Written By: Kari Dickson

In 2014 I was at a breaking point. I was overwhelmed by all of my stuff, alongside my day-to-day responsibilities. My husband and I were stationed in Washington state and living in a huge military house on base. We had just taken in a 17-year-old girl, I was struggling with anxiety like never before, and we had just had a baby. Keeping up with that house and life became too much. Something had to change. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for something to happen if I know it’s within my control to change (this quality isn’t a good thing when it comes to waiting on the Lord: #learning). 

Now, this is where it gets crazy! I have to admit; I was really great at finding deals, excepting free stuff and holding on to things “just in case” I would need them someday. Do you have those kinds of items in your house? They had taken over every nook and cranny! At every duty station and every house move, things just kept building up. In this particular house, we had a kitchen with 43 cabinets, and every single one was full (the biggest kitchen I’ve ever had). We had closets in every room…full. We had tons of storage in the garage…full. I couldn’t stand it! So we did something that many people thought was crazy (and it kind of was). We sold everything. No, I mean it – Everything! Then we bought a 5th Wheel, moved out of that house, and onto a campground. We lived in that 5th Wheel for 4 1/2 years. Eventually, I still managed to fill every nook and cranny of that camper. Still, it was a whole lot less to maintain. I learned how to emotionally detach from things, to be realistic with what we actually needed, and how to get out of the perfection mindset that everything in my house had to be and look perfect (no Better Homes and Gardens for me). Are any of these mindsets far too familiar for you? 

Everything we allow into our lives carries a weight of time and responsibility. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and overworked. We live in a society that pushes more, more, more, perfect, perfect, perfect, and faster, faster, faster. This creates unneeded and unwanted anxiety and even fear as we try to keep up with it all. Anxiety is the result because we aren’t capable of managing it all, and we always feel like we’re falling behind somewhere. Fear is the result when it seems like it will never stop! Every one of our situations is different; even our tolerance of our stuff and schedules is different. But our mindsets should be the same: What is it God wants me to have in my life? Have I added so much to my plate that I no longer have time, energy, or mental capacity for what God has deemed most important in my life? Where is my focus, and where have I been distracted?

Paul says it best in Philippians. 

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

I don’t want the material things of this word to distract me away from what is most important. I want to be content in whatever circumstances I am in and not always in a “want” mindset. I am far from perfect at this. But as I draw closer to God through prayer and reading the Bible, grasp the sacrifice of Jesus more, and better understand the frailty of life, I learn to be more content with less and happy with all I have and all that I’m a part of. I’ve learned that in moments of anxiety, worry, or stress that I need to give thanks to God for all that He has already given me and down for me. I’ve learned to ask God to show me how to move forward through prayer. I’ve learned to listen and wait on the Holy Spirit to prompt me whether to stay put or where to move next. If you open your Bible, you will see that this is the mindset of Paul in the same breath. In the same chapter is a verse you might have heard before:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

I urge you to reflect on your mindset. Are you content? Or are you always left wanting more? Maybe you have already realized that you have too much stuff and want less. It’s time to learn how to detach, let go, and move on. You won’t miss the “stuff” like you think you will. As a matter of fact, in a few weeks after getting rid of all that “stuff” you’ll hardly remember what you got rid of, and you’ll gain mental rest from not having it anymore. You’ll also gain time to spend with God and others. I’m not saying move into a 5th wheel like we did. There were a lot of flaws with that whole scenario that weren’t well thought out, including a huge chunk of debt we incurred buying that thing! Instead, I urge you to open that closet, clean out that shed, throw out those broken things, and donate those unused items. Take one nook and cranny at a time. Free your house and life of the weight. Most importantly, seek first His kingdom through it all. You’ll gain far more from doing that above all else. 

Tips for successful decluttering:

  • Ask a friend to help you. Friends aren’t emotionally attached to your items like you and can help you realize the reality of the need for that item.
  • If you haven’t used the item in 6 months, it’s likely time to let it go.
  • If you are prone to collecting kids’ artwork or other sentimental items that are just stored and not displayed, keep only a couple of items and take a picture of the others. 
  • Start somewhere small—the basket on the counter, that drawer, the corner cabinet, the small closet. Don’t tackle larger areas unless you have reinforcements, or you’ll burn yourself out soon after you’ve started. 
  • Keep a revolving “let go” box out in your house that items you come across periodically can go in until you have a box full to donate. 
  • Before you buy an item, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” or “Do I already have a similar item or something that would work as a substitute?”. Give your creative side a chance to use what you already have before buying something else. You might find it more satisfying than buying something new. 

Here is a website with some additional recommendations:


Written By: Kari Dickson