|Image from: The Seasoned Homemaker|
I love containers, bags and storage systems. I long for a clutter free house, but haven't quite achieved it. I am learning to break some old habits and learn some new.
Today, I am continuing my list of things I want to accomplish this summer. Things I don't want to delay, as summer is ticking swiftly away.
The goal of living more with less is not an instant fix. It requires letting go of things that are unused or rarely used and not refilling the space when it is empty. My biggest challenge is grocery. I fall into the "stock up and save" trap, but if I don't need it, it can be wasteful.
I'm grateful for alphabetical order that helps me do a quick check of veggies (and cabinet spices on a good day) on the shelf. Plastic totes and storage room shelves make such a difference for organizing.
I love that my Randy notices when I have taken on a "stuff" reducing project. I am glad he understands that my art supplies are precious.
In the end, stuff is meaningless. It is how we lived, shared, offered hospitality and stretched what we do have that makes a life full.
These words of Solomon have been swirling in my head after a fabulous evening that included the delightful Debbie Rudin. She mentioned this scripture in passing. I think I have neglected it because it feels shocking and is hard to explain. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (ESV)
Let's look at a few more translations:
These are the words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” (NLT)
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (NIV)
The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive.
In other words, so much of what this world offers has very little eternal value. We work, we get stuff. We die. our children have no idea why we collected so much junk and rent a dumpster.
I think King Solomon nailed it. I think he came to this conclusion after he was granted great wisdom that led to unequalled wealth and fame.
His stuff didn't buy him happiness. Only when he was walking closely with God did he experience peace and joy.
Our days were designed to be full of meaning in relationships. Back to my favorite capsule description of what God desires. "Love Him like crazy." and "Love our neighbors... all of them." That is what brings a life to fullness and adds the meaning.
One quick note. I have smart friends. My friend Dana just shared this idea at the holidays regarding the challenges of kids not needing more stuff when the holidays roll around. They try to gift their children with "experiences". Experiences build relationships and memories and help youth explore what interests them. How smart is that? It is not meaningless. It will be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
Today, is a good day to purge some stuff and rethink some clutter control. If it is shoved in the back of a cabinet, do I need it? Can I throw it out and make space for something on the counter I use all the time? Maybe.
Today, I am grateful for clutter control aides.