Posted by: Bob Clark | January 5, 2010

Boxes in the Attic

Getting our house ready to put on the market began with Lourene watching several episodes of Designed to Sell. The whole purpose of the show, as I understand it, is to offer viewers some often simple, always important ways to improve the odds of selling your house.

Her reaction? Well maybe it was because she was serving on jury duty at the time, but she delivered it more like a verdict–

“We have to declutter if we want to sell the house.”

So we began to declutter.

We decluttered the closets. We decluttered the cabinets. We decluttered the file cabinets. We decluttered the storage room. We decluttered the storage shed. We decluttered the walls. We decluttered the tables. We decluttered the counters.

Just when I thought the decluttering ordeal was over and the time had come to guiltlessly watch The Rose Bowl, you know– the granddaddy of them all–she spoke words that struck fear in my heart.

“There are boxes in the attic.”

Yes, there were boxes in the attic. Boxes full of memories. Boxes full of stuff we wanted to preserve but we couldn’t have displayed for all to see. Boxes full  of stuff we didn’t have time to sort through at the time so we hid it out of sight in the attic so we could deal with it later.

We hauled the boxes out of the attic and sorted through all the stuff. Memories. Things we didn’t want to deal with eight or ten years ago. Junk that we inexplicably saved. And the decluttering ordeal finally came to an end.

Now that it is finished, I can tell you I am glad we decluttered. Throughout the process Lourene and I reflected on how thankful we are for our memories and our material blessings.  We found a box of cards the children made for us, many made from construction paper and crayons.   We discussed how we need to guard against the temptation to hoard. We found enough lamps, pictures, and knick knacks to decorate an entire house. And we pondered how we have stored boxes of stuff in the attic of our hearts, you know, the stuff we didn’t want to deal with at the time but we kept it so someday we could.

The “For Sale” sign is in the front yard. A decluttered house awaits potential buyers. And Lourene and I have enjoyed some wonderful conversations thanks to the insistence of the television real estate gurus that we declutter.

Today I am chewing on these passages–

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 (MSG)
“Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you….”

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

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Responses

  1. Thanks – I needed that as I prepare for Calvin’s belongings to be moved into the house this weekend and Calvin himself in a couple of months!
    I’m struggling with letting go of a couch I’ve lived with since I was 3…didn’t realize how attached I am to “things,” which is why I’m a packrat…wow, I never recognized it as a spiritual issue…thanks, Bob.


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