In our individual Lenten journeys, we are called to strip down our lives to the bare necessities so that we might be spiritually and emotionally prepared for Jesus’s death and resurrection on Easter Sunday. In living lives of simplicity built on the basics of our faith, we can be brought into deeper communion with the Lord.
Indeed, this practice of stripping down to the “bare necessities” is largely for our spiritual benefit. But in order for us to reap those spiritual benefits, we must make some real adjustments. This is why we give up or add things to our spiritual practices for Lent. Making physical changes in a variety of ways helps us to make those tougher emotional and spiritual changes.
So, we’re going to think about physical decluttering this week. It’s a huge undertaking to declutter an entire house, or even an entire room. It’s easy to stop when it feels difficult, which can be almost all the time when we’re faced with making choices about our belongings because they tell stories of our families, our friends, and our experiences. The material objects we keep in our living space are, in fact, a material logbook of the lives we have lived.
What does decluttering even look like, though? From the Container Store to Marie Kondo, it seems like everyone has a different method or process. As decluttering is such a personal process, no method is really better than another. Looking at lots of different ways of decluttering, thinking about the motivations behind your decluttering, and examining the practicalities of the processes themselves helps to identify how it might look for you.
A great first step can be drawn from Marie Kondo. Partially inspired by Shintoism (the traditional religion of Japan), she starts her “tidying” by thanking each item for its place in your life, both the ones that you keep and the ones you choose to let go. Starting in one very specific spot in your home, like the bathroom cabinet or one bedroom closet, is the easiest way to declutter your space. Making small goals for the process of tidying, addressing one spot each week, or each day (if the space is small and it’s feasible) is a great way to continue.
A final important thing to note, especially in this time of Lent and paring down to our “bare necessities.” Consciously choosing not to bring more items into our homes will significantly aid in decluttering. Try not to bring more material goods in your space unless absolutely necessary. You can even set a goal for yourself: No additional items unless you throw away something else.
It’s also especially important to remind ourselves of our intentions in the physical experience of decluttering our homes. Keeping connected to the reasons we decided to declutter in the first place will make it easier for us to be successful, and it will get easier.
By making physical changes to our living space and making a conscious choice to live a life of material simplicity, we can make space for those bare necessities essential to our spiritual growth.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
Saint Brendan Church in San Francisco. Check out our exciting featured news articles.