I’m embarrassed to admit it, but Marilyn and I did some cleaning and rearranging in our garage and found some stuff we had forgotten we owned. The thing is, none of it was worth two cents. It was, to be ingloriously honest, junk. In fact, we kept digging items out of boxes and wondering why on earth we ever decided to keep them. No doubt in the past we made the following statements:
“It may come in handy someday.”
“They don’t make these anymore.”
“It might be an antique someday.”
There’s not a thing wrong with it.”
“As soon as we get rid of it, we’ll need it.”
Don Aslett, who is an expert on clutter, says that if the average person arranged all his possessions according to their worth, 80% of the value would be found in 20% of the items.* After spending a day in my garage, I think he’s probably right. And I wonder what that says about us. Are we “junkies” just frugal souls who believe in saving for a rainy day? Or are we too attached to material things?
I can’t help thinking about the parable Jesus told in Luke 12 about the man who had to build more and bigger barns because the ones he already had were filled up.
He didn’t have to build more barns. He chose to build more barns. He could have given some of his stuff away to the poor, but it’s clear from the text that such a thought never occurred to him. What bothers me is that God called him a fool. (Luke 12:20) In his mind, the man didn’t have a space problem, he had a spiritual problem.
Makes me think I need to grab a few more thirty gallon trash bags and go through my garage again. And my closets. And my attic. Makes me think I need to make a few more trips to the Salvation Army.
What about you?
For further reflection read Luke 12:16-21, Ecclesiastes 3:6, James 5:1-3.
Don Aslett, Clutter’s Last Stand (Avon, Adams Media, 2005), 33