The Only Thing I’m Collecting is Dust

From teddy bears to teapots, Precious Moments to precious china, this old bird is cleaning her nest and I’m leaving those magpie tendencies in the past.

I’m not sure why it happens, always.  Sometimes we go through these phases of “ooooo” and “awwww”, and we can’t resist a cute face or a pretty piece of porcelain.

What’s kind of funny is that it happened more often when I couldn’t really afford a luxury than when I could…

Some of the early beginnings of collecting things simply started because I would say how much I liked something and it instantly became an easy go-to gift for my family.  We all know how that gets started…

This recent, and hopefully final move (until a nursing home or my heavenly home), has brought me full-scale into the SIMPLIFY mode.  Those who know me well know that I’m a constant purge-er.  It quite possibly comes from having smaller living quarters early in marriage, where I very much craved s-p-a-c-e.  Most want to fill every space that they have, but I tend to be the opposite.

If it’s too full, it’s too much.

Here is my go-to list for getting rid of clutter:

1) Does it have a place?   Can it be neatly put away and easily found the next time you need it?

2) Will I actually use it/wear it?     Not , “maybe sometime within the next 5 years”, but within the next 6 months or at least the next time this season comes around. (particularly seasonal clothing)

3) Does someone need it more than I do?   Sometimes it is a matter of Christian charity.  I have been blessed with more than I need… there are others who might greatly benefit from my excess.

4) Can I live without it?    “YES!”  Spending time in a third world country, God has gloriously changed my perspective on stuff.   While I am not planning to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, I can still take stock of what I’ve accumulated and use good stewardship of my resources.

In most cases, there is no question.  We know we should get rid of it, we’ve just put it off for so long that don’t know where to start.

JUST START SOMEWHERE.  If you’re like me, once you get started, there’s no stopping–and my family will testify that sometimes I go a little overboard, but the truth is,


It is such a relief to get the job done, but it also feels good to know that in some instances, I am actually benefitting someone else.

I am not trying to be negative here or place guilt.  Don’t get me wrong on this point:  I am very grateful for material blessings.  But that is exactly what they are.  Material.  Rags.  Stuff.  And a healthy perspective will help keep you focused on the things that really matter.

Matthew 6.21

There is still room in my cedar chest for memories–and I still have Rubbermaids that are full of pictures that need to be sorted, but those little treasures are sacred, in a way.  Some are things that time has forgotten, but that I will cling to when my memory is long gone.  These pieces of my heart that are gaining value and becoming even more precious as time rushes by, and the moments lived are captured to keep us smiling and remembering.

Oh, and the dust I’m collecting?  It’s there because I would rather spend precious time reading books to my grandbabies or playing board games with my family–and those dusty ceiling fans can wait another day…

And, if you happen to have room for one more print, feel free to add Matthew 6 to your gallery.  You can download and save it in high-resolution here:  TREASURE

By the way, I throw very little away.  I donate, share or consign.  You can read more about SIMPLIFYING here:  Purging With Purpose.

He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15


7 replies »

  1. Thanks for this post! My husband and I are preparing to move into a bigger house and I do not want to fall into a mindset of “bigger space = room for more stuff!” Somewhat surprisingly, I’m the purger and he’s the one who wants to hang on to commemorative Coke bottles, old flags, and ticket stubs. I may have to share the idea of sharing material wealth with others as a type of service with him. 🙂


  2. My husband and I spent the day cleaning out our home office. The space feels so much better! When I simplify and clean out the clutter in our home I feel it clears my mind also. We really collect so much over the years and most of it we don’t need. Its always good to clean it out.


  3. I like your idea! I need to do a little cleaning too. I love your idea about consigning and donating, I do the same thing. I’ve never consigned though.


  4. Yes! I think about the stuff we don’t use – but have – in terms of the time I spend dusting around it, too. Then, instead of feeling like a valuable item — it actually causes more work and reminds it is just stuff. And there are so many more valuable things to do with my time than dust.


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