Purging our home

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” — II Corinthians 2:18

Our kid’s room is a MESS! Part of it was because I’ve been working the entire time we have had children. Some weeks I worked 40 hours, some weeks I worked 80 hours. In the last 7 years we have had 15 children in our home. All different ages. And as foster parents we never knew what age we would have next. So for many years we stored clothes and toys that our children didn’t need. We have stopped and we actually don’t need to now (a story for later), but the excess that I am having to get rid of is shocking. I was also never home to make sure they cleaned their room correctly, and so our children learned to shove everything in the closets and close the doors.

To be quite truthful the amount of stuff we have as a family has been aggravating me for years. It bothers me to even think about how much shopping I did as a young adult. Most of us live in excess of what we need. And even as I type this and I purge my own life and my own home, I realize that my idea of minimal is still excessive.

As a family we have tried to focus on this things which are eternal – our relationship with God, our ministry (and more specifically what we are called to do), our relationship with others, and friendships.

There are some things in our home we have limited. For instance, our four children all share a room at the moment. Our daughters share a bed. There are no video games in our home. I generally won’t let the children watch TV during the week. The children are expected to help with chores and gardening and so forth. But even so, there are areas in our life that are too abundant and wasteful.

The verse I posted at the top of the post has been reappearing in our conversations at home for many weeks now. The children and I had a short devotional on it a few weeks ago. You might hear me reminding them when I find them arguing over a toy that their relationship with their brother or sister is more valuable than the toy. I usually ask them to reconsider and try to work it out. If they can’t, I simply remove the toy. And then a friend, and young mother of three young children passed away, and we were reminded again that things in this world are only temporary. We spent a lot of time with friends that week and it was a blessing.

Our own family has suffered from excess stuff. And now that I’m home, as wife and mother, it’s time to purge. I’ve focused on a few smaller areas since being home, but this past weekend I focused on the kids room.

I had been praying about tackling their room because honestly it scarred me. And about that time, a dear friend offered to help. And so Saturday she spent 12 hours in our home sacrificing her day to help our family reach our goal. She helped drag everything out of the closets and together we put all the little pieces to all the toys back together and decided what to keep, what to trash, and what to give away.

This is a picture of some of the stuff we pulled out. It was bad. I filled up our entire large trash can outside, and I determined another three boxes to donate.
toy purgetoy purge2

It is not completed yet, but it was the beginning. I still need to purge more and tackle the books in their room. I’m also going to let them help me tackle the stuffed animals and choose a few of their favorites.

I think the children thought I was throwing everything out. I didn’t. In the evening I think they were happily surprised at what they did see left in their closets. They can easily spot something to play with. And there are items they didn’t notice before because there was just too much stuff. So far, they haven’t been able to think of anything they are missing. It’s either because I didn’t throw out enough, or because they didn’t play with most of it anyway — and I’d prefer to think it was the latter (but I’m not sure).

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