It was time to put our house up for sale.
I watched episodes of HGTV, discovering that potential buyers like to imagine a home as theirs. The experts said to put away personal items.
So Richard and I went through the house and started stacking, sorting, and packing. We put our most treasured items in a closet, but hauled the rest to a storage building and made our first payment. It took months for the house to sell. Every month I wrote a check to the storage company, until finally the house sold. We moved all our essential items to the new house and then went to pick up the items in storage.
I looked at the first box.
Why did I keep that?
I asked that again when I opened the second, third, and additional boxes.
It wasn’t junk, but it wasn’t treasure. It was just stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Stuff accumulated over the years that we carried from house to house.
Only a few items went back into our home. The rest were donated to a ministry thrift store.
This is what my friend, Ruth Soukup, says about stuff in her book titled Unstufffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul:
I have a love-hate relationship with stuff.
I love to get stuff.
I love to give stuff.
I love the idea of stuff.
I love getting a deal on stuff.
Stuff is pretty. Stuff makes me happy.
Stuff makes my home feel cozy.
Except when it doesn’t.
Because, then, I hate stuff.
I hate living with stuff.
I hate the way too much stuff makes me feel.
I hate having to clean stuff.
I hate shuffling stuff around.
Stuff is messy. Stuff makes me discontent.
Stuff makes my home feel cluttered.
Jesus talked about stuff.
He asked us to travel light here on earth (Matthew 6:19-21).
He told us that there are more important things than stuff (Hebrews 13:5).
He described how we spin and twirl away to earn enough money for more stuff, filling our barns (storage units) to overflowing when it’s not really what matters in the end (Luke 12:18-20).
He told us to stop worrying about stuff (Luke 12:27).
Instead he asked us to hoard.
When we pass those lackluster metal villages surrounded by coiled barbwire to protect the multitude of stuff inside, we might think of that as hoarding.
But that’s not the definition of that word.
Hoarding is carefully guarding something of value for preservation or future use.
We’ve got our definitions all mixed up, don’t we?
Jesus asked us to stop collecting stuff so we can guard carefully those things that do have value.
Jesus continually taught the disciples how to shed the need for stuff so they could fill up their life with a relationship with him, and with others.
He showed them how this treasure would last forever.
So, I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to be a Christian hoarder.
I’m going to guard carefully those things that I’d want tight around me in the end.
I’m going to give a whole lot less weight to those that will eventually end up in an estate sale, or stacked in a corner in my garage.
What if storage buildings, and garages and closets started emptying as believers put our emphasis (and our dollars) into lasting treasure?
- How would that impact our family?
- How would that impact the world?
- How would that impact us — as we climbed off the spinning, twirling cycle of acquiring more stuff?
Maybe, just maybe, we’d discover the most important stuff of all.
My friend, Ruth Soukup, has graciously offered to give away two copies of her beautiful, practical book, Unstufffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul to a couple of you today.
I know Ruth. I love her heart behind this great book.
I love that she lives it, but even more that she shows us how to get rid of stuff and teach our children the value of living unstuffed.
If you share a comment, you’ll be entered in the giveaway.
You can read it, and then pass it on to someone else.
Find out more about Ruth Soukup at Unstuffed.
[inlinkz_linkup id=624688 mode=1]
My mother just died on Wednesday morning, and it really reminded me that you can’t take any worldly goods with you, so it doesn’t matter what physical things you left behind. It is the life you led, and your walk with Christ, and believing what He did for us on the cross, and she did.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. It sounds like you are comforted by the knowledge that she is with the Heavenly Father. Realizing that worldly possessions have no real, everlasting, value, is so important. I struggle knowing how to help my two children “get” this. My 11 year old, especially, covets things. He is constantly wanting things…new bat, new shoes, golf club, on and on. I am realizing that he may already be trying to fill some desires of his heart with stuff. I am hoping to read more of the book to learn better how to respond, not out of fear or anger, but love and compassion and in ways that model Jesus’ love for us, so that he can pursue Jesus, not stuff.
Thanks, Suzie, for sharing.
When I enter my closet or open a drawer to get something it’s always surrounded by several items I don’t use, don’t need, & I think about how someone else could probably use it. My intentions are good, but I never seem to actually go back and do it. I need a declutter plan for my life that will not only help me but benefit others also. I’d love to receive a copy of your book.
I love Ruth.’s words and read her blog too. Save For distance I wish I could get a copy. I appreciate that you featured her today.
God bless Suzanne
About 10 years ago I started decluttering and getting rid of stuff 2x’s a year. Had a storage unit and it sat there for years. My thought, if you don’t use it in a 3 year time get rid of it. Now I will go through boxes and remove rearrange the stuff, very close us the box date it and in 6 months I go back to the boxes and see which ones are next.
I still love colllecting stuff, who can’t pass up free even if I don’t need it someone might.
I would love to have a copy of this. I know that it could help my mom. With my dad passing she has so much.
Thanks for sharing this.
This is such a timely post for me! Lately it seems that God has put before me over and over the idea that in order to do some true healing, I am going to have to declutter emotionally and physically! I have heard it said that the level of clutter and chaos in your home reflects the state of mind you are in~~ boy do I need some serious decluttering!! I would love to read this book as a resource to help on my journey– perhaps it can help increase my motivation as well!!!! 🙂
I have such a hard time letting go of things, of people. Letting go is a theme with me and God this year. He is a patient and kind teacher and I can be an obstinate grumpy student. Still, he loves me through every hard lesson. I think Ruth’s lovely book would be a wonderful supplemental text:)
I too have that love hate relationship with stuff. I guess I never really thought of it as hoarding. I’ve been trying, mostly unsuccessfully to rid my life of stuff. This book sounds like a must read!
A Christian hoarder, that’s fantastic! I imagine you going around and scooping people into your arms. I think this #livefree community is one way you are doing just that Suzie.
With our last move, I left about six boxes unpacked. When we finally got to them a year or so later, I had the same response. WHY did I save this stuff? I am excited about Ruth’s new book and the freedom waiting on the other side of getting UNSTUFFED!
I have so much stuff – stuff from my Mom who wanted me to have her stuff and then there is my stuff and there is still kid’s stuff that my grandsons are playing with. STUFF! Loved this blog post. I am doing Ruth’s blogging course and only heard about this book this week. I think I need to read it.
Thanks for the party today. Hope to dig in and share, but kinda under the weather with a fever and cold.
Suzie, how I so relate to this post! The excerpt from Ruth’s book is exactly my lament. i go from loving the stuff to despising the stuff in such a short time. It has become so apparent to me how we can spend a lot of precious time taking care of our stuff when we could be spending the time on what really matters: people. Thanks for sharing this! LOVE this message.
This post is perfect for me to reflect on! I just sold my house! The actual sale will not go through until June, but I will need to empty the entire house of all our “stuff” and I’m sure I don’t really need to take everything in this house with us to the next home.
My nest is starting to empty. One child this fall, the other next fall. And then I will live mostly on my own.
I am considering “how much do I really need?” Probably not much at all. I think at this stage of my life, I’d rather have less. Less bills, less to clean, less to maintain and less, just less.
I will pray for guidance, clarity and priority while I do this. I want to allow my focus to land on what things are truly important, not materialistically important.
Today’s blog definitely fits me! I too love/hate stuff!! I need to declutter that is for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Love this post Suzie. I have been slowly getting rid of stuff that is useless to me but oh so needed by someone else. I tend to go in spurts……declutter for several days or weeks and then go months without doing anything. I know getting rid of stuff will open me up for collecting what God wants me to collect in my life-people!!
Thank you sweet friend!!
Love this! Convicting on my heart this morning, but also encouraging. A Christian hoarder is definitely something I want to strive for becoming.
Suzie, This is excatly what i needed this morning. We are in the end of selling our house closing in just a few days. and as I have been going through stuff sorting taking to storage, good will, selling etc. God has been dealing with me about my stuff. He is telling me to let go of so much stuff that needs to be cleaned and took care of so that i can have more time to do the things he needs me to do. Time is running out on us and I believe we need to be out in the fields harvesting. So I am decluttering and I want to be stress free of all the things that I have control over and let God be center of my life and spend what time i have left doing what God wants me to do. Thank you for sharing this today. It is like a comformation from God. May God continue to bless you and your family.
Suzie, we stored a lot of stuff when we moved for two years of training. When we finally settled, on the other side of the continent and PAID to have our stored stuff moved to our new home, I couldn’t believe it when I began unpacking. We kept only a small amount of it. Even our children had outgrown their stuff we’d saved. Why had I thought it was valuable? Great blog! I’m with you. I want to store up eternal riches too.
What a timely article. The issue of to much stuff has been on my heart offer the part month. Thank you for writing this piece.
Wow – this is really good stuff and hit home. Thank you Suzie!
Wow, this hits home with me, so much. I have been feeling ‘stuffed’ lately, and I feel that it is God assuring me that all my ‘STUFF’ isn’t gonna redeem me, only He can do that. I have cleaned my closet out, and already need to do it again, along with every room in my house! I truly love the idea of this book, and would LOVE to win it! Thank you, Suzie and Ruth! <3
This has soooo much been on my mind for the last few weeks. We lost our daughter three months ago, and it has turned our world upside down. A total perspective shift. God just keeps putting these topics in my face. Thank you! I linked up with a post I wrote several days ago that discussed this topic in a similar way.
This book really speaks to me, I have lived in my parents house with my two kids for almost two years. We haven very little space. I have been going through things that I don’t really need. If I haven’t used in like six months it is going in the garbage. We need to remember what the important things in life is. Our stuff isn’t how we live our life is what really matters.
I am trying to unclutter my email inbox. I have been so blessed by many wonderful devotionals I have subscribed to over the last few years! But I need to pull back from reading the devotionals so that I can spend more time in the Word. But…I am still subscribing to you, Suzie. 😊
This really hits home. My husband and I are newlyweds and all too often I catch myself wanting more stuff over the things that REALLY matter. To be honest, at times I get envious when I see others with more “stuff.” However, I don’t want to get 15 years down the road and have invested all of our time and money in accumulating things that I can’t take with me when I go. Thank you for such an eye-opening post and for introducing me to the concept of being a “Christian hoarder.” May God bless you and yours 🙂
I have realized in the past couple of years that we need to declutter after cleaning out my mother’s home after she passed away. It was a JOB!!! I feel the need to downsize stuff and live simply.
I can really relate to this and would love to read this book!
WOW! I guess I need to read this book! That first graphic really hit me hard as I thought about our home and what I hold onto. Why do I have so many crafts when I can’t even work on them for 2 weeks before moving on to another? Sad.
I sure do hope to win the Uncluttered book by Ruth!
Suzie! I love this. I just dropped off a trunkful of bags to the thrift store this week. I kept thinking, “Where does it all come from?!?!” Month after month, I’m loading bags of STUFF into the car to haul away or pass down to friends. And then out shopping I go! In comes more stuff that is so new and fun! It’ll be in a bag months from now. How funny are we?!? At least I’m in the habit of passing down and giving away, instead of adding to the landfill. I hope I can be so careful in my friendships and with my heart. Lord, may I have the sweet privledge of willing the love for You that overflows from my heart to my children, and children’s children. That’s something worth holding on to … To pass down.
Would LOVE to read Ruth’s book! Her name has been flying past my screen lots lately. I’m having so much fun growing my bookshelf and passing books on to friends. Whether it’s a copy of mine that looks like a highlighter threw up all over it, or a brand new copy sent to their mailbox. It’s a little thing God’s put on my heart to do lately.
Wow…you can tell I’ve had two GIANT cups of coffee today. Always a blessing to be here on your blog.
Ready to do something with the stuff
I am currently trying to get rid of all the excess stuff in my house. It’s to the point where it is stressing me out. I need to read this book as there are several areas of my life that need to be decluttered!
i started decluttering back in Jan and have gotten side tracked! I love my books adn have a hard time purging those and my craft/art stuff.
Thanks for the chance.
Would love to read this book – feeling a prompting to declutter and reduce the amount of stuff we’ve collected over the years.
I have stuff piled up – I keep telling myself I’ll work on it tomorrow- but I never do. I collect stuff like crazy. How to begin to declutter? How do I find the energy to dig in?
I definitely need this book!
Oh how I need to let go and stop getting stuff. Help!
I didn’t fully read instructions until after my first post. I will follow instructions now tho 😊 HLM. I understand what you are saying about your 11yo. When we hoard stuff it is an emotional response to a loss we have experienced.. We keep getting stuff to fill that void from the loss. Or I believe to fill the God given void for Him. The only thing to fill that void is the Lord Jesus himself. Why is it so hard for us to see and accept that’s? I will pray for you to have wisdom as you teach your two children HLM. God bless
I love purging. However there are certainly times when I need a little help amd to realize stuff isn’t so important.
Cleared my closet a few weeks ago….what a freeing feeling! Working on a few other areas called heart and mind and I know it will be harder but I’m certain the results will be AMAZING!
I needed to hear this. My house needs to be decluttered but more than that my mind and spirit also need decluttering so that I can focus on kingdom things and the King of Kings. Thanks for the reminder.
I loved this. It made me stop and think more about what causes some of my stuff to go from blessings to burden. I appreciate the challenge!
I feel the same! Thanks for sharing!
I feel the same! Thanks for sharing Rayna.
Our family relocated to GA a year ago and the process of moving overwhelmed me. We had so much stuff! I donated many items, some used and some new, but had still had plenty to move.
Minimalism appealed to me as I realized we would be unpacking these boxes at the other end of the move!
Going forward, we decided not to accumulate for ourselves. Instead, we want to use what God has entrusted to our family for the benefit of making his name known. We began by making financial gifts to 5 families with funds from the sale of our home. God brought their needs to us through prayer and we took
It is hard to resist buying! We stop and consider sending our treasures ahead to heaven by giving it away here on earth. Doing so gives us the opportunity to tell others about God and his love for them. We feel honored to be used by God in this life changing way!