December 15, 2014

Overcoming an Over-stuff-ed Christmas

 I don't know what it is about these last few weeks, but it seems like everywhere I turn, I'm surrounded by "stuff."

The boys room is overflowing with toys, costumes, and clothes strewn all over the floor.

My bedroom features piles and piles of plain ole stuff: papers that need to be discarded, summer clothes that still haven't made it out to the storage shed, and books that have been propped up against a wall - waiting for months to be read.

This is my "Quick! Someone's coming over, let's cram everything into a corner of my bedroom" pile.
(Please don't tell me I'm the only one who does this . . .)
It feels suffocating.

So, I sit and wonder - how did it get to this point? What can I do to address this problem? Why do I feel compelled to ignore the growing stacks of "stuff" that refuse to go away on their own?

Here's the deal: In general, we all have more than we need. We have more than enough clothing and shoes. More than enough home decor. Our children have WAY more toys than any one child could possibly play with.

And then Christmas rolls around, and I think to myself - I don't want to bring more stuff into an already stuffed house.

I think my life/house would be better off if I cut the clutter. If I SERIOUSLY took the time to go through the closets, the garage, my strategically placed piles, and asked myself these three questions:

  1. Does this item help or hinder my goals for my home?
    • Does this object have a purpose in my home or is it just taking up space? 
    • When was the last time I used this item? Does it justify holding onto it? 
    • How difficult (or expensive) would it be to replace this item later on if I decided I needed it?
  2. Does it fit? Do I wear it regularly?
    • I've discovered post-three babies, that my body is just not quite the same any more. It's shaped differently. I probably don't need to hang on to that pair of jeans from high school. By the time I fit into them again, the clothes will more than likely be out of style. . . although it may take me long enough that they'll be back in style again by the time they fit ;-)
    • Do you wear the shoes in your closet or do they just take up space?
    • Do your purses or scarves see the light of day on a regular basis or could the space be used for a better purpose.. 
  3. Why am I holding onto this item?
    • Do I keep this for sentimental reasons? 
    • Is it a gift that I feel guilty for getting rid of? 
    • Do I think I might need it . . . someday in the distant future? 

I've joked with my husband that if we ever move again, I'm donating everything and starting from scratch again. (After moving/packing four times in the first five years of marriage, I was done with the ole putting "stuff" into boxes routine.)

Soooooo . . . .all that to say. That I've been feeling convicted that I'm allowing "stuff" to crowd out the more important things. A cluttered home makes me feel cluttered mentally. My kids don't have room to play on their floors due to all of the toys on the floor.

It's all. too. much.

I'm tired of it.

SO, here's what I plan to do.

For Christmas, we're not going hog-wild with the giving of "stuff" because #1) We already have an abundance #2) That's not really what Christmas is all about #3) There are better ways to spend our resources.

My boys will be receiving
1) Something they want (a fun toy or game)
2) Something they need
3) Something to wear
4) Something to read

Santa will be contributing three fun "toys" for Christmas morning.

As far as the stuff that's currently taking up residence in my home, I am planning a strategic room-by-room purge.
  • The extra toys/outgrown children's items will make their way to a consignment sale. 
  • The extra home decor/household items will be sold (and the money put toward needed home repairs), 
  • The clothing, shoes, and bags will be donated to a local clothing mission.  

I consider you my friends. Thanks for letting my spew my mental "stuff" all over the interwebs. I think life will be better all around if I can learn how to be intentional with our time, possessions, and talents.

When it comes down to it - stuff can help or it can hinder. It can be a blessing or a burden. It can rule you or you can rule it. The stuff itself is neutral - it's what you do with it that makes the difference.

This Christmas, I want to be intentional about enjoying the people around my tree and not just the stuff under it.

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  1. Have you been snooping around my house??? ;) Seriously, I have been feeling the same. Add that I've been crocheting some of the gifts for family, and that takes even more time from dealing with it all. I need to finish them up and ship them off to address my home better before Christmas! But I have two girls whose gifts have been bought for months. They are young enough that their wants are still predictable, and I took advantage of the toy sales to clear the shelves in the spring. So definitely feeling overwhelmed by the new items about to join the mix! Glad I'm not alone. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yep Michelle, you're definitely not alone! The holidays are such a busy time at our house too. I'm hoping that once things slow down a bit, I'll be able to take some time to weed through the "stuff" that we already have. I think I may try to implement a toy rotation schedule too (to help cut back on how much is their room at one time).


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