How I Got Rid of the Stress – I Didn’t Know Existed – in my Life.
June 24, 2014
I don’t get stressed out very easily, but recently I watched a show that had me on edge from the moment it came on. The show is called “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” Have you ever seen it?
It is a show about people who collect “stuff”. For whatever reason, they get attached to their “stuff” and refuse to get rid of anything. Boxes line their hallways and clutter climbs to the ceiling making it virtually impossible to negotiate through their homes. Often their “stuff” is piled so high that they cannot function in their own living space. It is absolutely crazy! And stressful just to watch, let alone live in.
I am the exact opposite of these folks.
I am not a collector or a saver, and I don’t like “things”. I can’t stand having to dust around trinkets or store items I rarely use, so I keep my “stuff” to a minimum. I actually keep a box in my laundry room for clothes the kid’s have outgrown and things we no longer want or need. When the box gets full we take a trip to the A+ thrift shop to donate these items on a regular basis. This way, “stuff” never takes over my house.
I call it “dejunking.” And because I hate clutter, and stress, I do it often.
Recently, however, I took my “dejunking” to a whole new level. And doing so has removed stress I did not even realize existed in my life.
Let me tell you how it happened…
One afternoon two months ago, I threatened to get rid of my boys’ toys if they didn’t clean up their room. I explained to them that if they didn’t have so much “stuff,” they wouldn’t have to listen to me barking orders to clean it up all the time. I whined a bit about how if they had nothing to play with, they would have nothing to clean up. Eventually, they got their room – most of the way – clean.
For three days in a row, this went on. I would go in and bark. They would whine about having to clean. I would threaten them by telling them how serious I was about getting rid of their “stuff” if they couldn’t get it cleaned up in a timely fashion. Then, eventually, they would get their room – most of the way – clean.
On the fourth day, my eight year old son came to me and said, “Mommy, I think you are right. If we get rid of some of our toys we won’t have as much to have to clean up all the time.”
The words were music to my ears, but I had just “dejunked” their room three months earlier. I never really intended to get rid of all their stuff. Nonetheless, I predetermined in my heart that if my boys said they wanted to give it away, I would say yes. (See, though, I am not a saver, I still clung to some of the toys that were in good shape – even if they didn’t use them – simply because they were in good shape or expensive or a gift from grandma, etc. Can anyone relate?)
At the end of the afternoon, both boys had collected quite a bit of “stuff” to give away. And I was pleased.
A few days passed when Jayce came to me again noticing that he was still spending a lot of time cleaning up. “Mommy,” he asked. “Can I get rid of some more stuff?”
With that, we went in the room together and purged it of almost every toy in the room. We got rid of cars, action heroes, race tracks and Ninja turtles. Light sabers, Nerf guns, Frisbees and swords. When we were finished, we moved the toy box to the family room closet with five toys in it. My boys’ room was officially “dejunked.” With only a few books, Legos, cars and guys on a shelf, there was no major way to make a mess.
Before I continue, I am sure there are a few of you out there worried about how the kids coped after the initial excitement of the purge wore off. I want to assure you, they have hardly missed a thing. In fact we have only had one incident where they even asked for anything back. (It was a gun and we quickly remedied it by building stick guns from the yard and using their imaginations to play instead.)
Two months later, my house has never been so clean. I am not constantly yelling at my kids to pick up the toys they dumped on the floor (and never even played with) anymore. When it is time to clean up, it takes only a few minutes to get the job done. And doing so is much more peaceful.
In hindsight, I realize that the addition of all this “stuff” did not created joy at all. It actually added more stress- to both them and me. (In the same way “more stuff” doesn’t make adults happy, it doesn’t make our kids happy either.) In fact, the kid’s are in complete agreement. (Yes, I asked them.) – Dejunking their room was one of the best things we have done in a long time. I am so grateful that we stumbled upon such an incredible blessing. It has relieved loads of stress that I never even recognized was there… until it was gone.
How about you? Are you addicted to “stuff”? How would getting rid of some of the “stuff” in your home simplify your life? How would cleaning out the toy box change your life?
Mathew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”