We moved into the wide-open spaces of our new home five years ago as a family of three. We are now a family of five. The abundant closet storage I once couldn’t fill up is now overflowing, literally spewing out our excess.
I like the result of order and organization, but I don’t like the work of ordering and organizing. My lack of organization worked fine as a single and newlywed. However, my poor systems created chaos and clutter once I became responsible for three children.
No one prepared me for ALL THE PAPERS that would come with preschool.
I felt overwhelmed but accepted it as our normal for the season. I organized small spaces here and there, but it was like putting a band-aid on internal bleeding. A deep purge needed to happen to get the hidden junk out.
I recently spent time going room to room, closet by closet, and cabinet by cabinet, decluttering. I found lost treasures, purged long-forgotten trinkets, and pondered memories of newlywed and newborn days. My stress decreased as I purged, sorted, and thought about creating functional, clutter-free spaces.
I can easily see and feel the overwhelm of a cluttered home because it’s tangible. But I forget that my heart and mind get cluttered, too. I don’t see the junk hiding in the closets of my heart and mind until I’m spewing out impatience, frustration, and bitterness.
Jesus said in Luke 6:45 “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” When my mouth and heart are abundant with anger, worry, frustration, and impatience, it’s a cue for me that a purge needs to happen. I long to overflow with the fruit of the Spirit. I want to bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness into the spaces I inhabit, not frustration and anxiety.
In my home, I wasn’t filtering what came in, what stayed, and what needed to leave—creating chaos and clutter in our home. I didn’t need to just clean stuff out. I needed to guard against what came in. I needed a consistent rhythm to process all that entered our home.
We need to do the same for our hearts and minds. Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, encourages us to guard our hearts. “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Guarding means fiercely protecting against what you don’t want to come in.
Clutter from the world bombards us daily. We constantly receive input from social media, email, news, and other digital streams. When we don’t have a consistent rhythm to filter all that comes in, it builds up. The clutter cramps the Holy Spirit and we overflow with frustration and anxiety instead of the fruit of the Spirit.
1. Ask. In Psalm 51:10, David asks God to create in him a pure heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (ESV). Borrow David’s prayer as your own and ask God to renew your heart and mind.
2. Guard. Be more mindful of what comes in. We all struggle in different areas and ways. Know your weaknesses and learn where to put up stronger defenses.
3. Fill Up. Fill your heart and mind with truth and beauty. If your heart and mind is feasting on what is good, you will more easily identify the junk to filter out.
4. Take Captive. You can’t control everything that comes in but you can decide what stays. Paul encourages us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Don’t let clutter build up, kick it out before it has time to find a place to settle.
As you take steps to purge your closets and cabinets, be intentional about also purging the hidden places of your heart and mind. Bring peace and order to your homes and in your heart.