The Practice of “Declutter”

Author: Raymond Cheng

CreationCare120 Founding Member

Whether living in a house that hasn’t been renovated in years or moving into a new environment, most people will consider giving their home a new look. But renovating your home does require some driving force.

This summer, I was determined to remodel my home, forcing me to clear out household items that had been piling up for nearly three decades since we immigrated here.

The driving force comes from two aspects: one is the external force. For example, when family members and friends suggest bringing new inspiration to home design, they are more willing to help to clear out unneeded household items. They were a great help to me in completing this arduous “project” in one go. In addition, I have recently met new friends who have just come to Toronto, and I can share valuable materials and ideas with them. It could save them money, reduce waste, and contribute to environmental protection.

Another driving force is the individual’s willingness to pursue change and renewal in life, which is to overcome the so-called “declutter” challenge.

While packing, I store one item after another in the boxes. They are all seemingly of commemorative value.  A lot of them are documents and books. But then I should ask myself honestly if I still need these items in the future or if they still have value. Although some things seem valuable when put into the box, will I take them out again? This item does not need to be stored if the answer is no. Instead, I should find a new way to deal with it. For example, you may find some photos of precious memories you treasure every time you see them, but there are just too many. Then you will need to digitize it, and it is best to scan and keep the photos digitally. Otherwise, after owning it for another ten years, I am afraid I will no longer be able to organize them.

In addition, dealing with the struggles and stress caused by “cluttering” is the first step in learning to live a simple life. For example, we must clear out clothes, accessories, kitchen items, large furniture, life stages, and circumstances at different times. Christians need to know that we are indeed pilgrims in the world (1 Peter 2:11), just as one should not carry too many personal belongings on a trip. For example, when my family moved to my parents’ house three years ago, we tried to consolidate the household items of two families. And now, with the renovation, we are living a materially rich life, and what we have is more than enough. At the same time, I also observed that my thirst for material goods seriously tackled me.

Home renovation can help people to have a clearer understanding of the current condition of their material abundance. It is also an exercise of spiritual examination to experience the beauty of renewal and change. Therefore, not only the home environment needs renovation. The distracting thoughts, filthy thoughts, and inappropriate behaviors must clean up from time to time to make room for the words of God in our hearts and that the exercise of “decluttering” can lighten our spirits.