Every now and then I take an inventory of the things that pile up in my apartment. My suite of rooms is pretty tiny, so there isn’t a lot of space for much. Living out here on the back of the “Big House” has been an exercise in letting go. It’s amazing the stuff that you really can live without.
A couple of years ago, I decided that I would approach my spring cleaning from what might seem a rather morbid perspective, but it actually worked pretty well. I went through my closet, bookshelves, and drawers, imagining that I would be dead in twelve months. Wow- did I get rid of a lot of stuff! And, with the exception of my yearbooks (yes, I tossed all those yearbooks!) I haven’t really missed any of it.
We accumulate things for a variety of reasons, but one reason I think covers all the rest- for our physical comfort and contentment. Besides basic clothing, shelter, and food, we really need very little. For example, right this moment within my line of vision are 5 blankets, a comforter, and 10 pillows. A quilt is tucked up in the top of the closet. And those are the ones that made the cut of things that I would keep!
Living small really has taught me the value of things. Now I tend to buy things of higher quality since I buy so little. With such a small space for clothes, I make sure that my clothes will last through many seasons- and much of my wardrobe is for either winter or summer (a benefit of living in Georgia and having a menopausal secretary).
I don’t let papers pile up like I used to, but I tend to paperwork right away- either filing or shredding- before it takes over. When I’m done with magazines I throw them away or turn them over to someone else who might enjoy them but I don’t let them collect dust.
Well, I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.
What has been the result of my learning to live without? Peace of mind, contentment, and gratitude for the things that I do have. But the thing about this peace, contentment and gratitude is that by minimizing my material possessions, I can focus more on my unseen blessings- like being loved by such an amazing God, being redeemed by a perfect and loving Savior, having the friendship of good friends, enjoying the love of family.
Sometimes too many possessions can crowd our view of the things that life is truly about, but it is those unseen things that are those that we truly cannot live without.