I wasn’t going to be one of those people. Newly arrived back home from living in Liberia for four years, I stood in bewilderment before the shampoo shelves at Walmart. Not just ten different brands, but ten different varieties within the brands. The card section was no better. I stood with a jet-lagged headache and wanted to cry. The myriad of options and decisions were overwhelming.
Nine years later, I’m a different person, and I’m sad. I’ve become the standard American consumer and I’ve accumulated stuff. Not at the hoarder level, but just clutter. Stuff I thought I’d use. Stuff that was too cheap to resist. Clothes I thought I liked. Books I thought I’d read.
The more I collected, the foggier my mind got. When the mind is constantly bombarded with new information and ideas, and the acquiring and storing of possessions, however good they may be, it tends to slow down and gets sluggish, much like an electronic with little memory. Pinterest with its never ending feed, and the cheap book section at the thrift store had my house and my mind filling up faster than I could handle. Input was far greater than output, and though I had a great bookshelf,and boards with many great ideas, my mind couldn’t keep up.
2017 is going to be a lifestyle change for me, and I’m excited about what all has been done. In an effort to reclaim and clean out both my physical and mental space, here is what will change:
- No more Pinterest, unless I’m needing something specific or needing an idea. I helped make a very basic, delicious supper recently using old, favorite recipes, and was amazed at how simple and yummy it was. No more overthinking food and ingredients. I’m freeing up a bit of brain space that way.
- Cutting way back on shopping. I love shopping, so this is going to be hard. I’m getting rid of stuff, so giving myself opportunities to acquire more would be bad for me.
- Being smarter about my social media. I’m pulling the plug on bloggers/vloggers whose content isn’t inspiring or worthwhile to me personally. I’m also unfollowing facebook groups that tempt me to buy more stuff.
- Being choosy about my clothing purchases. Unless I absolutely love or need something, it will not be coming home with me. I had far too many barely-used, ill-fitting pieces that I’m giving away.
I’m a creative person, and love the creative process so this is really going to cramp my style. This will bring a whole new discipline to my life that hasn’t been around, and it’s going to be challenging.
Here are the goals for my labors 🙂
- Bible memory. My church is learning Psalm 119 right now and its been hard. Do you know how many synonyms there are for commandments? They are all used at least 12 times throughout the chapter, I think 🙂 Less stuff and more time will help me concentrate on this discipline.
- More creative output. I love writing and creating and I feel like God can use these talents to glorify Himself and bless others. I want to start peddling in the marketplace of ideas, not just consuming. I foresee more blog posts in the near future.
- The reading of my good books. A book is only good when it is read and enjoyed and there are so many I have yet to read. Slowing down on accumulating will enable me to get through these faster. Not gonna lie though, I’m not promising to completely refrain from purchasing books. I sorta can’t really help myself there, and I don’t think its bad, but I do have to slow down.
- Saving money. Not buying the cheap sweater or the discounted lotion will save me money. A deal is only good if it is useful. While these two trash bags of clutter to give away was most likely purchased inexpensively, I’m giving it back so it wasn’t a good deal. I want to start collecting moments,not things. Traveling is a big part of those moments so less stuff= more travel money.
- Understanding contentment and simplicity and integrating these virtues into the fabrics of my life could be life-changing.
Another goal is to keep collecting favorite literary pieces and printing them out for my literature binder. The following is one of my new finds, but the photo shows just part of it. A google search will bring up the whole piece.
The kick-start of this process came in a series of messages my dad is preaching on “Loving God With All Your Mind.” I’ve been trying to love God with a foggy, cluttered, distracted mind, and that’s not fair to Him or to me. Giving God the best of my mind is a spiritual goal in all this and I take it seriously. Having space to take in more truths and continue growing and learning should be every Christian’s desire, and I haven’t done so well in the past.
Here’s to an uncluttered 2017, both in mind and in house, and I wish the same for all of you.