Confessions from a Cluttered Life
Ethical Trade Stories: Emily R.
If God cares about me this deeply, I believe with my whole heart that every little change I can make on my journey to a minimal and ethically purchased home will be so worth it.
Welp, the cat is out of the bag: I have a superpower. I cannot fly, see through buildings, or pick anything up that is heavier than my six-year-old son, but you know what I can do? I can find the yard sale signs. All of them. My mom started training me from the womb.
Over the years, my knack to spot the neon arrows, and the inexpensive treasures they led me to, also led to a knack to collect junk. As I grew and my faith developed, a desire for simplicity stirred. Then when I became a wife and mother, that desire did nothing but grow. There was a long time when my joy of finding a fun item for a screaming deal was at odds with the deep craving I had for simplicity.
I had too much stuff. How do you even go about decluttering entire decades? For me, it meant one drawer at a time. One drawer eventually became three, three became my guest bathroom, then my laundry room, kitchen, bedroom…and *gasp* my closet. Since I am committed to living debt free now, in an effort to be a better steward of the financial blessings my family receives, I realized all this stuff I was decluttering might be what someone else needs. So, I sold. I had multiple yard sales and at every single one, I was asked, “is this a multi-family sale?”
No, dear heart. This is the yard sale of a recovering hoarder.
While I may not have been worthy of my own episode on the show, it was a genuine problem. After we got rid of most of the clutter, I listed stuff in Facebook groups, and I committed to keeping new things out until I had a better grasp of our home.
Fast-forward a little and my house still needs organizing. My garage is completely full of construction materials and shoved to the side is all the remnants of our summer camping trip and the last three national holidays. Eventually, it will go back to its home. For now, I can rest knowing that I have stopped bringing things into my home. I only buy when we need. I walk away from a good deal knowing that a better one for my family will pop up when we actually have a gap to fill.
I am not perfect and I still grab things we do not need, but buying used and repurposing things instead of purchasing new items (that I often do not know the origin of) is my ethical trade off. When I am tired of decor, I buy from a small business owner or artisan or I shop my own home and move things around. Now, I sew the shirt that has a tear instead of tossing it and buying something from the big box store; I paint furniture or upcycle it; I meal plan, so we do not waste as much food. We have a cash budget so we know exactly where our money is going and what is left. We have less in many ways now, and somehow, it feels like more.
Joy in Simplicity
God led our family to start in on our debt free journey and it provided me with the means and desire to reconcile my need for simplicity and my joy in the treasure hunt! Time after time, I have been overwhelmed with the way He has worked so many things that seem unrelated for my benefit. Little ol’ me. Isn’t that what it is all about? Caring for every little finger that sews our clothes or picks our crops…caring for their soul, dignity, and well-being. If God cares about me this deeply, I believe with my whole heart that every little change I can make on my journey to a minimal and ethically purchased home will be so worth it.