Simplyfying life isn't always simple

Box of stuff
A peek into a box in the garage. Brown (c) 2017
Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, spoke on today's Focus on the Family broadcast "Simplifying Life, Living More Fully."

Becker and his family have chosen to live with less so they could enjoy life more. They wanted to resist the urge to chase after things, accumulating, living in and caring for clutter that didn't add meaning to their lives.

"Eight years ago my wife, Kim, and I came to a life-changing realization: There is more joy in owning less than we can ever find pursuing more," Becker writes in "When Clutter is an Obstacle to Marital Unity."

Becker writes how easy it is to see the clutter your spouse holds onto and overlook your own clutter. He likens this truth to Jesus' warning "first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5).

Becker goes on to write that it takes communication, compromise and time for couples to sort out clutter and value.

My husband and I have been engaged in similar conversations periodically over the last ten years. When we downsized from our family home in Maryland, we gave away or donated household items, clothing, and heirlooms, taking only what we wanted most to a much smaller home. But then, we opened our door to carry in or accept deliveries of more and more. Accumulating has a way of cluttering up a down-sized home all over again. I'm a collector. I'm also married to one.

It takes intentionality to keep the clutter down to a minimum. So, discussions come up again and again.

Another move prompts more negotiations about what to bring or discard from our home in Arizona and what to buy or bring into our new home in Vancouver, Washington. [Related post: A Season of Less is More.]

Some items are easy to let go. We've already donated a lot of stuff. It feels good to give things away, knowing someone else can use them.

Not all things are so easy to let go. So, we moved them to the garage when the realtor said to declutter. If we can, we'll donate more from those piles before we move. Otherwise, we'll continue the discussion after the move.

With boxes and boxes of clutter packed and stacked in the garage with excess lamps, pictures, and furniture, our home looks more spacious. We both like it and have wondered aloud if we can resist overcrowding our home in Vancouver. That remains to be seen, even though we both would like to live more simply.

Although, we've agreed that all the stuff still in Phoenix will not go in our new home, more discussions will be needed: What is going in the new home? Where? What is staying in the garage? What can we donate or give away?

But, until a moving van with couches and chairs sits in my driveway, I'm going shopping. We could use a patio set now...and later. We value having family over, and we would like them to be comfortable. A table and a few chairs inside on cold, rainy days would be useful. That isn't clutter, it's hospitality.

How About You? What would make your life more simple or more enjoyable? Please leave a comment.

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