Today I Saw God

Tidying Up

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So I have a pretty bad relationship with my stuff.

I keep clothes that no longer fit, in hopes that one day I can wear them again.

I keep letters and cards from people, even ones that have no personal message.

I love seeking to be simple, but I just as equally love buying really nice stuff.

It's amazing how often I think about my stuffabout the stuff I don't have, about the stuff I do have, how much I love my stuff, how much I hate my stuff and how I can't seem to find my stuff.

As a person whose brain runs at the speed of light all the time, I feel like my belongings take up way too much of my life space.

You could say that I was feeling a bit like the author of Ecclesiastes, chapter two:

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had doneand what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;nothing was gained under the sun." – Ecclesiastes 2: 10-11

So my wife, Robin, and I have talked about downsizing, simplifying and the like. This need to declutter comes from a few places:

First, I don't want my things to own me. We are pulled in so many directions every day and are inundated with advertising and marketing that want us to buy and consume as much as possible. It's very easy these days to be slaves to consumption.

Second, I want a peaceful home situation where everything is tidy. Cleanliness, they say, is close to Godliness. And while I think I am pretty tidy and clean, taking a look at our apartment on Fridays says something different.

Finally, I want to spend my time and effort and resources on things that matter. If I am called to love God and love my neighbor as my primary source of "calling" as a Christian, then the less I have to worry about my stuff, the better.

As Robin and I were watching "The Today Show," as we do in the morning while she eats her breakfast and I drink coffee, a story came on about Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo is the author of the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I was fascinated by the story on "The Today Show" and decided to buy the book. If you do a Google search of her, there are many good and bad articles about her methods.

Instead of reading it on my own, I suggested that Robin and I read it together. So for the next few weeks I read the book aloud at home, in our car, before bed and in the mornings. As we read it together, we found that many of the things she wrote about made a lot of sense, and so we decided that we would take a weekend and do some tidying via the KonMari method. In a nutshell, here are the basic tenets of her method:

  1. Do all decluttering/tidying in one go.
  2. Start with clothes, then books and papers, then other items.
  3. Only keep things that "spark joy."
  4. Keep items from the same category together.
  5. Store things vertically.

Now, the book is pretty easy to read, and others who read it may take other important aspects out of it, but this was what we found helpful. I hope to share our experience through some photos and additional blog posts over the month of October.

As we look to the stewardship series, "Defying Gravity," I hope that my experience with my wife can be helpful to those who are thinking about ways to simplify their lives, and ultimately, to be more generous.

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