Monday Prayer Practice: Decluttering

My dresser--Before

My dresser–Before

My dresser--After(Don't look in the mirror or off to the side. We're focusing on the dresser!)

My dresser–After
(Don’t look in the mirror or off to the side. We’re focusing on the dresser!)

Can decluttering be a spiritual practice?

I’m sure it can. But I’ll be honest, my decluttering efforts these days are spurred on more by anxiety than spiritual maturity.

My husband and I are hoping to buy a house on some acreage just out of town. He wants to have (more) chickens and gardens and fruit trees. I want to have a space in which I can offer retreats–day retreats soon and overnight accommodations eventually.

Barring an unexpected inheritance or lottery win, we will need to sell our current house if we want to buy a new house. And according to our real estate agent, we have to declutter and clean our house if we want anyone to buy it.

I realize my situation is extreme–most of you aren’t planning to move in the next few months. Still, many of you may be doing (or thinking about doing) some spring cleaning of your own.

Moving forward, I’m going to see if I can do what I have to do with more peace, gratitude, and awareness of God’s presence than I have been able to muster so far. And may you, also, find the holy in the messiness of your life.

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4 thoughts on “Monday Prayer Practice: Decluttering

  1. Joanna,

    I’ve found over the last year and a half that having a de-cluttered and peaceful house has definitely brought about a more peaceful spiritual life as well. A church friend introduced me to FLYLady.net, and I can’t recommend her system highly enough. She too talks about the spiritual peace that comes with a peaceful home environment.

  2. Moving can be a spiritual process. We were in a time crunch and had to declutter fast so we rented a small storage unit for fifty bucks a month. That gave me the luxury of not having to think too hard as I decluttered — if it wouldn’t help sell the house it went to the unit, if it expressed too much “personality” it went to the unit (per my realtor’s instructions). It’s amazing how much stuff fits in a small storage space. Once the stress of selling the house was over, time had passed and I unloaded the unit to take the stuff to the new house, I suddenly saw it all in a new light. Some things were like be reunited with old friends, and it was a delight to reclaim them and fully appreciate them. Others I recognized immediately as optional to my well being — they weren’t my personality, perhaps, but the person’s who gave them to me. I honored them. (Some people take pictures.) Then took them to the nonprofit thrift store where they might find new, more appreciative owners. If there’s a way to imitate this process without shelling out $50/month, it’s worth the revelations.

    Oh, and another thing. Buy a loaf of cinnamon bread. When the realty service calls to tell you that lookers are coming to your house, just make yourself a piece of toast and eat it on the way out the door. You don’t have to always be baking cookies. There’s a deep theological message contained therein, I’m sure.

    • I think cinnamon bread can be a deeply spiritual experience 🙂 And yes, the process is helping me get into more of a right relationship with my stuff. Such a slow process, though.

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