I have always appreciated and worked towards a clean house and everything in its place. Spring cleaning time came along and I would keep up with the cleaning and restore our home to a clean comfortable place. As time would have it since my husband passed away ten years ago, I haven’t cared so much. With nine children to homeschool in a five bedroom house, we accumulated a lot of stuff. Just stuff. Now I am moving across country and I have to put my house up for sale. What an eye opening experience. An awakening of sorts: I have too much stuff.
My daughter helped me by sending me the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo who is an expert declutterer and organizer helping those who are in the throes of cleaning. What she recommends is that we should envision what we acquire and keep with the thought of what evokes true joy in our life. She’s right. Americans pack away too much stuff in their house and this causes depression and affects our bodies living in these overcrowded areas. Detoxing your house also detoxes your emotions. It all makes sense but to get through all of that is another story.
Three months ago I decided the best thing for me to do after an unexpected crisis was to move to Arizona from Alabama. My oldest lives there with her family and I needed a change of scenery. Packing up an overstuffed house is very daunting. The real estate agent said in order for her to take pictures to list the house online, I had to get rid of most of what was in each room. Yikes. Referring back to that decluttering book became my cleaning bible. Within two weeks, I had to have everything in order and camera worthy. I had actually started the month before but it wasn’t enough. I had to do some major overhauling to really get rid of stuff. After 5 trips to the thrift store with my SUV completely loaded and a yard sale, it still wasn’t done.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to motivate ourselves. I have been living from month to month and year to year in my comfort zone of stuff. Now after cleaning all of my unnecessary belongings, I feel freer. The burden of stuff is lifted. I am happy to walk through the hallway, living room and kitchen to enjoy where I live.
As I drove back and forth to the thrift store, I had some thinking time and compared all of this to our own souls. We keep unnecessary burdens bundled up inside us because we are comfortable with them. As Captain Kirk said from The Final Frontier, “I need my pain; I don’t want it taken away.” Although I see his point how our experiences make us who we are, but prolonged pain and suffering from our foolish choices and sins will have a negative effect on our psyche.
Back in April of 2004, Bruce Hafen (my former Rick’s College President) said in a General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints: “We grow in two ways—removing negative weeds and cultivating positive flowers. The Savior’s grace blesses both parts—if we do our part. First and repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sin and bad choices. It isn’t enough just to mow the weeds. Yank them out by the roots, repenting fully to satisfy the conditions of mercy. But being forgiven is only part of our growth. We are not just paying a debt. Our purpose is to become celestial beings. So once we’ve cleared our heartland, we must continually plant, weed, and nourish the seeds of divine qualities.”
Becoming celestial beings requires us to declutter our soul. We need to get rid of all the ugliness, all of what is harmful to us, all the darkness. Then replace it with light and what is beautiful to our soul. Just like all the “stuff” I didn’t really need but was hanging onto, we can clear our souls and live happier lives.
We carry around so much negative baggage about ourselves. Don’t wait until a crisis to start the process of clearing emotional weeds and junk in your life. Start slowly now and work your way in as I did with my house. Life is much sweeter without all the physical and emotional clutter.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.