With all due respect to Marie Kondo, it takes more than decluttering our house to live a simple, unencumbered life: it takes a renovation of not just our home, but our heart. Keeping what brings us joy, and then giving thanks for the rest before tossing it out sounds great. But there’s something deeper going on here, I’m sure about that.
I know what it’s like to have too much. Upon moving out of a van back into a home, I was assaulted with boxes and boxes of stuff that had been stored away out of sight. Confronted with the process of sorting through over 200 packing boxes of possessions, I felt physically sick. Can’t I just shove it all back somewhere and forget about the lot? No, this is going to hurt real bad but it has to be done. Slowly, methodically and with two thoughts at the forefront of my mind: Is it necessary? Will this item simplify my life? I began the mammoth sorting and tossing process. In most cases, the item could go. If I’ve lived in a caravan for the past 7 months without it, why do I suddenly need it now?
However, the real issue at play here with the stuff I’m tossing is, why did I gather it in the first place? Marie never talks about that. Simplifying our life has to begin within. Our thoughts and beliefs are the engine room of our actions. If I believe I need it, I’ll buy it. If I think it will make life easier, make me look better, clever, or stronger, the money is out of my wallet and into someone else’s before I know it. There is a dependence-thing happening here. I am depending upon this item to make me or more lifestyle more than it already is. Isn’t that a right belief? Wrong.
Stuff will never do that for us. That’s why we get bored with it, forget about it and eventually stash it away in a cupboard for the moths and roaches to devour. We need far more than things to satisfy our deep longing for significance. We need something far simpler than that and yet far greater too.
Inner decluttering is about depending on Someone else, the Divine Himself, to meet our needs. I can only live simply when I decide to release my insatiable desire for stuff and depend upon God to show me what is and isn’t necessary. And He has been showing me that a lot of what I’ve got in those 200 packing boxes is not necessary at all. Owning it is about a false belief that it will satisfy. But it never does – only knowing God does that.
When we clean out our heart first, that is, our belief that a purchase makes me matter, then external declutter begins and remains. Life becomes a whole lot more simpler and we enjoy just what we have rather than craving more. Our identity is not in what we own, but Who we know. Marie, the external decluttering extraordinaire, won’t tell you that, yet that’s what we really need to know.