Transient trappings of the 20’s and stuff, stuff, stuff.

My husband and I are getting ready to move into a new place in a new state AGAIN in the next couple of weeks.

This is an awesome change and answered prayer after many years of hard work and shuffling ourselves around from place to place. In the past eight years Nick has lived in ten different towns within five different states. I have moved around between nine different towns within two states and three countries. As I look back at all our changes together – all the trials of long distance, growing up through our 20’s, learning to love each other and know one another better through it all and still pursuing our own passions – I’m amazed. I know it’s all because of the grace of God, some hearty will power and the awesome support of caring family and friends that we’ve survived all of our adventures together and lived to tell about it!

Another key component keeping us grounded through all the shifting is our mutual desire for a minimalist lifestyle and less clutter in our lives.

When you’re moving around from place to place, the quantity and usefulness of your things are pondered more frequently.

Do I really need to take that with me?

Should I pack this up or toss it?

Could someone else use this instead?

Where did this even come from?

How many UPO’s does one couple need? (Unidentified Plastic Objects – you know you have one or some in your home.)

I’ve heard many friends say that once you lay down roots and have your own place the accumulation of “stuff” becomes inevitable. And when kids are thrown into the mix forgetabout it. Junk and household items will multiply faster than the fish and loaves among the 5,000.

Why is it so easy to accumulate?

I have to say the only answer I have come up with is because we’re unwilling to purge. We’re not ready to let go or give things up. We don’t spend time in organization, thought, planning and cleansing. 

Lack of time-management or stuff-management is the reason stress builds up. This is the reason the dishes pile up. It’s the reason your e-mail inbox fills up with bold-faced alerts. It’s the reason frustration builds up in relationship. It’s the reason worry builds up when we’re not in prayer.

If we spend no time in our out-put and planning, our in-put will inevitably be all-consuming and cumbersome, manifesting in too much stuff, too much stress, too much work –  too much, too much, too much.

Our latest move to Cape Cod was a successful purge process. We packed up a studio-apartment sized U-Haul and moved all our things in one day, leaving piles of junk and throw-away items behind.

Once our items were in our new place, though, the size of our possession pile compared to our tiny domicile was amazing. I thought, “How could we have shed so much, yet still own so much?”

Our new apartment that is waiting for us is nearly three times as big as our current place and the extra space is exciting, yet daunting for practicing minimalists.

Extra space always whispers the tempting little words – “Fill me.”

Instead, I’ll plan on keeping clean corners and bright rooms.

Breathing space and room to stretch.

Less time for cleaning and organizing.

More time for love and dreams to come.

That sounds a whole lot more fulfilling to me.


Driving off into the horizon during our last move from PA to MA back in March.

Matthew 6:19-20 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.

Tips to ditch some inanimate trappings if you’re feeling the urge to purge:

1. Designate one day a week as a “Stuff Cleanse Day” and donate or throw away an item that you no longer use or need. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll find in your medicine cabinet alone.

2. If you go on a shopping trip and make a new purchase, bring it home and find another item you can give away in its place.

3. Minimalist Rule of Thumb: If you have not used it within a year, get rid of it. No excuses. If an item is not worthy of sight or touch within 365 days, you probably don’t need it.

4. Have a virtual yard sale. Use Facebook, e-mail, E-bay or Craigslist to make a buck off of your unnecessary home goods.

5. Ask yourself three questions: Do I love it? Is it useful? Is it sentimental to my life?



4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I was so amused reading your blog because I can relate. I move around very often, with the two children, the husband and the dog. I LOVE to throw things away, but when you have your kids death gripping their old toy from 3 years old cause they “might want to give it to their kid” one day (that is the bright argument my son uses, lol) I find myself becoming a mastermind ninja who makes things “disappear” so that I can stay sane in a nice clean space. Despite my efforts to minimize, I still seem to fill every closet, every shelf, and every space under the bed. Your blog was refreshing, and made me realize there is an approach I haven’t tried with my family. Helping them see that there are others that don’t have what they have, and maybe they’d like to spread the wealth. I hope that works…keep me in prayer. :p

Comment by Daidree

Hahaha I love it. This reminds me of a conversation I had recently with my sister on “guilt” with throwing out/donating excess toys (much like a secret ninja, like you said.) Mommas got to declutter and stay sane, too! prayers for you. it’s an ongoing process 🙂 xo

Comment by simplyenjoy

Yes I can attest to junk. I feel like a groundhog pushing stuff out and someone keep filling in my hole. I love you Stephanie, and am glad that you see the wisdom in living simply. We held her today. She is beautiful.

Comment by John

Wax on. Wax off. 🙂 Can’t wait to visit and hold her!

Comment by simplyenjoy

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