You may be surprised to learn that some of the ideas in religion can help you control your home and your possessions.”Blessed are the poor in spirit” is part of the Sermon on the Mount but also Jesus said to the rich young man to give away all his physical possessions
I don’t think we can give away all our possessions if we live here in 2017 but we can certainly give some of them away. It will help the poor ,as I said when I gave away my winter coat that someone else will be glad of it.The fewer possessions we have the less storage space we need and also it will save time in caring for these possessions and give us time for creativity, meditation and fun
Before we start on creating more storage space or tidying up what we have it is sensible to look at our possessions and see if we have duplicates or just too many things. I have got too much cutlery now. Before you give away possessions that you once needed for entertaining, show yourself some mercy because you may be sad over the fact that you can no longer entertain people in the way that you used to do.
You may find that you have a lot of maps and guidebooks about places where you used to holiday and it may be just as well to give these away. and likewise, if you are retired you may be able to give away books or other possessions relating to your job [if you are fortunate enough to have had that kind of job.]
Little by little wander through your rooms thinking the unthinkable. Have you got broken lamps or broken electrical goods that you intended to have repaired but you never did? I decided to make some images with my camera which of these broken objects as a project of images which symbolise that we will never be other than broken as people ; that we will never be perfect .When I have finished this project I will give away these objects or put them into recycling
If it’s possible to get rid of a lot of your things unit you may not need as much extra storage space as you think
Do think you why you might need more storage space? I was a teacher and an ardent learner of new ideas I would tend to buy books without thinking if I had space for them. now I need to reconsider getting more bookshelves or getting rid of books.
If you have acquired a lot of clothing because your size has changed then you may want to rationalise your wardrobe. See you what you wear over a period of a month and then look what you haven’t worn and consider it.You can donate to a charity shop where other people will be very glad to get it. At one time people never wore second-hand shoes unless they were very poor but now that many of us have got a lots of shoes some may not be worn and can be given away if you for no longer wear heels or fashion shoes . the remainder you will have to take to the recycling centre
Of course these activities are going to take time and if you have visitors to your home while you are in the middle of this rationalisation do not be surprised if they pass rude remarks about your entire house because doing this kind of work will initially create more and chaos as you stack the clothes and books and put them into suitable heavy duty bags
It’s a bit like having psychotherapy. I imagine that at the beginning you reveal many painful feelings and you may feel worse than you did but hopefully with the aid and support of the therapist you will learn how to deal with these feelings better than you did before so in the end, we hope that we will feel better after going through this process but when we’re in the middle of such things or when we are in the middle of grieving and mourning we do not believe things will get better in time
Fortunately getting rid of some possessions is not as painful as grieving for the death of your mother.
I believe it is better not to criticise oneself for having been too extravagant or wasteful. We must be kind to ourselves because it is painful enough getting rid of possessions without beratinging ourself at the same time. We are only human and then in a consumer society, it is sometimes hard to resist buying things that we do not really need. If you decided when you were 21 never to buy anything that you didn’ really need then of course you wouldn’t have this problem of givingthings away
After you have given away as much as you can from the first room that you are tidying then you may need to consider whether you need to need an extra storage for what remains. It may be that you can put some of them into storage that already exists in another room. I have a lot of storage in my dining room but I don’t turn to working there so much now partly because it’s facing East and the sun is too bright in the morning but I can still use the shelves to store my books which are now in the sitting room .I t would make sense to make one room always ready for having a friend round or simply to go into in the evening to listen to music and relax no longer irritateded by the books in heaps
Photo by Mike Flemming
What do you plan to use your house for?
It is sensible to think about what activities you may want to use your home for. If you want to have people to stay with you then you need to consider if you have a spare bedroom is it suitable for having a someone sleeping in there? This may sound silly but I have got a lot of things on my spare bed which I have not yet had time to sort out. but if it’s a priority to have relatives to stay then sorting that out might be very important. but probably what is more important for most of those is having people round for a meal in which case you will need to clear all the things that you leave on the table and make sure you have the dining chairs available. I sometimes take them into the other room.
Then, of course, you need somewhere for people to sit down in the sitting room that seems obvious. If you’re like me you may use one of the arm chairs for keeping things on that you need while you are working like your diary your phone, your camera , your sketch pad and so on. In this case, it might be wise to have a bag which does not look like a garbage bag into which you can put these things if someone comes to call but at the very minimum, you should have one chair clear all the time and ideally a sofa.;my poor husband used to throw his coat and his possession Sofa when he came home ;that needs thinking about where you do put the things like your coat, briefcase, handbag and so when you come into the house from a trip or from work throwing things onto the sofa pust a sofa out of use and will need somebody to move the things elsewhere. Wouldn’t it be better not to put them on the sofa in the first place?
You can buy attractive looking over the door hooks wish you could put on the back of the dining room door or the kitchen door if you don’t have enough room for hall storage and it’s also somewhere you can hang visitors coats as well temporarily. There are also useful for temporarily hanging clothes that you have just ironed if you still do iron your clothesI hear that if you dry your clothes in a electric clothes dryer or tumble dryer you may not need to iron them but I do not possess these. if you slightly disabled it is quite possible to iron while sitting down and if you are not too tired if it’s quite soothing why I might almost call it meditation. knitting can also be a soothing activity as long as you don’t mind undoing it from time to time when you notice that you have made a mistake
I remember someone , possibly Edison saying, I have not failed 150 times I have experimented in 150 different ways and I believe that trying and failing is simply the way we get to know the problem better ; if we do everything right the first time we do not learn as much. Vision and perception are crucial in solving problems or in creation. True perception takes time. it is not instant.And we make mistakes which we learn from
I read a book that said that you only need one sheet and one duvet cover for your bed because you can take them off in the morning put them into the washer dryer and then put them back on in the evening and so you will not need a cupboard full of sheets etc. Well that might be alright but I think I’m like one spare set. if you have children or if you have an older person he may suffer the odd leakage then you certainly more than one set of bedding. but remember to check it every year because it is easy to forget what we have in the airing cupboard or the wardrobe and then to buy more without realising it is unnecessary.
What is the minimum amount of spare bedding that you can live with? one of my friends sleeps in a sleeping bag and the bag can go into the washing machine and the dryer or you can use a sleeping bag liner made of fleece which dries very quickly
if you collect a lot of knick knacks then charity shops do like that sort of thing so put it into a bag and I bring joy to someone else’s heart
We never had many knick knacks in my home as a child but my husband’s family did and do so my house is similar to theirs. I have a lot of seashells and other interesting objects which I used to use when I was going to art classes
I suppose that if you ever do any dusting or wiping surfaces down that is a good time to look at your little objects and ask yourself if you could live without them. I plan to do that starting today. if you find it difficult to stand up for very long because of arthritis put a chair near the table or surface you want to clear and then you can concentrate on what you are doing without being overwhelmed by pain. I have got a shopping trolley which can also be used as a seat and I keep it in the kitchen or you can buy cheap folding chairs that you can carry around easily and put it next to the place you want to sort out.
if you don’t have a car, ask to your friends to take your bags to the charity shop or find it a charity shop which does collection this I have found one a few miles away which is raising money for children’s cancer research and I tend to call them to come and collect things which are in good condition so that they can sell them in their shop. the British Heart Foundation or even collect furniture and I think the Salvation Army also will take things like blankets on larger objects and if you tell yourself while you are giving the things away to think about the people who are going to receive them it will help you not to be sad but you can’t keep everything because if you keep it all you may have to build more storage or live in a very untidy house>
The Bible says is good for our spiritual health not to love possessions which of course is quite right . The question is can you use your home for the purposes that you want to use it for that just sitting down sleeping eating entertaining writing hobbies watching TV etc and if you can’t then you must start to do something about it even if it’s only half an hour every day. it may seem onerous but remember the number of things in your house is not infinite and therefore in time you will be able to reduce the number and it maybe that you would even have some spare space instead of being overwhelmed by your possessions
So what the Bible says is good for our spiritual development namely poverty of spirit is also connected to actual poverty in the sense of not being greedy and not owning too many things.
When I see a story of a wealthy person being mugged as they walk down the street wearing diamond necklaces and rings I do not believe the mugger was right to attack them but on the other hand they are flaunting their wealth and flaunting your wealth and flaunting your body may make other people feel envious or angry. I know we are supposed to be free to wear and do what we want but I think we should consider how it will affect other people around us.I only had one ring which had any value whatsoever which my husband bought me but it was stolen by someone who offered to help me to clean the house I am pretty sure .I did not do anything about it because I had no proof. if you do you have anything of value then put it somewhere safe and only use it in safe places well it will not be a temptation to others. That’s my point of view as long as society is so unequal.That causes a lot of suffering.