What is one thing that money can’t buy?

Whatever I have held onto for five years, never used, and am struggling to give away, that’s what!

      I’ll never get it back,

     never be able to find another one, 

     never have it when I need it, 

     and so that’s why I have decided, for years, just to keep it all. 

I haven’t sent a thank you, birthday, or get well card in over five years (I’m an Oregonian, I prefer digital acts of kindness over killing trees,) yet I have a stack of 50 different cards I’ve collected for frequent friendship emergencies. I even have cards I bought for my “future husband” five years before I even met Michael. Is that weird?

As I was cleaning out my cupboards this weekend, I found ten blank journals, never used workbooks for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, 250 new #2 pencils, 50 red ball point pens, 25 coloring books, and I could go on, but I won’t on the ground that it will put the final nail in the coffin of my sanity. The crazy part is that I continually stress out over the fact that I have so much stuff, and no where to put it. Hmmm, wonder why? Could it be because my cupboards were filled five years ago and then never touched again?

Try getting more paraphernalia, while not getting rid of the old paraphernalia, and you end up with a real paraphernalia problem, and boy do I have a problem. But not a spelling “paraphernalia” problem, as I have seven dictionaries in our family library.

So here I sit trying to hype myself up so I can move my long-forgotten, never-used, but apparently irreplaceable stuff from my cupboards to well, anywhere else. I’ve got a big cardboard box that I can put it all into,IMG_2195 to either take to Goodwill, or to an overfilled corner of my garage just in case I ever have another 250 children and need coloring books and pencils.

But I’m paralyzed.

Why is it so hard to say goodbye? 

Michael asked me if I would pay $20 to have more space, and I said,

“Would that mean I could buy more stuff? 

Yes?” he said.

Then YES!” I said, in my happiest big Elf voice.


“Then get rid of all that stuff, and if you ever need it again I’ll give you the $20 you’ll need to replace it,” he said.

Hmmm, very interesting!

I’m starting to remember this same process that I went through seven years ago when we moved into a motorhome for three months. I was scared to death about living with only two pots, three plates, and three silverware sets, and got nauseous just thinking about trying to fit all our clothes into a two by four foot closet. But once we were completely downsized, I remember the feeling of freedom I had even as I would walk through the mall, the incessant need for more stuff was stifled by my lack of space, and the refreshing feeling that I had all I needed and nothing more. Simplicity is a lot less stressful than keeping all my stuff in its place. Why can’t I remember that? The creep of stuff and my worship of it is making me crazy and so I’ve got to give up my fear of letting go, and trust that just as God gave me the wherewithal to get it five years ago, he’ll give me what I need tomorrow, and the next day, and so on.

As it says in the book of Matthew chapter 6, well, not exact words, but my take on them,

“Do not save up for yourselves extra supplies for a rainy day, shoes that you haven’t worn in ten years, or fifteen spare blankets for a three bedroom house, you live on earth, where moths eat up spare blankets and rust destroys extra lawnmowers, thieves break in and steal purses, but save up for yourself supplies in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your supply is, there your heart will be also.”

I save supplies for those days when God won’t give me what I need, as if.

I save supplies as if keeping them protects me, as if.

I save supplies because like the servant who buried his talents, I’m afraid if I invest and use them I will lose them.

Doesn’t the saying go, “use it or lose it?” Yeah, that’s it. So I’m going to use it or lose it all today. I’m tired of protecting myself with “supplies,” I’m going to let God be my protector and let go of my treasure.

Bye bye rainy day savings supplies, hello trust!

6 Responses to “Confessions of a hoarder”

  1. Julie

    Love your blog entries… I always end up thinking we could be twins. Miss you and if you need a declutter partner let me know. I am inspired to make my coffee cups fit on one shelf. Let it go…

    • Hayley

      That’s really good to hear. It’s great to know I’m not alone! Love you!

  2. Tamala

    Did I write this? Wow, I needed to read this as I prepare to declutter this week. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing your truth. I’ll be thinking about you while I’m purging this week. I want FREEDOM!

  3. rita

    Last year I decided I had too many t-shirts. Told myself I could only keep what would fit in one drawer. I folded them as instructed and wound up giving 14 shirts to St. Vincent de Paul. Haven’t missed one of them!

What do you think?


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