Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stuff, stuff, stuff

Four year’s ago, Louise and I sold or gave away two-thirds of our possessions and moved from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment. It was not at all an easy thing to do. In fact it was one of the hardest things we have ever done. But in retrospect, it was well worth the trouble. We had no idea how weighed down we had become with extra stuff in our life. Since then we have kind of become the “go to” people for those wishing to down size and simplify their lives.

The first thing I tell people is to figure out who you are and get rid of everything that isn’t you. For example, I now describe myself as a musician, photographer, and writer. That means that I am not a woodworker, a mechanic, or gardener. Therefore I do not need woodworking equipment, mechanics tools, or gardening tools. By my own definition of who I am, I only need musical instruments I can play, a camera that works, and a computer to write on. Everything else is superfluous and could be discarded.

Of course it isn’t that simply, but you get the idea and that is a good start. Eliminating equipment for hobbies I no longer pursued helped clean out my basement. It also helped in reducing the size of my library.

In the kitchen we had our good dishes and our everyday dishes, our good silver and our everyday stuff. The simple decision that we were good enough for the “good stuff” all the time allowed us to get rid of all the everyday day stuff and use the best stuff everyday. Our lifestyle went up and the clutter went down.

In my case at least, the accumulation of stuff was caused by the pursuit of different interests over time. I restored an old car and ended up with mechanics tools and car parts. Since I don’t even work on my own car anymore, I don’t either. Multiply that principle by twenty and you get the idea.

Clarity of purpose and a clear understanding of who we are and what we want to do will go a long way in simplifying our lives. Staying focused on our calling and sharpening our passions will help eliminate the junk in the basement and garage.

God created us with a purpose. Satan’s plan is to keep us distracted with stuff to the point that we never get around to completing God's purpose.