Sunday, January 3, 2016

Why I will not be doing any more decluttering

Photo: My recent decluttering trick: Dump Everything On the Bed Then Spend Two Weeks Moving It Around. 

I realise there is an obvious gap here. Like, 2.5 years worth. And the short answer is life got in the way for a bit. I might get a chance to explain some of that if I keep this up. 



It's the current internet obsession. My newsfeed, instafeed, blog roll are full of New Year's challenges for decluttering your house in a week, a month, a year, forever. I've read the KonMarie book. I've read the Minimalist websites. I've joined the facebook groups, I've sold my stuff, I've thrown out bags and bags.

And here's the thing: I do not find decluttering fulfilling. 

I don't find it fulfilling because it's not what I'm made for. 

While I understand the concept of 'sparking joy' in your life, and keeping only things around you that make you happy, I have found decluttering to be stressful, upsetting and the number one cause of gigantic piles of mess in my otherwise neat-and-tidy-but-not-magazine-worthy house.

And after four or five weeks of trying to figure out the best way to sell my old stuff, who might want it or where else it could be stored, I have realised one thing, God made me for a bigger purpose than having a neat house. 

As the New Year rolls around, I'm focusing on what I learnt in 2015. Here is some of what I have figured out so far:

- I have some God-given gifts that are more useful to God, when they are employed outside my home. 
- I have the capacity to make new friends easily, and to help people talk through the things that separate them from God. 
- I can, when I ask God for the courage, be bold enough to ask them how they are going and if they want to come to church, or how I can pray for them. 
- I am in a new stage of life with a baby (whom we call Giraffe) and being a Mum is something that has helped me understand the concept of eternity more clearly. The time we have here is short and needs to be used to pursue God's glory for the people he places in our lives. 
- Having a giraffe opens a lot of conversational avenues for talking about God's work in my life and how His Story has shaped my own. This needs to be my starting point for writing my weekly To Do list, not which cupboards I want to get clean. 

See how none of that really had anything to do with decluttering? 

You know what else? The times I have had my house ridiculously spotless when people have come over, have been some of the most uncomfortable social visits I've ever had. Its like the more I try to impress, the more uptight and less friendly I actually am. I thought I was doing the opposite, but my friends seem to relax more when they don't feel like they are sitting in a show room. 

So my plan for this year? Priorities. 

1. Prayer
2. Play
3. Give
4. Grow

Prayer; I'm not worried about a specific system or a book or a way of praying like I've started the past few years. I just want to rekindle that prayer relationship I have had in the past by actually praying! 

Play: Instead of reading countless FB posts about other people's declutter or decorating missions, or giving my two cents on how to feed your Giraffe or get them to sleep better, I am going to spend more of my free time playing with my Giraffe. I have a lot to teach them and they have a lot to teach me, and I'm going to keep missing it if my head is buried in my iphone or my decluttering piles. 

Give: Aside from giving money, which is a joint discussion and decision my husband and I make together, I realised this past year that the biggest thing I can give many people in my life is time. Time to listen, support, laugh with, help. The opportunities are endless, and sometimes uncomfortable. But they are important. 

Grow: I've had a year of stunted spiritual growth. I've filled the void that I've felt with things that have distracted me from God. No more. Now, more Bible. More God. 

[Some might argue that priorities 2 and 3 should be the other way around. In the season of life that I am in, I need to focus on my roles as a wife and mum before giving of myself to others. I risk burnout when I do these the other way around - Believe me, I've tested that out.]

I'm interested to see where God takes me this year. I am bracing myself because I feel it will be a year of pruning. But God, in His infinite wisdom, knows exactly what he is doing. And I get the feeling its got nothing to do with the state of my cupboards.