Keeping our homes clear of clutter can be difficult. We oftentimes find reasons to hold on to things that we no longer need and have maybe even never used. So how do we de-clutter our homes?
Author and Speaker Kathi Lipp offers advice from her book, Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space, on how we can change our thinking to make room in our lives for open space and the true abundance of God.
The main cause of clutter is how we think about it. It can be easy to talk ourselves into keeping things for a variety of reasons, such as when we pick something up and then set it down telling ourselves “I’ll deal with that later.” Oftentimes that later won’t come and the clutter will simply stay. Thinking patterns such as these are referred to as “faulty thinking,” and they’re easy to fall into.
One big culprit of faulty thinking that cheats us of our clean house is “just in case” thinking.
What is “just in case” thinking? An example could be:
“I don’t really like that sweater, but all hold on to it just in case I really need it someday, or I’m cold.”
Kathi explains that this kind of thinking will get us into trouble because it creates a set of fictional circumstances such as “if it’s really cold, and everything else is dirty, and I’m not going to see anybody, then it will be perfect.” But these circumstances aren’t real, Kathi reminds us.
“…[and] what we have to realize is that we have six other sweaters, and as long as we care for them and take care of them, they will be there to serve us.”
But it can be difficult to change our thinking patterns. Why is that, and why do we have these thoughts in the first place?
“I really think that it is fear-based thinking. That it’s thinking ‘what if,’ and it really is saying you know ‘what if God’s not going to take care of me? I’ll take care of myself.’ And I think that we do that with canned food, I think we do that with clothing, we do that with skis, we do that with all sorts of things that we really know we’re probably never going to ever use again, and so instead of hanging on to them, can you donate them?”
Donating can be difficult to do because we usually want to see our things go to someone who will take care of them and put good use to them. We can come up with a dozen different reasons to hang onto something, but we need to focus on the one reason to give: because somebody else needs it.
Kathi recalls being a single mom who was at one point blessed by someone who gave her son a gently used pair of Nikes. They weren’t brand new, but they were his size and they were in good condition and it meant a lot to Kathi and her son to receive them.
When we can start to twist faulty thinking into healthy thinking and realize that we don’t have to give things away perfectly, that we don’t have to keep things “just in case,” and that God provides for us in some very practical ways, then we become able to part with things and de-clutter our lives. We must realize that when we are wise with what God’s given us, we will always be okay. Even further, not only will we be okay, but we will even have enough to share with other people.