I love a good purge. I get a strange sort of high to stare clutter in the face and make the decision for it to be gone. It feels empowering and liberating at the same time.
I often moan if only the house was clean I would be happy and content. And, believe me…when the house is clean I definitely feel more relaxed and the people I share this journey with in life would probably agree that I’m easier to get along with too. This seems like it would be enough motivation for all of us to keep a tidy abode.
It’s not. In mere hours the blissful feelings of a clean house can be replaced with a grumpy and agitated mama. I’m left feeling totally overwhelmed and helpless. I want a clean house.
Slowly I’m beginning to see the myth and truth in this game. The mantra of “everything I need and nothing that I don’t” is attractive but it sets us up to fail. Although the act of giving clutter the boot is a feeling I love, the purge itself is not the most important part.
So why do I encourage people that I love and the occasional stranger to purge and declutter regularly?
It’s really pretty simple math. The less we have, the less work it is to manage our belongings. Less time spent managing ‘stuff’ gives us more time for loving people. I want to spend time at the kitchen island talking with my people not chasing them out of the kitchen as I complain for the millionth time about the clutter all over it.
I want more time available for the meaningful conversations. I want to look up at a face rather than shuffling around the kitchen. I’ve tried ignoring the mess and occasionally that’s a good plan for us, but more than that I want to break the cycle of stuff that is taking up my time.
I’m learning what it means to live with margins or white space in my life. I am guilty of maximizing schedules in an award winning way. I am all about efficiency, but I’m hoping that is not what marks my tombstone. I want to be wise at managing time so that I can be wise about spending time.
I want to have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with my husband, a friend who is having a bad day, time to play and talk with my kids without feeling rushed, time in prayer or time to simply look up at all that God has created and be present.
To do this my calendar must have white space and closely tied to that is my home having white space. If I can tidy quickly because there is less stuff and everything has a place then I am giving myself time to do what I really love.
Managing my stuff and managing my time are so closely aligned that both reveal not only my priorities but even more humbling – my attitude. When I take a victim mindset to my schedule and my home both are out of control. I become defeated with myself, frustrated with the people in my life and generally less available to love others.
However, when I reflect on the purpose of my stuff and my schedule the priorities become clear. I want both my home and the way I spend my time to be ultimately for the purpose of drawing people in to life and love. I want them to know the Ultimate Giver of love and the freedom and peace that comes from that relationship.
So I’m trying more often to ask myself a few new questions. Rather than asking myself what should I get rid of…I’m asking myself what should I keep? How does keeping it fit with my goal of wanting to live loved and helping others know that love?
Ever so slowly, when I look around my home and at my calendar it’s becoming easier to see which things are taking me away from my priorities and which ones should be worked into our home and calendar because they have lasting value. The freedom in the purge isn’t just in letting go of what I don’t want or need. It is in knowing exactly why I’m making time and space for things I love. Like you my dear friend — thanks for reading along as I learn and grow.
From R7 to you —
Be a blessing.