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Tidying Up and Minimalism


Photo by Noah Näf on Unsplash

Minimalism is a hot topic these days.

My MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group recently had a discussion on minimalism and it was one of the most engaged meetings we have had in a long time.

What gives?

Well, thanks to Marie Kondo we now have The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up at our fingertips on Netflix. I still remember watching Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls driving herself into a frenzy deciding what “sparked joy” for her as her daughter Laurelai (Where my GG fans at?!) urged her to STOP tidying up and start focusing on some deeper issues.

Why do I stockpile things?

The truth is, I love to tidy up but I am not a tidy person. Yep, I said it. Maybe you resonate with this. Let me put it this way- I am a recovering hoarder/ messy girl. For MANY years I embraced my inner 7 enneagram before enneagram was a THING. I knew I was a creative, an adventurer, a procrastinator, and someone who worked best on the fly. That was me. Everything I worked in looked life a hot mess… but it was MY hot mess and I knew how to navigate it. How dare you move my paper pile before asking me… my letter to Congress was paper number five under the top three manila folders.

Ridiculous, right?

I will never forget the time I was outed. My boss needed to borrow the company car. And guess what was sitting right there in the cup holder.

An old banana peel…. DAYS old. Cringe. I think back and want to cry. But my twenty year old spirit didn’t know how to do the simple things with so many “big” things spinning in my mind. Like march that butt over to the trash and throw away my rotting banana peel.

Growing up

I am now in my thirties with two kids of my own and I realize I have a deeper issue to confront. It is totally ok to be an adventurer and a creative, but I need to reverse some terrible habits I have accumulated. The biggest issue for me is not about what sparks joy, but how do I take care of what God has given me. Stewardship over happiness. Stewardship in time leads to joy. This isn’t all about me. Thanks be to God that He has given me so many great blessings. How do I care for these things?

Glory to God

In the midst of tidying up my home, I have turned to the Lord to help me find my flow. It is truly less about me finding more joy and more about me trusting God. Do I really need ten pairs of the same types of shoes to live a good and productive life? Um, no. Let’s donate some of those and think about other ways to spend my money on things that matter. Hint- I am clearly NOT a shoe girl. Purging my jackets has been a serious difficulty for me.

In the end, trusting God leads to me desiring to create a cozy and simple home for myself and my family. Trusting God allows me to wait patiently on Him to provide our needs rather than run to debt or crazy sales to get more. When I steward the things I have well I am not focused on accumulating more, I have plenty to take care of.

What is minimalism, anyways?

When asked what is minimalism, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist says “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”

Wow. What a great idea. As a Christian, wouldn’t my promotion of my relationship with Christ be my number one motivation? Of course. So, minimalism has less to do with THINGS and more to do with the condition of my heart.

This thought is incredibly freeing when I decide to Marie Kondo my closet. In the end, this is a privilege and not a hindrance, and every Good and Perfect Gift comes from the Father above.

Where is true joy found?

Psalm 33:20-22 

20 We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.

To my messy, untidy friends on a journey of undoing habits like me: don’t give up. The Lord is where we find our ultimate hope, and every step towards stewardship of his belongings should bring us peace and joy. It is less in the things and more in Him.

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