“The Year of Less Stuff”

Pope Francis declared 2015-2016, “The Year of Mercy.” I remember when the much loved Saint Pope John Paul II named 2002-2003, “The Year of the Rosary.” It’s a common practice for popes to declare a “year of something.”  It is beautiful. The practice is a way to help the faithful have a common area of focus to strengthen their souls and the life of the church. At a family-life level, I find it helpful to set goals as a family, married couple, and mother. I have noticed that some “mommy bloggers” have named a focus for their year to help strengthen their personal focus or family focus. Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom chose a really good one. She is calling this her “Year of Rest.” I love that idea. I need more rest (as I first draft this post at 12:54am, sigh). Maybe next year I can have a better focus on resting. For now, I think my year is best summed up as, “The Year of Less Stuff.”

How am I living out “The Year of Less Stuff?” Let me share!

For Lent this year, I had a two-part resolution:

  1. Fill up the back of my van with stuff to donate every week, OR
  2. Fill up 4-6 bags of things to recycle or throw away (e.g., papers, broken kitchen items, broken toys, etc.) every week.

Being inspired by the book, It’s Here Somewhere, I have been going through my items at home and de-cluttering. For each item, I quickly ask myself, “Do I need it? Do I want it? Do I use it? Do I like it? Do I have room for it?”

As the author Alice Osborne suggests, you don’t need to say “yes” or “no” to all of those questions to make a decision. It’s a guide to help you simplify the de-cluttering and streamlining process.

Each time I load up my van and drive off to St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill to make a donation, I happily imagined my house and property becoming lighter and lighter. It is a fun image to have.

We are blessed to have many items, but there is too much. We don’t need it all, and I much prefer order than chaos.

As you moms reading this are likely to know, children tend to see toys and create chaos with them. Things go from order to chaos very quickly. It’s like they are trying to create an equilibrium and equally distribute toys, papers, and who knows what all over the house until the floor is evenly covered. Sure, you can stop them from being messy and teach them to be cleaner, but that is quite the process if you have too much stuff to begin with! I believe that children get overwhelmed with cleaning if there is too much stuff. They don’t know where to start. I feel that way, too! I find that my children do a much better job at cleaning up three small messes than one big mess.

This was our cluttered “play room” in our basement.

Getting rid of things every week went well. I went through our basement, the bedrooms, the kitchen, our school room, our living room, and our garage. I had to be intentional about it and set aside time, but it was attainable. A few years ago, with a baby, I would not have had time for this goal, but now it was the right season in my life.

My intention is to keep up with this goal for the rest of 2016 because there is plenty more work to be done. I still need to go through every room again and thin things out more, especially our storage areas.

My hope is to have a much lighter home by December 2016. If God knows the number of hairs on our heads, I suspect that He will know how much lighter my home is by December 2016! I will write another post soon that gives some suggestions on decluttering. I will give more ideas and inspiration for getting clutter and unused items out of your home. Detachment from unnecessary objects is a beautiful thing!









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