(This is a three part series about clutter and depression. They will post on three consecutive days.)
Have you ever helped someone move? I mean right from the boxing it up, hauling it to the new place and then unboxing it and placing its contents in a new home?
Last August, we helped my daughter and her family move. Now we’re helping my son and his family. So, of course, that prompted me to do some of my own purging of my own. I’ve been slowly reducing my clutter for a while.
For many years I was a speaker for various Christian groups and churches. Because of that I received many thank-you notes, etc. I’ve kept the box for years. Tonight I read a few.
It got me thinking. Do I really need these anymore? Sure, it’s nice to read the compliments but I don’t want to live in the past. Learn from it, yes. Live in it, no.
There’s many changes going on in my life now and I guess I’ve decided it’s time to let the past be the past. So I shredded all those beautiful accolades. It felt quite freeing.
Then I went through boxes of toys and dolls I’ve stored. I kept some dolls, and two Barbies’ with fancy crochet dresses my mother made. I kept those items that had a specific memory attached to them. My son made three orange bowls out of clay I still have and dearly love. Those are staying.
Next, I went through a bunch of books-mostly novels. I quickly skimmed the first few pages of many of them. I managed to eliminate about twenty. I took them to the library where others can enjoy them. I did the same with magazines but then I pretty much stay on top of that anyway.
But there was a lesson in all this today, above and beyond knowing I needed to do some clearing out. (I suggest you check out this post for a good description of how clutter impacts other areas of our life, because the subject has been thoroughly researched and clutter is NOT good for us, emotionally or spiritually.)
Different people are, of course, going to define what is clutter for them. A young mom will want to hang onto everything for a while. A mom whose children are going away to college isn’t going to be so willing to throw out the mementos. An older woman might well look at hanging onto things in a much different light.
I think this whole subject of people who are “hoarders” and people who are “ditchers” is fascinating. I know people at various places along the spectrum. I fall pretty much in the middle. I can only stand so much clutter and chaos. I learned a long time ago it is destructive to my emotional health. I’m certainly not a neat freak-not even close but I often clear out closets and shelves.
Some people feel that throwing things away means they don’t care. They feel as though they are insulting the people they care about if they throw away a gift. Some feel they are throwing away their memories. There are lots of reasons we hang on to things. It’s fascinating to see what people keep and what they get rid of.
Our memories give us hope for the future. But like the fireflies we catch in a jar, we can’t expect our past to light the way for us indefinitely.
I think God is a God of change anyway. He never leaves us where He finds us, unless, of course, we refuse to hear His voice. Life is always in flux, isn’t it?
If you need some encouragement to pare down your “stuff”, just help someone else move. It strikes fear in the heart to think of having to do your own!
Be sure to read tomorrow’s post.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.