Organizing and de-cluttering is an activity near and dear to my heart. So near, in fact, that one of my dreams is to be a professional organizer. My mom has told me that when I was three, she found me organizing and arranging the toys in the milk crate that they were kept in. During my growing up years, she would periodically enlist my help to restore order to various chaotic areas of the house. My dad would occasionally ask me to organize his collection of CDs.
I’ve learned that there are principles in the scriptures that can be applied to organizing and de-cluttering. I’ve learned that when we look at organizing and de-cluttering from a spiritual perspective, it has much more meaning and can give us more motivation to succeed. For instance, I realized that at bottom, there might not be much difference between clearing clutter and consecrating our surplus. I hope to share with you some scriptures that can help with efforts to de-clutter, so that you realize these efforts are sanctifying.
19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
This scripture can be extremely challenging, but it also can be extremely liberating. I’m sure you are perfectly aware of that. But I also believe that we have a tendency to interpret it too strictly, which causes us to get frustrated and feel like we can’t live by it, which in turn causes us to find ways of ignoring it. (Thinking it impossible and ignoring it would be exactly what Satan would want us to do.)
One of the things I have realized about this scripture is that Jesus didn’t go into great detail about what “treasures” were. All kinds of objects can be treasures to people. (Heck, I once met a woman who considered an empty Evian water bottle to be one of her treasures.) Because Jesus didn’t explain in hair-spitting detail what a “treasure" is, this leaves it up to us to ponder exactly what in our lives we lay up as treasures on earth. We can ponder the difference between “treasures” and tools that we need. We can ponder whether there is a difference between treasures we lay up and treasures we use. The ball is in our court to ponder and apply the principle according to our individual circumstances.
If you look at this scripture from an organizing and de-cluttering perspective, it makes perfect sense to let go of treasured objects that are just being stored, especially if they really aren’t useful for anything. They just take up space when they are stored. Jesus could see that when we lay up our treasures, we do it because at bottom we want them to last extra long…even forever, if possible. (Sometimes we even let them go completely unused because we don’t want to ruin them.) Jesus noted that when treasured things are stored for long periods, they usually get ruined or stolen. He gave a better solution—lay up treasures in heaven instead (suggesting that the treasures on earth be sold and used to help someone in need) and the reward from the good deed would last throughout eternity.