Devotional

Tips for Decluttering Your Home and Your Heart

This week around the farmhouse, we are doing less renovating and more cleaning, decluttering, and organizing. After our last move, we were so ridiculously busy that we never really got around to sorting our belongings.

We had accumulated stuff over the years that we no longer needed or wanted. A lot of the items were worn, broken, or outdated and we no longer found them useful. As a matter of fact, many of the items were simply in the way and a few were even dangerous.

Since we moved into the farmhouse several months ago, we have spent lots of time posting and selling things online. We have made a well-worn path to the local donation drop-offs, not to mention the many bags of trash we put by the road each week!

We have rid ourselves of everything from a spare microwave, end tables, and a broken down lawn mower, to books, knick knacks, shelving, tools, and clothing.

I am not a minimalist, but I do hate clutter. I do not like having stuff on every surface and in every nook and cranny of our house and property. Organized closets, clear countertops and neat rooms make me happy. I feel more relaxed and less stressed when things are neat and orderly. It is easier to find what I need when everything is in its place. And cleaning the house is much easier when I do not have to move unnecessary things out of the way.

Decluttering Tips For Your Home

One of the simplest suggestions for decluttering that I have read is to label 3 baskets. Label each one to say either “put away”, “throw away”, or “give away”. As you move throughout your house, room by room, you put belongings into one of the three baskets.

If you are like me, you often let things pile up because you don’t really want to get rid of them, but you aren’t sure what to do with them either. Well, let me ask you the same questions I ask myself.

  • Put away – Is this an item you use? Is it a special keepsake that you just can’t part with? If so, then find a home for it and put it away!
  • Throw away – Is this item broken or missing parts? Is it worn out and faded? Is it so outdated that it is no longer useful to anyone? If you answered yes to any of those then THROW IT AWAY! NOW! PLEASE!
  • Give away – Is this something that is in good shape but no longer fits? Does it still look nice, but doesn’t fit your style anymore? Is it something you just don’t use, but could be used by someone else? If so, then either donate it to a local charity or resale shop, or offer it to a friend who might be able to use it.

Feel free to take these indoor decluttering tips outside to your garage, shed, barn, yard, etc. You will feel so much better ridding yourself of excess stuff! It will free you up to enjoy the things you love and use.

A Never Ending Job

In order to keep things clean and tidy, I must be constantly working to declutter and clean. I have found FlyLady to be a great source of motivation and practical ideas for getting my house in order. She offers practical decluttering and cleaning ideas as well as calendars and cleaning/decluttering plans.

Decluttering Your Heart

Cleaning up our farmhouse reminds me of how my heart needs some decluttering as well. Things tend to accumulate. I must continuously clean and declutter things out of my heart, or I will become overwhelmed by things that should not be there. I can accumulate bad habits, useless activities, and outright sin that will cause me to not be able to serve the Lord and live a godly Christian life that I should.

But where should I start? The mess and chaos seem overwhelming and it is tempting to just give up and not even try. However, the Bible is always the best starting point for living.

We must start with some basic Biblical truths about our lives.

  1. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  2. The penalty for sin is death. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death. . .”
  3. Jesus paid the penalty for us. Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  4. Believe and be saved. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Once we have accepted Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. We are basically the bodily home for Him. I Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

If the Holy Spirit is residing in me, just as I reside in my house, I need to keep myself clean and pure. I definitely need to do some decluttering. But where do I start? Let’s label some imaginary baskets for our hearts the same as we did for our house.

Put Away

Is this something you use and love? Then put it away in its proper place. What do I mean by that? Well, you can have some good things in your life, but they are in the wrong place. For example, are you reading a book when you should be doing laundry for your family? Are you having a picnic with your family when you should be at church worshipping with them? Are you working when you should be spending time with your family? You see, all these activities are good, but they can be in the wrong place. Declutter your heart by getting your priorities in order and putting your activities in their proper place. Solomon gives us some very specific examples of this in the following passage:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend , and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)

Throw Away

Are there things in your heart that are useless, broken, and of no good to anyone? Yes, I’m talking about sin. I am talking about those things that break God’s commandments and hurt yourself and others. The Bible gives us some very clear instructions about what we should throw away.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV) says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Colossians 3:8 (KJV) tells us, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

Proverbs 4:24 (ESV) also “Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.”

While these are the verses that specifically tell us to put things out of our lives, there are other passages that give us guidance on what displeases the Lord. Proverbs tell us some things that God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV) says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Studying God’s word will help us learn what to keep in our hearts and what to throw away!

Give Away

Do you have things in your life that are good, but you need to get rid of? Are you are involved in a ministry that is taking up too much of your time? Perhaps you are spending too much time at work and not with your family. You might feel overwhelmed by taking part in too many activities. If that is the case, give them away! Yes! You heard me correctly. There is certainly someone else who can do what you are doing. Let someone else take that extra shift at work or teach that Sunday School class. Ask another person to sit in the nursery, so you can hear a sermon more often. Cut back on that volunteer work you are doing so you can get more rest and spend time in God’s word.

If you are like me, you might tend to think that you have to do it all. You want to say yes to every opportunity. After all, who will do the job if you don’t? Let us not think of ourselves more highly that we ought to think! Do not fall into the trap of thinking that being busy equals being spiritual. Pray about each opportunity. Ask the Lord if He wants you to do the job. If not, ask Him to send someone else qualified to do it.

Pray About Decluttering

Whether you are decluttering your home or your heart, pray! Pray that God will reveal to you what you need to get rid of. Pray about what you should keep. Ask Him to help you prioritize both your house and your heart. May you seek to glorify God in both your heart and your home.

Wife, mom, grandma, and country girl. I am living by faith and encouraging others to do the same. I integrate faith, family and country living.

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