus entirely on Christ, for my security and comfort? Think about it: how much time did you spend praying versus cleaning this past week? When I rely on Him more and more often, the greater peace and decreased stress I feel on a regular basis. This is peace that no extra set of bed sheets, excess clothes or seven different serving bowls will provide for you.
Look at your closet, your kitchen cabinets, your garage or basement. What can you live without? How can you live leaner this year? Make a plan to rely less on things for comfort, peace and security this year. The less you have, you will realize the more God-given joy, fulfillment and peace this year!
Copyright 2017 Meg Bucaro
About the Author
As a college instructor, wife to “the Hubs”, Mom of three energetic children and a highly skilled PB&J sandwich maker, Meg shares the ups and downs of Motherhood in her candidly humorous writings and speaking programs. To learn more about how Moms can maintain a life with less stress and more peace by leaning on their Catholic faith, visit www.megbucaro.com.