A Pod-sitive Outlook

So we put our house on the market back in March. To make it “show ready” we rented a 16-foot storage pod and loaded it full of everything we wouldn’t really NEED for a few months.  Getting rid of the extras in our life made the house look bigger, simplified and made it easier to keep things clean.

The plan was to just test the market, see if we could get any bites and find a house with some property attached to it.  We couldn’t find the house we liked and were starting to feel like maybe this just wasn’t the right time to be moving.  So we made the difficult choice to take the house off the market.

We were both kind of bummed – after all this hard work we were just quitting!?  After lots of discussion, prayer and wondering about the future we took the sign out of our yard.  With this development came the return of our storage unit – or POD.

I looked at this 16-foot POD, filled with items that I have NOT missed over the last 5 months and wondered if I really wanted all those things to come back in our house.  This was a fresh start, a chance to really weed out anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary for our livelihood.

We aren’t pack rats, we don’t buy new clothes and toys just because we can but I think we would all agree that life happens so fast and suddenly we’re surrounded by STUFF!

Needless to say I had a new outlook on each box, piece of furniture and item in that POD.  Most of the items ended up in our garage and we are going to have a wonderful, HUGE garage sale this coming weekend.

One of the biggest challenges we have as Mothers is to manage, thin-out and referee how much stuff comes into our home and how much stays.  Our POD has become a sort of mirror – reflecting the reality that was becoming my life.  We have plenty of storage room, we don’t get lots of things all the time – but in our short 10 years of marriage we’ve accumulated items that once held value and are now simply holding us back.

I try to live an intentional life and this process has been a great step forward in being proactive when it comes to weeding out what I need and what I wanted at one point in my life.  So what about you and your family?  In my opinion there are two major indicators for when it’s time to evaluate the stuff in your home:

1. When the physical area available to your family is limited, difficult or unsafe. Eating dinner together, playing board games, being able to wrestle on the floor, even being able to sit together and watch a show on television – these activities should be able to occur at a moment’s notice. When toys are stacked high on a shelf and children have to crawl over large piles to retrieve them the children are in danger of hurting themselves or someone else near by.  The square footage in our house isn’t going to change – so let’s change how we use it.

2. When the stuff directly affects our mood, our ability to respond to our family’s needs and/or has a negative impact on our family’s budget. It’s hard to tell a child no, or ask them to wait to purchase a toy; but when we bribe them or reward them with “stuff” I believe they quickly learn that the things in their life directly measure their value in this world.  None of us intentionally create this kind of skewed perspective but we can be aware of the priority and power we give to the things in our house.  If our children see us pouting because we can’t have the latest gadget, clothes or furniture they learn a sort of “entitled” attitude.  If having too much junk in the house makes us moody or grumpy we’ve given the stuff too much power.  Our family budget requires us to be responsible and sometimes sacrificial – when we live with a “family first” attitude we’ll discover a freedom and  energy we hadn’t known when we were simply thinking about what we do or don’t have.

I am super excited about the garage sale on Saturday – I’ll post pictures and let you know how it goes! Thank you POD and thank you to my precious husband and sweet boys for being the muscles behind this project…I’ll take you all out for ice cream saturday night…now let’s move this stuff!!!

This picture was taken when we were at our half way mark…to make our moving day more fun Daddy made matching sweat bands for everyone…did I mention it was over 100 degrees at the time and no, I did not wear a sweat band – just couldn’t pull off that look…

1 Response to “A Pod-sitive Outlook”

  1. 1 dcroy July 26, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    What great insight! I’m proud of you for keeping this in perspective. I also wanted to say this is a lifelong discipline. As you know, your mother and I are still striving to live with less to live more abundantly. In the long run it’s worth it. Good luck with the garage sale! Just remember to put the proceeds toward the boys’ education rather than buying more “stuff”!

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