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A couple weeks ago, I shared that I’ve begun the lengthy process of cleaning out and cleaning up our entire house, top to bottom. One of you asked if I would please continue to share updates as I moved through the house. So here I am. In the kitchen today.

When I shared the last blog post about clutter, one of the areas I’d recently cleaned out was the kitchen island. It seemed like a small thing at the time. After all, the island only accounts for a tiny piece of our kitchen. (And just to be clear, the island doesn’t look much different than it did before the clean out. But hey, I know it’s been done and I feel better, so doesn’t that count for something?)

At any rate, I knew today was going to be another clean out day. I didn’t have anything planned outside of the house until early evening, so I had time to dedicate to a big project. It was time to get back to the kitchen.

I began on the far side of the kitchen, the side closest to the living room. I figured that way, it would be easiest to keep track of where I’d been, as well as where I’d left off for the next round of cleaning out and cleaning up. That brought me to the refrigerator and cupboard above it.

I started up top with the dusty cabinet near the ceiling. I wiped the cupboard door fronts well, and was quite surprised at how dirty they were. Then I opened them to discover all the things that are way up high, on top of our fridge, for good reason. Bottles of alcohol. A swath of glass vases. Random things we very rarely use, including an ice cream maker, an old-fashioned coffee pot, the turkey roaster, and a leather wine pouch for all the romantic opportunities we have to picnic together with wine.

I found an old bottle of alcohol in the back that had never been opened. Did my husband even realize it was there? I moved it to the front.

I combined two bottles of Two Gingers Irish Whiskey, a task I asked my husband to do last weekend when the screw top on one of the bottles was stripped. He told me we didn’t have another bottle of Two Gingers. Today, I was glad to discover we did have two bottles. I married the two and promptly recycled the stripped bottle.

I considered getting rid of the leather wine pouch, but decided who knows, maybe someday we’ll have another opportunity to picnic in the park with wine.

Then came the inevitable. All those glass vases. There was one big, butt ugly golden vase that had to go. No doubt about that. I wasn’t even sure why I kept it all this time anyway. Then all the others. I’m not even kidding you, we had about 25 glass vases. I inspected them all. I looked at all the different styles. I imagined how I’d pair them beautifully on tables when we hosted holiday meals. I imagined how I might need them someday if I host a fundraiser and want to line tables with flower vases. I imagined summertime, where I’d bring in beauties from the garden and arrange them in Mason-style vases. Sure. It was possible that any of those imaginings could and would be realities. But how many glass vases do we really need? How many pairings of vases can we actually use for our little family of five?

So I got rid of several vases. The ugly gold one had to go, of course. After that, it was just pick one, pick another, pick another, and so on. For the most part, I realized I really didn’t care. Vases are vases. There was nothing particularly spectacular about any of them.

I washed them up so I would feel better about donating them to the thrift store. (They were quite dusty, after all.) Then I got out a box and started loading everything in.

That led me to realize that I needed to just go ahead and fill up that box with as much stuff as I could. It was all going to the thrift store. Today. I was determined to fill that box as quickly as I could. So I moved a few cupboards over to the massive space I was so excited about when we moved into the house. The massive cupboard space that’s now full for the most part, full of a lot of stuff we don’t use that much. Within minutes, I cleaned out several water bottles that I hate to use or wash, some random glasses, four or five cheap plastic kids placemats, and other random junk. Okay, junk isn’t the best description at all. It was actually good stuff, decent stuff. I just didn’t have any attachment to it. I didn’t see any reason to keep any of it. In one swoop, I’d filled an entire box.

When the box was filled, I took this picture and just stared at all the items that filled it.

I didn’t care about one single thing in that box. Not one single thing. It meant nothing to me. Nothing was useful to me. Nothing was beautiful to me. Nothing was sentimental to me. Nothing.

I wondered. Why do we keep things we don’t need? What is the benefit? What is the point of having things around that we don’t need OR use? All these excess things do is clutter our minds, our hearts, our souls to the point where we can’t breathe anymore, to the point where we can’t think anymore, to the point where we can’t just BE anymore.

I’ve had enough.

Getting rid of the box of junk (a.k.a. good stuff, just fine stuff) I never use.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t need.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t use.

It’s cluttered my life long enough.

Good bye.

I promptly plopped the box in the front seat of my SUV, loaded my baby girl in her car seat, and told her we were going to the thrift store. When we got there, I picked up the box, walked in briskly, sat the box down on the donations table, walked towards my car, and didn’t look back one second.

Good bye.

Good riddance.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t need.








For six or seven years, I’ve been significantly burdened by all the STUFF we own. Everywhere I look, there’s clutter, STUFF we don’t need or use. I have no problem stating the brutally honest truth about all that STUFF.

I can’t stand it.

It’s exhausting to manage and suffocating to my soul.

I don’t need anymore STUFF.

One of the tasks I’m bound and determined to get a grip on between now and the end of the school year is decluttering our house. The past two and a half weeks, I’ve begun to dig out. I realized from the start that it’s going to be a huge job. In fact, I’ve just begun to scratch the surface with a partial clean-out of one side of our master bedroom, a partial clean-out of our master bathroom, a partial clean-out of our baby’s bedroom, and a pre-Easter dump of seasonal goods we don’t use anymore.

I’ve sorted through old t-shirts and barely-worn lingerie stuffed in dresser drawers, jewelry from junior high, over-the-counter medicines already expired, gross smelling lotions only partly used, and hand-me-down toddler clothes that didn’t get used nearly enough. I donated several pair of pants that didn’t fit anymore, sweaters that have gone out of style, necklaces and bracelets I once thought were real gold but discovered were all fake when I brought them to the Gold Guys in hopes of cash. Books that no longer resonate have been tossed in a donation bag along with the free, but ugly hair clips that came with the hair dryer we bought in December. And I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve saved boxes for a year now. You know why? Because I want to sell a bunch of valuable STUFF on eBay, but putting all that STUFF up for auction takes so much time, I haven’t even gotten to it. So there sit the boxes.


It’s a burden.

Whether we know it or not, whether we’ve had time to sort through it or not, whether we’ve had time to realize how much we’ve collected or not, it’s a burden to our souls.

We collect, purchase, acquire, buy and borrow hoping all these things will fill the holes in our hearts, this longing for something more. But STUFF doesn’t fill holes in hearts. STUFF fills our houses, fogs our brains, clogs the free-flowing life waiting for us on the other side.

We’re drowning in STUFF.

Me, you, our whole culture.

More is better. Or is it?

What if less is truly more?

What if we stopped believing the lie that STUFF will make us happier?

What if we stopped expecting STUFF to fill the holes in our hearts?

What if we decluttered once and for all?

What if we realized that a life worth living has nothing to do with the acquisition of more STUFF?

What if we released the STUFF and opened our hearts to the possibility that freedom’s waiting on the other side of STUFF?

What if we need clean places, wide open spaces so our hearts and souls can breathe and just be for once?

What if?




  1. Tracy Sather Nelson says:

    Wow Amy! I seriously felt like you were speaking about me also!!! So true!

  2. Susan Baunsgard says:

    Glad to see you are donating what you don’t need. I used to do this type “cleaning” every year after Christmas. I used this time to reorganize the boys bedrooms including getting rid of seldom used clothing and or toys.

  3. Missy Shemick says:

    Thank you Amy. It’s not easy but I can see the wisdom of your words of only keeping things my daughter may appreciate someday. It feels wrong to donate, throw away, or sell these things…but I’m sure my parents would rather I free my soul from this clutter….

  4. Tom Baunsgard says:

    It’s simple… Less is more.

  5. Carol Femling says:

    I’ve waded through STUFF for so many years that I’ve just had it with STUFF!! Through the years I’ve tried to clean out and get rid of STUFF every year. We’ve moved several times…in and out of extra apartments, in and out of houses, in and out of storage units and I’ve had garage sales every year to get rid of the STUFF. Now that we’re in a much smaller place, we are way down on STUFF, but I still see plenty of STUFF that can go that’s in our garage. UH!! Amy….. Keep on plugging away at getting rid of the STUFF! It feels good!! Like the magnet on my fridge says, THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN’T THINGS or “stuff”!! SO true!! 🙂

  6. Missy Shemick says:

    I have alot of my parents things…hard to part with…but still clutter nonetheless. Any help with this?

  7. Silvana Xhelilaj says:

    Could not agree more Amy!
    It’s a problem more than you think in our society. I went through this process last year and could not feel any better!
    Not that the stuff does not keep coming with all the birthdays but i try hard not to let it in. Gave it most of it away for free, and yes i did think of selling it..
    It feels so liberating to be free of the junk and focus on the things that you would really need in life, like spending time with the kids, focusing on your family and your relationships. That you will take with you forever. .

  8. Sandra Heska King says:

    You’re talking my language, girlfriend. I’ve been working on this forever. Clutter morphs. The thing I love most about traveling is the simplicity of a room away from home. I’ll know I’ve solved the problem when I’m glad to get home. 🙂

  9. Cathie 'Hardy' Pearson says:

    Fantastic post, Amy! So much honesty & truth!!

  10. Missy Larson Udstrand says:

    Love your post, so true

  11. Colleen Chastek Leaver says:

    Best post ever :-))!!

  12. I think this is my first comment here! I put you in my reader a few months ago 🙂

    I just wanted to say yes to the need for sapce: both physically and spiritually. We need it, and we don’t have nearly enough of it.

    I think this is actually what the desert experiences are in the Scriptures- God gives us space between what was and what will be, space to remember who we are, think about what we will become, and let go of all the trappings that hold us back from both those journeys.

    Good luck. Wading through stuff is hard. Much harder than it seems.

    • Amy says:

      Totally agree with you on the desert space, Stephanie. That’s exactly where I’m coming out of. LOVE your words…”God gives us space between what was and what will be, space to remember who we are, think about what we will become, and let go of all the trappings that hold us back from both those journeys.” So good. Thank you for sharing that great wisdom and truth.

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