I entered my daughter’s room to open her window and slipped on a book on the floor, causing me to bruise not only my bottom, but also my pride. After reminding my daughter several times about cleaning her room and taking care of her things, I had had enough. In a fit of frustration, I grabbed a nearby roll of garbage bags, and shoved broken pieces of toys, dirty clothes and dusty stuffed animals into them. After two hours of cleaning, her plush beige rug finally emerged from underneath her endless piles of toys and stuffed animals. Admiring my work, one thought came to my mind:
Where did all of this stuff come from?
As Americans, we accumulate a lot of stuff. Before we even realize it, our closets are stuffed with once desired articles of clothing, soon tossed and thrown in a heap on the floor. Uneaten food gets shoved in the back of our cabinets to make room for the new food we have purchased.
Perhaps this is what Jesus means when he says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:18-21 NIV).”
The things we eagerly desire one day can end up in our trash cans the next day. The best way to simplify our lives is to resist the urge to buy things we don’t need and unburden ourselves from the many “extras” weighing us down.
Do you want to tame the monster of consumerism before it conquers you? Here are some tips to help you simplify your life, and help you enjoy what you have:
Have a yard sale: Go through each closet and get rid of items you have not used in more than six months. Make a goal to go through one closet or room a week. Have a yard sale and get paid for your hard work!
Donate: www.dressforsuccess.org allows you to donate dresses, suit jackets and business suits for disadvantaged women to use during a job interview. Donate your used books and school supplies to www.booksforafrica.org for underprivileged children to have supplies for school. www.childsplaycharity.org fills bags full of new toys and games to entertain sick children during their long hospital stay. For more ideas, check out http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/money/donate-items-to-charity/.
Consume your consumables: Vow to use all of your existing perishable and non- perishable food items before making another trip to the grocery store. You’ll be amazed not only at how long you can live off of the items you already have but how much money is left in your wallet at the end of the week as well.
Create a Craigslist bulletin board: Most churches have bulletin boards that adorn their main entryway or gathering place. Why not post a list of needs and a place of items available to meet those needs? This is a great way to match people’s needs with other people’s unwanted items. What a great way to help those in need and clean out your home at the same time.
You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter weighing you down in your home. However, if you follow these few easy steps, you can free yourself from your materialism and tame the monster of consumerism for good.