When Clutter Is a Gift
“You’ve been clearing out the debris and clutter within me, making room for Your Spirit to take full possession.”
– Jesus Listens, January 7
Clutter is a fact of life.
Decluttering is a fact of life, too. Over the years, I’ve decluttered more than the average person and now, I actually write books about decluttering.
When people find out I’m a Christian who writes about decluttering, they want to talk about what the Bible says about clutter. One of the verses they love to quote is Matthew 6:19: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (NIV).
Obviously it’s true, since it’s in the Bible. But as a person who’s purged (literal) truckloads of clutter from her home and cried tears of frustration over those piles, this verse has made me feel hopeless.
But I’m thankful the next two verses, Matthew 6:20–21: “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart is also” (NIV).
What if we look at this passage not as a condemnation of those who have overflowing closets, but as an image, created by God, to help us deeply understand a spiritual truth: that time and energy spent building up spiritual treasure will never be wasted?
Treasures in Heaven
Clutter is a common human experience. Some of us have more because we hold on to things more tightly. But we all have stuff. And we all know that physical stuff deteriorates (ever put a box in the garage where some moths or mice got into it? Yeah, me too).
Unlike a box stuffed with yearbooks and baby teeth and headless Barbies, treasures in heaven can’t be destroyed. My energy and time are better spent building treasures in heaven. My focus should be on spiritual treasures over all else. That’s what matters. That’s what lasts.
I can read about something all day long, but personal experience takes me from knowing about that thing to truly understanding it in a way that changes me and changes how I live. God gave us an amazing opportunity to experience the truth that no matter how hard we treasure our physical stuff, it doesn’t last. Opening a box to find that a moth wiggled its way inside and ate holes in my great-grandmother’s quilt is painful and heartbreaking. But that heartbreak reminds me that the treasure of Jesus can’t be ruined.
And bonus: when I focus on what does last, it makes the clutter look different to me. Because now I see it for the corruptible thing it is. And I’m (more) ready to let go.
About The Author
Dana K. White is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and (much to her own surprise) a Decluttering Expert. Dana shares realistic home management strategies and a message of hope for the hopelessly messy in her books: Organizing for the Rest of Us, Decluttering at the Speed of Life and How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and through her blog, podcast, and videos at ASlobComesClean.com.