When Less Turns Into More

by | Nov 19, 2015 | personal journey

I stood there in my kitchen in disbelief. How did this happen? It was so subtle. So elusive. I was consciously unaware of the hold it had on me. Until that moment when it was if the scales fell from my eyes.

Our possessions were controlling my life.

Here I was reorganizing our cupboards one more time, trying to make everything fit. It was a game I played every few months of piecing, stacking, getting creative with any available space. And it was exhausting.

I realized we had accumulated too much “stuff.”

“Stuff” was robbing me of my joy.

How in the world did we get here? How and why did we think we needed all of this? Who said it was okay to have this much stuff? Who needs five ice creams scoops anyway?

I didn’t have any answers, but I knew the solution:  To purge, to declutter, to free myself of the trap our possessions had me in.

Drawer by drawer. Closet by closet. Room by room. If we didn’t use the item recently, or if it didn’t bring me joy, it was placed in a separate box. That box went to places where these items could bless another and be put to use.

I can’t begin to explain the freeing feeling it gave me to let go of the extra, and begin to live with less.

Our less turned into more… and my joy returned.

I also decided that year I would try something. I wanted to see how long I could go without purchasing anything extra for myself… clothing, accessories, little extras, etc.

Did I really need one more sweater? Weren’t the ones in my closet enough? What about a new pair of earrings? Didn’t I already own enough? Did I really need one more pair?

One month turned into two, then two turned into four. This challenge was harder than I thought it would be, especially at first. But I kept asking myself hard questions (like above), and the answer always came back as, “I don’t need it.”

Six months passed, and I crossed over into a new way of living. It was then I found I had broken a cycle of entrapment I didn’t even know I was in. I had been entrenched in an addiction–an addiction of purchasing “stuff”–and closing its door was life-transforming.

I was free.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.” Luke 12:15 NIRV

Life is not made up of how much a person has. Amen! Your worth and mine isn’t in our stuff. Our worth is found in Jesus.

I ended up purchasing a dress for myself after the 13-month mark in my challenge. But, that purchase wasn’t easy to make, as I was living in freedom from my “stuff.” What a change in behavior! I can’t say I really needed that dress, but it was for a new job back then, and so I justified it in that way.

This world entices us to have more and we’ll be more. But I found the opposite to be true.

Have less be more

Have less and be more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this today. I pray this isn’t an area you’ve found a struggle in, but if you have, how have you dealt with it? How do you see your possessions? What piece of advice can you give from your perspective?

I appreciate this space where we can be real and honest with each other. Thanks for stopping by for a few minutes today.

Much love to you!

Julie

 

It’s a joy to link this post with Suzie Eller and friends for #livefreeThursday.

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8 Comments

  1. Susan Shipe

    GREAT POST. Everyone has been on the de-cluttering campaign. I try to do it monthly – how fast stupid things accumulate.

    Reply
    • Julie Lefebure

      I’m glad we can encourage each other in this. It’s silly how fast things accumulate! Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

      Reply
  2. Betsy de Cruz

    Beautiful post here, Julie! What a challenge! I’m sure many of us could use a similar one. I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to the kitchen, but it’s easy for me to have too many clothes. Last spring I pared down to a “capsule wardrobe,” just 40 or so items in your closet for one season, including dresses, blouses, pants, tshirts, etc. 40 items sounds like a lot, but once you start counting, it’s not! I found it freeing to only have things I loved and that fit in my closet.

    So easy for us to step over the line and let our stuff own us!

    Reply
    • Julie Lefebure

      That’s a great idea, Betsy. It is freeing to only have clothing in our closets that we enjoy. I need to purge mine again one of these days. I appreciate your suggestion! Thanks for being here, friend!

      Reply
  3. Cindy

    I am a memory hoarder! Over the years I have clung to pictures, drawings, cards, letters, and on and on. On top of that my teacher’s mentality said don’t throw anything away you might need it! Now, we are planning to move and I am determined to unburden my closets, my shelves, my rooms, myself of unnecessary stuff. I am trying to learn the memories are not in the stuff but in my heart. It is going to be a challenge for me. No doubt tears will be shed. But I am determined and your post has reinforced the importance of having less so I can be more. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Julie Lefebure

      Cindy, thank you for sharing here. My heart goes out to you in this, but you are right… your memories aren’t in your stuff but in your heart. Great perspective. That will help you in the process of going through things. I will pray for you as well. May God give you great joy in going through things, but peace as you free yourself. Bless you!!

      Reply
  4. Kim

    Being a person who despises shopping, I don’t have this particular problem. But, that is exactly why this time of year is a challenge for me. I get gifts that I don’t really need and have to find a home for. A few years ago I suggested we only exchange gifts among the kids. And? That did not go over well at all. So, I am also purchasing and giving things nobody else really needs either. It drives me crazy! But, yes, even I could benefit from decluttering and organizing.

    Reply
    • Julie Lefebure

      Kim, my brothers and I were just talking about this exact thing. In my family the kids under 18 years old only exchange gifts. The adults don’t, because it would be just like what you wrote. That’s frustrating, and I’m sorry you’re experiencing that. I’ll be praying God blesses you with joy in the process. Thank you for sharing, friend. I appreciate you!

      Reply

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