When I was little, my room was always messy. There were polly pockets, littlest pet shop, legos, barbies, and more sprawled out across my bedroom floor at any given moment.
I would shove my toys together in piles so that there was a walkway in my room, much like hoarders do. When I had to clean my room I would stuff all of my toys and clothes into my closet floor and under my bed and call it ‘clean’.
And even though I was so young, I remember believing I didn’t have time to clean my room. I had to go to school all day and then come home and do homework. I just wanted some quality time playing. And some quality time to be messy.
Now that I’m older I have to look back and laugh at how silly I was. Mess can be fun. But organization is what I’ve grown to love.
I absolutely adore watching cleaning videos on YouTube. I love watching Hoarding: Buried Alive just to see all the progress each individual makes. And I, of course, binged Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is also great and what actually sparked her cleaning revolution!)
But what’s great about Kondo’s approach to cleaning is that she totally understands how many of us overvalue our objects. We tend to find our worth in what we own. But that is not what our identity should be rooted in, nor is it what will continuously bring us joy.
If you’re unfamiliar with her approach, it’s basically that you should be surrounded only by what sparks true joy. As she describes it, when you pick up an item you feel the ‘ching’ of happiness. It’s a whole body response.
Sometimes people struggle with attaching memories and sentimental value onto items, no matter the item’s true worth. This is a common problem, especially here in America. But you have to ask yourself if you really need to bring it with you into the next chapter of your life.
Kondo’s point is: eliminate any and everything from your life that isn’t making you happy. And once you’ve cleaned out your house, you can use that same strategy when it comes to buying things.
Gone are the days of buying a shirt that you only sort of like because it was on sale. Gone are the days of buying a book you have no intention to actually read simply because it was real cheap. Gone are the days of spending money on any weird, useless contraption society tries to tell you that you absolutely must have.
One day I would love to be a minimalist. I’m a firm believer that owning less things makes you happier in the long run. I try to resist buying into the trends and spending money on items I don’t actually need. But of course the holidays got to me last year, probably like many.
Not only was I spending a lot of money on others, I was spending a lot of money on myself. I bought more things that I don’t need.
At the end of your life, the items you own aren’t going to matter. The people you’ve known, the relationships and memories made, that’s what’s going to matter.
As a Christian, I know I am not supposed to put my identity in what I own. I don’t need all those luxurious things in my life to be happy. There is such a thing as being grateful for what you do have, and often times the people who are the happiest have the least.
Jesus has called us to live a life of less.
What exactly does that mean? It means spending less money on things we don’t need and putting that money to good use elsewhere. Or going through your closet and donating some items to the needy. It means appreciating what you do have and sending up prayers to God in gratitude for them.
This means that we don’t let money and our objects become the center of our lives. It’s easy to let the distractions of the world take over our hearts, when God is the one who is supposed to live in it.
But when we eliminate the distractions in our life, we can focus on our relationship with God and God’s people. Our ultimate goal in life is not to accumulate possessions, it’s to get to heaven. And what we give away on Earth will be returned to us in heaven.
Do not let society make you feel as though you aren’t good enough because you don’t have the cutest clothes, the newest car, or a ton of money. “Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on Earth.” Colossians 3:2.
I’ve decided to make living with less my New Year’s Resolution. I have a feeling God will help me along my journey.
What are your goals for the New Year? I hope one of them is to do a little more for others. I hope one is that you may radiate, and that you may inspire everyone you encounter.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’.” Hebrews 13:5