As I write this, the air is thick with smoke from the Napa Valley fires only an hour away. My oldest daughter was scared and couldn’t sleep last night. We’re all tired. With daily news reels filled with mass shootings, political strife, and natural disasters, it’s natural to feel increasingly anxious. It’s hard to know what to do at a time like this, so I decided to do what comes naturally to me. I decided to declutter.
My girls actually came up with the idea. I told them how families were evacuating their homes, leaving their cherished belongings behind, and they immediately started sifting through their toy bins, assembling makeshift care packages to give to the victims of the fires.
I was blown away by how easy it was for them to let go of their tea sets, stuffed animals, and games when they had a mission, a clear purpose that reflected their values. By the end of the day, we had filled three huge bags with clothing, art supplies, and games. It felt good to declutter our home, but even more rewarding to make a contribution, however small.
Before bed, I asked each of my girls what they would want to take if we had to leave our home. After some thought they both had the same answer. They would take their cherished childhood bunnies and their treasure boxes filled with mementos, awards and photos. “Everything else is just stuff,” my eight-year-old shrugged.
During these dark times, my convictions about minimalism have only strengthened. When I look around my home and think of what I would grab in a fire, only a handful of things come to mind. At the end of the day, the things I truly hold precious are my friends, family, and community. The rest is just stuff.
If you’re looking to streamline your home and feeling stuck, try focusing your efforts on supporting a cause you believe in. You’ll be shocked at how much easier it is to make quick decisions and let go of things when you are helping others and donating for a good cause.
I’d love to hear how you declutter for a purpose. Have you found any charities or non-profits that you love to contribute to?