Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I wasn’t exactly a hoarder as a child, probably because that term hadn’t become popularized yet. There was no TV show about people digging through other people’s trash that covered their homes and there was definitely nothing about minimalism cluttering the internet. But deep down, I knew I had a lot of stuff.

My collection of rocks, for one. I mean, how many rocks from the playground can a kid collect? It was really too much.

Stories I had written, favorite comic strips cut from the newspaper, a note my friend had written to me once. Cat pictures everywhere. It’s hard to imagine I turned out the semi-normal person I am today.

As I aged, I found peace in the simplicity of decorating, found that it’s easier to keep things cleaner when you have less stuff, and hated packing boxes when we moved. Now that my husband and I have lived in four different homes in seven years, I’m sick of packing and moving. I donate bags full of stuff every time we get ready to move again.

But there are still those “what ifs” that I have a hard time donating. Someday, what if I will need that? Someday, what if my child will want that? Someday, what if it’s a collector’s item?

I learned the hard way that collector’s items are real and you shouldn’t let your child play with them because she will rip the arm off of that doll and it will no longer be worth $500. So, there are some things you should hold on to, safely!

Here are seven things to consider about the “what ifs” and “somedays”: 

1. Will you want to use again?
If you have a something you want to use again in the next year or two, don’t get rid of it. If you want your child to read a book that you loved as a child, check your library. Chances are they have the entire series of Nancy Drew ready for her when she’s old enough. But if she’s five years old and you have a box of Nancy Drew books just sitting in your house waiting for her, consider exchanging the books for a library card.

2. Does it have sentimental value?
Don’t get rid of what brings you joy, deepens your spirituality, or is a meaningful family heirloom. That being said, there are lots of family heirlooms you don’t need to hold on to. If you have your grandmother’s beloved cigarette ash tray and don’t smoke and don’t have another use for that ash tray, chuck it. A picture of it could serve your memory better than an heirloom stuffed in the back of your closet.

3. Is it a collector’s item?
So apparently male nurse action figures have quite the going rate on Ebay. If you have one, you have a collector’s item. Now, if you’re like me and you have one with an arm ripped off because your child played with it, it’s trash . . . or a one-armed male nurse action figure. It’s up to your kid’s imagination and how many broken, gender-neutral toys you want in your house. But really, if you have something that might be a collector’s item, check it out and sell it or hide it away. If it’s not, let your kid play with it or donate it. Or put it in your parents’ attic.

4. Will you actually wear it? 
The concept of minimalism is that you are able to go buy a new black sweater if your current black sweater fades to an ugly gray color. If you don’t relish the idea of donating your other two black sweaters just so you can go out and buy another one in two years, I don’t blame you. Although, it’s OK to donate the one you don’t wear and never will. Yeah, get rid of that thing.

5. Is it your husband’s favorite (fill in the blank)?
I get so tempted to throw out some of my husband’s stuff. My mind screams, “Donate it all!!!” And when I offer him a pile of stuff we can donate that belongs to him, he picks it up and exclaims, “Oh I forgot about this. I love this!” Ugh. But seriously. Save your marriage. Don’t toss his stuff without asking first. But do forward lots of minimalism emails to his inbox.

6. “But it’s My Precious!”
My kids have a box full of their most beloved treasures: glitter, rocks, and old birthday cards. It means a lot to them. These things might not hold the most sentimental value, but they don’t want to part with these things. You probably have something like this, too. Be honest with yourself. Maybe it’s a kitchen gadget you don’t use but want to. Or that dusty sewing machine? There’s something and you know what? As long as you’re not a crazy hoarder like I was and it’s only a “something” and not a drawer full of rocks from your garden, I think it’s A-OK.

7. Could it save your life?
Getting rid of emergency items would probably be a bad idea. In fact, be sure you have all the flashlights, emergency food, bottles of water, blankets, etc that you might need in case of an emergency. I grew up in earthquake country and I remember barrels of water in our backyard and lots of canned tuna and green beans on our shelves . . . just in case. Keep in mind that you will have to eat all that before it expires, but it’s still a smart thing to do.

I hope you are now fully equipped with the devil’s advocate version of minimalism and now know why you shouldn’t toss certain things.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Lis Luwia

Originally from California, Lis Luwia worked full time as a business consultant. When her husband was accepted to medical school in Iowa, Lis quit her job and became a homeschooling mother to her (now) 3 children in the Midwest. Lis enjoys the smell of freshly baked bread, long talks with her husband, and going deeper into the Catholic faith. To hear more from Lis, join her tribe here.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading