Tag Archives: stuff

In the fourth grade I wrote a darn-good paper about the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America. The introduction hooked the reader, Mrs. Ochoa—I still remember her name— and the writing—if I do say so myself—was excellent. I included colorful hand-drawn maps and illustrations, and my bibliography correctly included all my sources.

Definitely an A + paper.

So, I was really, really disappointed when the teacher gave me a B+. She didn’t even tell me why it wasn’t an A paper. All of her comments were positive. But, apparently, my best was not good enough.

That’s the same disappointment I felt these last couple of weeks when we arranged for the biggest truck to move our belongings from Colorado to the state of Washington.

We hired professionals to load the truck and…

the truck wasn’t big enough.

Even though we’d spent months donating stuff, selling stuff, throwing out stuff.

I felt like a failure. My best efforts at organizing were not good enough.

For all my talk about down-sizing, and boasting about how many books, boxes of music, and pieces of furniture we’d given away…

and how confident I felt that our next move (this move) would be a breeze…

I realized that I have a problem with stuff.

After delivering our first load of belongings, Bruce and I had to fly back to Colorado, pick up another, smaller moving truck, and finish packing the rest of our stuff.

“Never again,” Bruce said. I nodded in total agreement.

After we finish unpacking, we took a good look at the things we probably could have dispensed with before the move. Why did I move a bench, a table, some artwork that I had no intention of putting in the new house?

And I still have way too many books.

Bruce and I are extremely neat people. We’re not hoarders. When you step into our house, you see a neat and organized house.

So I asked myself this question: when I leave one house and move to another, do I take the old house with me, too?

Of course not.

So I’ve come up with a new rule. Anything new that comes into our house? Something old has to go OUT of the house.

I sometimes wonder if, back in the fourth grade, Mrs. Ochoa gave me a B+ because my paper had TOO much information stuffed inside that term paper!

Lighten Your Load

Part of the challenge of our recent move from the mountains down to the suburbs was our skads of boxes.

Not boxes filled with imminently usable items for the kitchen. Or lamps. Or clothing.

We have tons of boxes stacked in our basement filled with stuff.

Items accumulated through 35 years of marriage that either have sentimental value or are things we think we “might use” in the next twenty years or so.

Mainly we have boxes of books. Excellent books.

But the problem with books is I keep buying more. Then I stuff the new ones in and around the old ones. Am I really going to read “Unbroken” again? I mean, it was a riveting and inspiring read, but now that I know what happens I really don’t need to re-read it.

We also have lovely pieces of furniture sitting in storage.

So we’ve decided to lighten our load, literally. We’re going to donate books, give away some furniture, try to sell some items.

Why in the world didn’t we do this earlier?

I think it’s like getting older…or fatter. The wrinkles, the pounds just kind of creep on and you don’t notice until you try to jump up and dance at your nephew’s wedding.

It can happen in the spiritual realm, too. This getting too heavy and ungainly.

Over the years, if we’re not vigilant and teachable and forgiving, we can accumulate lots of negative emotions and bitter attitudes.

  1. We develop callouses where we should be tender.
  2. Backaches from bending our bodies toward compromises we shouldn’t make.
  3. Sore muscles from carrying loads that only the Savior is strong enough to bear.

Bruce and I have lived in many different states. We should have been vigilant about the accumulation of unnecessary items throughout our years together. We should have been regularly tossing and donating. Keeping ourselves light and fit and ready to move.

Same thing with our spiritual lives. We need to regularly toss out the “stuff.” Stay unfettered and ready to respond to God’s voice.