Moving Toward Minimalism in My Jewelry Box

I have way too much stuff. We all do. I’ve been asking these questions of myself in recent weeks:

Why do I have a jewelry box full of jewelry I haven’t seen in years?
Why is half of my closet full of clothes I never wear? 
Why do I still have boxes full of stuff from when we moved here two years ago, and even some boxes from when I moved out on my own over a decade ago? 
Why am I holding on to so much stuff that I never look at or use

Recently, I wrote about how I have been dreaming of minimalism after reading books and blogs and the Bible. In choosing to actually believe God on His view of earthly possessions and materialism, I began really evaluating what I have been keeping and why.

About a year ago, I did a serious purging of stuff that I no longer value, such as childhood collections, out-of-style clothes, et cetera. It felt great. We had a garage sale and turned a bunch of stuff that was needlessly crowding our home into capital that could be wisely invested. While I did get rid of a ton of stuff, I am recognizing a flaw in my approach to purging last time. All I asked myself was whether or not I liked or wanted each item I evaluated. This is a good place to start, but it’s incomplete.

Look back at my questions italicized above. My first one refers to my jewelry box. I didn’t get rid of any jewelry in my first purge. I like everything in my jewelry box; it’s all so pretty! So naturally, I didn’t even open it when I was looking for stuff to get rid of. Now, my jewelry box is where I have started.

I’m not even finished yet, but I have already identified 55 items to sell. Fifty-five!!! My questions to myself through this process have been:

  1. Do I wear this? If yes, keep it.
  2. If I don’t wear it, do I treasure it as an heirloom or for sentimental reasons? If yes, keep it.
  3. If I don’t wear it or treasure it, is there any compelling reason to keep it?

Generally, if I make it to question #3, the answer is no. There are lots of pretty items I’m getting rid of that I really like. There are pieces that I just might wear with one certain outfit for one yet unforeseen occasion in some future decade, but that’s not reason enough to keep it. I will still have plenty of versatile pieces left that are more than adequate for this purpose, and each of them will be pieces I really love and that really mean something to me.

And I mean really. Who needs jewelry anyway? Even if I had nothing but a wedding ring, it really wouldn’t matter at all. This was an easy and encouraging place to start moving toward minimalism!

Think about your home. If you were to embark on this journey, where do you think you would start?

Dreaming of Minimalism

I’m getting a little sick of it. All of it. All of this stuff. 

I read one time that starving people in other countries find it utterly unfathomable that Americans pay millions of dollars to lose weight. (By contrast, it is pretty astounding.) Similarly, I’ve paid particular attention recently to commercials promising to help overwhelmed people organize their clutter. So instead of turning all of this excess stuff into capital, or donating it to someone who needs it, or simply trashing the trash, how many Americans spend yet more money to help them cling to stuff they don’t need? I’m sure the millions of impoverished people of the world would also be dumbstruck to see some of our houses.

My discontentment started either with the misuse and abuse of Christmas, or with the reading of David Platt’s Radical. I can’t remember which was first, but it doesn’t matter. Either way, I’m here now, and I’m so saddened by the constant over-spending that surrounds me. Of course, I will not list the things that I find frivolous, because I’ll inevitably step on some toes that I love. And of course, you could easily point out things that I spend money on that you find frivolous, but that’s kind of my point. I’m just developing an awareness of my own excess.

So, I’m dreaming of minimalism. I’m reading minimalist blogs and mentally assessing my stuff and my spending and my gift-giving and gift-receiving, and I’m wondering about the why of every little thing. This is not a new concept, so I’m not really sure why I’m reading about how other people are living minimalist lives instead of simply reading the Bible, believing it, and obeying it. Two of the most straight-forward verses on this topic are:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 (emphasis added)

For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. ~Paul in 1 Timothy 6:7-9 (emphasis added)

There are others, but I don’t need them. This is an issue of whether I believe that Jesus meant what He said, and whether I believe that I will be held accountable for obedience to what He said. The simple fact is that He did mean it, and that I will be held accountable, but am I living like I believe it?

More soon.