When our Lord and Saviour entered into this world, he did so in all simplicity, humility and gentleness.
He suffered His passion and death in order to set us free from all the forms of bondage our world has to offer.
BUT ARE WE TRULY FREE ?
Do we really enjoy this freedom? Or have we allowed worldly distractions, materialism in particular, to creep in and rob us of our freedom….freedom to focus on God, to embrace our vocation, to focus on relationships, to live simply and joyfully?
What can we do to recapture the simplicity and beauty that our homes so desperately need? Living with less is the answer.
Three Benefits of Living with Less
- Our Home Becomes a Haven: When we have fewer things we don’t have to expend so much time and energy organising and maintaining them. There’s less stress and less chaos.
- There is More Room to Love God and Others: Material things are not bad in and of themselves. However, we are called to love God ABOVE all things. Having or desiring too many things can distract us from our relationship with our God and our family. When we live with less, we have…
more freedom to ponder and listen to God;
more time to pray;
the ability to focus on improving our relationships.
- We Practise the Virtue of Holy Detachment: When we learn to detach from the things of this world, we also learn to practise holy detachment in other areas of life:
from worrying what we cannot control;
from other people’s opinions of us;
from forming unfounded opinions about others;
from our own self-will
…so that we can embrace our Lord’s Holy will more fully in our lives.
Seven Steps to Simplify our Homes
- Offer your detachment project for a higher purpose: Rather than ‘decluttering’ I prefer to use the word ‘detaching’ in the sense of reducing our attachments to the things of this earth. Decluttering then becomes an exercise in virtue rather than a chore. Offer your detachment project for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners or the conversion of a family member.
- Declutter regularly: Most families need to declutter on a regular basis, at least twice a year. Our family does this during Advent and Lent in preparation for Christmas and Easter.
- Avoid storing too many items for future use: When we store too many excess things, someone else is possibly being deprived of them. Can we share our excess with someone else? On a deeper level, when we store too many things we’re placing more trust in our storage bins than we do in God.
- Establish limits: Decide on a limit on things such as toys, books and clothes. In our home we keep a maximum of seven pieces of each type of clothing. Toys and books are contained in bins or shelves. Anything that does not fit in the designated bins or shelves goes in the give-away pile.
- Find strength from Scripture: In the Gospel of Luke, we read,
“Avoid greed in all its forms. A man may be wealthy but his possessions do not guarantee him life.”
In the Gospel of Matthew, we also read,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
- Get saintly help: Seek help from the saints if you can’t part with something you think you should. St John Chrysostom wrote:
“The soul which is attached to anything, even to the least thing, however many its virtues may be, will never arrive at the liberty of the divine union. It matters little whether a bird be fastened by a stout or slender cord – as long as he does not break it, slender as it may be, it will prevent him from flying freely.”
- Start small but be consistent: If you have a tendency to get overwhelmed, you could start with a drawer, then a desk, then a closet and slowly graduate to decluttering an entire room.
Set a realistic goal such as decluttering 15 minutes per day or one drawer per week. Don’t worry if you can’t complete the job perfectly all at once. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said; “The Lord does not ask us to be successful. He asks us to be faithful.”
About Abby Sasscer
Abby is a wife, homeschooling mother of three, author, and speaker. In 2008, she founded Project Nazareth through which she promotes simple living through books and speaking. Her website is www.projectnazareth.info. Abby’s latest book Simplifying Domestic Church can be found at
This is an edited version of an article originally published on setonmagazine.com. Reprinted with permission.