We moved recently, downsized really, a move we should have made several years ago but didn’t because banks have this irritating policy of not wanting to make a you a smaller mortgage when your income is indeterminate, but are perfectly happy for you to go on paying for the bigger one. {Full disclosure – I worked for the mortgage industry for 20 years of my career and wouldn’t mind being there again if they would have me, but like almost everything in life, regulation has stifled discretion under the guise of avoiding discrimination. I digress, but it will make a great future topic!}

Moving from Iowa 6 years ago meant foregoing a basement, also known as a house-sized, below ground, on-site storage unit. For Texas, we stuffed stuff in 3 different attic spaces and every closet, shelf and drawer we owned, which were considerable, plus a bunch in the garage.

Not this move. The “haven’t used it in a year” rule was implemented with draconian efficiency. Four times the Angel Reach truck backed up in our driveway, hauling away furniture, clothes, utensils, pictures, stuff, stuff and more stuff, even many of my precious books (hey, I already read them, they are permanently in my head and most new ones are on my Kindle!) to folks who could use them right away. Another load to a friend’s house, another to a friend’s dorm room, three calls to Waste Management for extra big pickups (won’t fit in a 55 gallon trash bin? Call for pickup!).

I’m nowhere near a hoarder, neither is Amy, but in this case it was a relentless release. “The kids may want that for their house someday…” Riiighttt! Unless it was an heirloom or had some very special memory attached, it had better have been used, handled or sat on in the last 12 months or it was whisked away.

We still have lots of “stuff,” witnessed by the fact that we still don’t have a car in the garage – shelves adorn 3 sides and still some “stuff” is piled in the middle, but it was a good start and an even better lesson for us.

What was the lesson? “More is less?” Maybe. “Store up treasures in heaven?” Applicable, but the competition between heavenly and earthly treasures does not necessarily exclude one to the full attainment of the other, although the dogged pursuit of the earthly stuff is a big barrier to finding the heavenly treasure. Like Paul, we are learning to be content in all circumstances.

No, it is the lightening of the load, the carrying of what’s important – physically, fiscally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have read of early arctic explorers freezing or starving to death because they packed libraries, pianos and fine china on their ships instead of enough food and fuel. It’s okay to carry a load, but carry the right one. Jesus said “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” (Matthew 11:29-30, The MSG). I like that, I like it very much. A lighter load, represented by less “stuff’ but in actuality a lighter load in attitude, performance and expectations as well. I think it fits me (and us) better.


PS – Just in case you were wondering – the golf clubs, Kindle and Lord of the Rings made the cut!


  1. Amen!! I know how good it feels…took me alot longer to learn this, however.