Have you ever thought about how our possessions can cause us to waste time and keep us from living out our priorities?
As a new empty-nester, I spent the last year cleaning out my home and getting rid of items my family no longer wants, needs, uses, or loves. Going through this process has made me think about how much time I’ve wasted accumulating and caring for material possessions.
God has shown me how I need to intentionally consider my purchases so I do not accumulate more than I need or can use. Now, this does not mean I’ve become a minimalist. Not by any stretch of the imagination!
However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown weary of the amount of time it takes to take care of my possessions. I’ve realized that all the time I spend caring for my possessions can hinder me from living out my priorities.
Yes, taking care of my home is a priority for me. But when I have to constantly try to find a place for everything, maintain my possessions, and pick up things, then I no longer have the time needed to live out other priorities God has given me.
Several months ago, a verse in Psalms caught my attention that reminded me of how important it is to keep our possessions to a minimum. Psalm 39:6 says:
Yes, a person goes about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them.
The psalmist David reminds us that even though we know our time on earth is limited, we still rush around gathering possessions that eventually have to be dealt with by our loved ones.
Ouch! Is that speaking to you, too?
You may be asking, “Sure, Jennifer, I want to do a better job of limiting my possessions. But how do I do that when my family seems to need so much?”
I understand completely. When my kids were young, we had so much stuff. During the move to our new home over the last month, I’ve realized just how much we still had.
Let me share some tips I have that may help you get in the decluttering mode so that you can simplify your life and have the time you need to live out your priorities.
How to get into the decluttering mode
Decide what you’re willing to take the time to maintain.
I mentioned above that I don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining my possessions. So I’ve set a standard of what and how much I allow into my home and how long I’m willing to spend time maintaining those things.
For me, anything over a couple of hours a week is a drain. Beyond the daily maintenance of making my bed and staying on top of the kitchen to keep it clean and tidy, I do not want to spend hours a week picking up and cleaning. The more things I have, the more likely I am to have to spend more time on them.
So decided for yourself what your standard is.
Take small steps.
The fact that it often takes days, weeks, or months to get to a truly organized state can be overwhelming. When someone asks how to get started organizing, I always say start small.
Start with one cabinet, drawer, or shelf. Something you can tackle in 15 minutes or less. Just pull everything out of that one space, decide what you want to keep, and put it back. Then dispose of the rest. This way you won’t have a huge mess on your hands as if you had cleaned out a larger space.
Then repeat this process until all your spaces are organized as you’d like them to be. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Create systems to keep things under control.
I have several routines I follow to keep myself on track and keep my home running smoothly. Morning and evening routines help me start and end the day on a productive note. I also have systems for doing the laundry, dealing with paper clutter, and keeping my email under control.
Figure out what takes the most time and see if you can find a way to simplify the process so it can be done without much effort or thought.
Take control of your possessions and I promise you’ll find all the time you need to live out your priorities.