Flower in hands

Photo by Hamed Saber

I love springtime for so many reasons, but one of my favorites is that somehow, the cool breeze and warm sunshine motivate me to thrust open the curtains and get cleaning.

I write about this in my e-book, Spring Cleaning for Normal People, and in it, I share a three-step process to use in ten areas of your home over the span of two weeks.  The idea is to work just a little bit each day for a few weeks, so that you don’t burn out or get overwhelmed before finishing.

This process deals with the physical clutter.  It gives you practical ideas for dealing with the stuff.

But spring cleaning is merely a band-aid unless you frequently take some time to evaluate your inner life and heart.  This is because holding on to clutter is merely a symptom of a deeper heart issue – and this is the place where the root needs to be nurtured and fertilized.  And sometimes pruned.

As we manage the stuff in our homes that God has entrusted to us, the question for all of us is this — “Where do I put my trust?”

Do I put my trust in the stuff around me?  Do I hold on to things because, all glory to God, I’m able to find a use for them around my home or they add beauty to our environment?  Or do I hold on to things out of fear?

Jar on a window

Photo by Stacy Bass

  • http://www.asgoodadayasany.wordpress.com Marilyn Yocum

    Excellent! I’ve been waiting for someone to give me permission to get rid of all of these mugs, which, every time I empty the dishwasher I have to wrestle into the cabinet. Seriously. Today they go to Goodwill! Hopefully someone will be delighted to find them there and give them a good home. I may have to blog about this.

  • http://www.stoutsrus.blogspot.com Christy

    It’s funny that this is your topic today! We are actually doing a garage give away at our church this weekend! It’s a one day event with many days of prep work :) This is the 4th one we have done and it’s always amazing…there is always more stuff! Each time an estimated $750,000 to $1,000,000 worth of stuff has been donated!
    I’m 5 weeks from my due date and nesting is taking over :) Our closets have never been cleaner, and our pantry/cabinates look divine :) I just can’t wait to get our “blessings” out of the garage!! Thanks for sharing, it brings renewed meaning to why we give!

  • allison

    i JUST came from the basement and said, GOSH WHY do I have so much stuff!! I thank you that this is a confirm to clean out the mess~

  • Rebekah

    As I’ve been cleaning out cabinets and closets this spring, God has been doing a work in me- reminding me that storing up earthly treasures that rust and fade is foolishness. I gave away all of the baby stuff that our 3 1/2 year old will never need again and have been so blessed in the knowledge that other families will enjoy and use those things that I have been hoarding in overstuffed spaces. Such a timely post.

  • http://thescienceofmusic.blogspot.com Rachel @ the science of music

    I’m usually good about getting rid of unwanted things – so much so that I’ve even given away things that I later realized I needed. Oops!
    I do have a bag of clothes that has been sitting in my garage since Christmas time. My aunt brought them, thinking I might be able to use some of them for my boys. I realized the other day that I don’t even want the clothes. If I wanted them, I would have gone through the bag already, and if I went through the bag, I probably wouldn’t keep anything anyway. It’s time to get rid of them – pass them on!

  • http://myhomesweethomeonline.net Dawn Camp

    I’m giving away my maternity clothes to a young mother at church expecting her second child. My youngest is almost five now, and it’s time to let go and let those clothes bless someone else!

  • http://www.lamp-unto-my-feet.com Sherry

    Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been doing a bit of decluttering, but need to work on some more decluttering of coffee cups and other things as they are going to be just hay and stubble that is burned up. Need to get some crowns that don’t burn up! :D Thank you for the reminder!

  • http://www.frugalandfocused.com/ Janet

    Just last week I tossed plaques I had received in high school as well as text books from college. They were 20 years old. God has been working on this in me over the last few years but the last couple of weeks he’s been driving the point home. Our current focus at church is on generous living. This past Sunday the sermon was on getting rid of the stuff and letting go the of the desire to have more. As the pastor said, “God gives us excess not that we may have more but that we may give more”. We are blessed so that we may bless others.

  • Betty-Jo

    Thank you for this….I really need to get rid of “stuff”. I hold on to things thinking I might need this later. I am a pack rat. I am going to do some spring cleaning this week :) Have a blessed day.

  • http://abbieknaub.wordpress.com Abbie

    It is so freeing to get rid of things I don’t need or love – even if I got it not that long ago! Or if it was a gift! It doesn’t bless me or others to have too much “stuff” and not enough time, money or energy. Thanks for the reminder! I’m kind of in a cleaning out mode and will be doing lots this week!

  • http://www.thereisatimeunderheaven.blogspot.com Manda

    Before every holiday where gifts are given, we ask our girls to go through their toys and pass on the gently “loved” to other children who would like them. It allows room of the new gifts, but also helps our girls recognize that we don’t need to have more, more, more… but we can “pass on our stuff”.
    I really enjoyed this post!

  • http://simplemom.net Tsh

    As the pastor said, “God gives us excess not that we may have more but that we may give more.”
    @Janet — I love this quote from your pastor, and it’s so right on.
    Honestly, since stewardship means management, it’s silly to think we’re managing something when we hold on to something we really don’t need. It’s just as much being a good steward to take care of a useful, well-loved item in our home than it is to give away something we no longer need.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    Tsh — you inspire!
    Thank you for using your gift to encourage!
    Getting to work now here! :)
    I deeply appreciate you and your vision…
    All’s grace,

  • http://christiwilliams.blogspot.com/ Christi Williams

    I loved this post! Thank you. There is so much I need to get rid of and get organized and I will be looking at things differently.

  • http://www.StudioJewel.blogspot.com lisa @thebeadgirl

    beautiful post. thank you….i needed that. :)

  • http://www.toddlerrideontoys.net/ Tina

    I always wonder how I end up with so much “stuff”. I think I have this fear that if I get rid of things I’ll need them right after I do that, which is not typically the case. I’ve actually decluttered, given some kitchen and bathroom stuff to my nephew who’s heading off to college this fall, and given loads of clothes to the local rescue mission. It’s really a fulfilling feeling to know that I’ve helped others which is what God asks of us anyway. Great post!

  • http://www.mommythemarketer.com Amber Jordan

    Thank you! We always “declutter” by giving away clothes, books etc. but I always stop short when I get to those ticket stubs, newspaper clippings and random memorabilia. I’ve been struggling with giving away all my “suits” from my past corporate life (I work from home now). I’m always afraid that I will need them as soon as I get rid of them. This post has motivated me to look at things differently. I just found this blog and I am thrilled!

  • http://gettingthere.typepad.com Laura @ Getting There

    This is a great post. I am a book lover and collecter; but just this morning I was lying in bed looking at my bookshelves, and thinking that I could easily make up a box of stuff to take to the used book store. Books that were “important” to me even 6 months ago aren’t anymore as my values change.
    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of getting rid of stuff, since we’re probably going to move in the next year. I bring stuff to Value Village probably once a month. I admit I am sentimental though; I have a box of artwork for each of my kids which I will never get rid of. Nor will I ever toss certain items of baby clothes that are special to me. On the other hand, I’ve been steadily tossing my mementos from highschool as that time becomes less and less important to me. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  • Emma

    Great post! I am curious about what a Garage Give-Away is, posted by Christy? Sounds interesting.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01310fb80fc9970c MixieRae

    I get a certain spiritual angst when I own too many belongings. In general, I ask myself “Have I used this in the last year?” and “Will I use it in the next 6 months?” If the answer is no, then I generally donate it to Goodwill or a friend in need. Besides, I’ve moved 10 times in the last 9.5 years…having too much stuff is a very real barrier to efficient relocating!

  • http://www.lauraleighparker.com Laura @Life Overseas

    I just tasted the struggle and the resulting freedom from moving our family of five overseas. We got on the airplane with 6 suitcases. 6. It was such a challenge to give away, but it has taught me so much about what my fingers slowly become curled around–and too often it is the “stuff” around me. Thanks for the reminder.

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