Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15
Have you ever seen one of those shows where someone has a house that is so chock full of junk that they have little hallways and tunnels between the piles? Our house is not like that, really, but it gets too close too much of the time, and seeing those shows is a warning siren to me that I need to go right away and sort through and drag out five boxes per day to give away soon. Belongings have something of a hold on me. I hate to say it, it sounds so stupid, and it's embarrassing, but it's true. Anyone who's been to our house knows we have entirely too much stuff. I'm combing through it to get rid of things, because as has been pointed out, stuff can own you; you end up a slave to it, serving it by sorting, cleaning, arranging, pulling out, putting away. It's really ridiculous how much time can be spent on stuff and it becomes so much a part of life that you don't tally it and realize how out of proportion it can be.
I protest, "But I didn't buy all of it, much of it was given to us," or "Really, I didn't spend as much as you might think; I bought on clearance, or at garage sales..." and maybe I don't even remember buying it. The effect is the same, I'm serving it. What a headache! I really don't know how much freedom I would have if it were gone. Getting rid of it is a servitude process too--first sorting through it, and then getting it into boxes, and then out of the house. For us that means that it waits in the garage or basement until we can haul it off or have someone pick it up--which means even though mentally it's not ours any more, it's there to trip over until it's gone.
I hardly ever go to garage sales any more (learned the hard way how dangerous they are); haven't bought books and music lately except specific needs for homeschooling (and homeschooling has a way of justifying a book-stuff mentality), but still stuff comes in. A kind neighbor has given me at least two big boxes of just curriculum, half of which is either over Tim's head still or stuff he'll never be interested in, it's not his learning style. So even though it came my way with good intentions, and without having gone and dragged it home, it's mine to sort through and hand on to some other unsuspecting soul. That is typical of the battle with stuff that I deal with too continually. Seems like we end up with triple the battle that others do, and I'm not the most alert soldier in the fight.
We intend to move this spring or summer into a smaller house. I like that idea, and hope that it will give me impetus to really clear it out for good rather than have it all squished into a smaller space. I have a fear that the battle against stuff will still be an ongoing battle, a typical American battle of overabundance fought or lost on so many fronts, like the battle of the bulge. With God's help, I can do it. By the way, you want some free stuff? Come and get it! Remember to bring your truck.