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3 Easy Steps to Break the Hoarding Habit | How much stuff is too much? Is an excess of stuff eating away at your soul?In an earlier post, I told the story of my husband accusing me of being a hoarder.

After spending some time analyzing my own “hoarding habit”, I’ve come up with three easy and practical steps to get myself going in a better direction. Hopefully, these steps will help you as well.

Step 1: Fix the spiritual issue.

I started by simply asking God to help me get a handle on this. I asked Him to increase my trust in Him. I asked Him to remind me daily that He is enough for me and He will provide for all of my needs. I asked God to remind me not to elevate the role of “stuff” in my life above Him and His provision for me. I asked Him to help me care less about possessions and the false security they have given me in the past and more about Him and what He is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

There are so many other verses that speak specifically about trusting in God’s provision. Here are just a few:

Exodus 16

Matthew 6:25-34

Luke 12:15-32

Step 2: Educate yourself on potential solutions to the clutter issue.

  • Ask for advice.

I spoke with my most organized friends and I sought advice from all of the minimalists (or semi-minimalists) I know. And they gave me some great pointers- everything from managing laundry to keeping a paper planner to organizing my digital photos and even the apps on my phone.

  • Research and read up on decluttering.

Here are some helpful books I’ve read and really enjoyed:

Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul 

Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

*(For more, read this post about how Marie Kondo’s methods speak to the Christian faith.)

Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book About a Really Big Problem

*(For more, read this post about Sabbath rest.)

Step 3: Take action!

Decide where you are going to start.

A good place is your closet. (This is where I started.)

I am not claiming reinvention of the wheel. You have probably heard of this method before, but in case you haven’t I’ll break it down a little.

Create four piles as you sort through the contents of your closet:

  • Trash
  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Keep

Be quick and be decisive.

Follow through with each pile. Throw trash away. Take donations immediately. Post items to be sold on social media immediately or organize them neatly for storage until the next consignment sale comes along. Organize the items you are keeping as best you can.

Even if you can’t finish this entire project today, make a goal of choosing three items to donate immediately.

Take these items to your local charity/donation box asap (today or tomorrow) before you have time to second guess your decision.

You will feel so light and free. I promise. This will give you the motivation to keep going as you realize how much all of this “stuff” has been holding you back. Remember, this advice is coming from a fellow “hoarder”.

Helpful tip:

I really enjoyed Ruth Soukup’s ideas about decluttering, especially about pairing down your closet. She reduced her closet to only 40 hangers and she keeps it at that number. Meaning if she buys that 41st hanging item, then she knows another item she already owns must go. This sounded like a good idea until I actually counted out 40 hangers in my own closet. Not. even. possible. One day maybe. Progress, right?

I did invest in new hangers for my closet during this process. I’d been using a mix of fat, plastic hangers, department store hangers, wire hangers from the dry cleaners, etc. It was a mess! And those big hangers were taking up a lot of prime closet real estate.

For me, I knew a new set of thin, matching hangers would look SO much better. I also thought it would provide more motivation to keep my closet paired down and organized if the end result was actually pretty.

These hangers are similar to what I’m using now.

As I cleaned out my closet, I found myself taking loads to the local donation box, a load to a local consignment sale, and literally trashing some of it.

After I worked on my closet, I tackled my kids’ closets. Again, loads to the donation box, literal carloads to local consignment sales, and the trashcan for some of it.

Our closets are certainly not perfect yet, but again, progress is the goal. It has been incredibly cathartic to rid my home of all of this excess. I know this was just my first cull in each of these closets, but it was a great start.

It has made me much more mindful and selective in what I am purchasing for all of our fall/winter wardrobes. I am also so much more thankful for how God always provides for our needs.

And if I’m being totally honest, I really do feel better. Much lighter and freer. Definitely less stressed. Peaceful even.

Don’t you kind of hate when your spouse is right? Unless of course it helps you make healthy changes in your life!

*Read more about my current project of decluttering toys and kid gear in Part 3 of this post…

4 responses to “3 Easy Steps to Break The Hoarding Habit”

  1. Summer says:

    I LOVE getting rid of things we don’t need or use. Like you said, it is so freeing!

  2. Christine says:

    I struggled with 40 hangers too, but found that 50 is a good number for me. As the season changes I need to go through it again. ‘One in, one out’ is a good rule, but I’m not very good at keeping it!

  3. Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog says:

    I was probably on the track to becoming a hoarder when my husband and I married. Thanks to him, I learned that feeling of simplifying and decluttering, and now others think of me as a minimalist. I don’t know about that, but I definitely like that freeing feeling you were talking about. It’s the best to know I’m caring for my family and sending unused items for someone else who needs them to use.

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