Home is not my stuff

These past couple of weeks I’ve been slowly dismantling the house.  Bit by bit the house is being stripped of its personality and vibe of who we are as a family.  The walls are bare and there is a hollowness now that wasn’t there before.  And yet with each box I seal up I realize that none of the stuff I’m packing away is what made this house a home.  My family went on ahead of me, my husband to work and my kids to spend a month with their grandparents, and they won’t be coming back here to this house.  The emptiness I’m feeling isn’t because the stuff is disappearing but because the people I love the most are scattered across the country right now and I miss them.  Home is wherever they are.  All of this stuff I’ve spent more time than I care to count boxing up means absolutely nothing without them.

How much money have I wasted over the years trying to make a home when home was right there all along?  How much time have I devoted to my stuff instead of to the people I love?  As I get ready to move on to another chapter in my life, I so desperately want to remember this lesson.  I long to slow down even more and embrace simplicity even further in order to really enjoy the people that matter the most to me.  I think of my girlfriend who lost her 9 year old son almost one year ago and how much she would give to have just one more day with him, to hold him and to love on him.  She’d give everything.

What is it about “stuff” that clogs life and keeps us from living it to the fullest?

Filed under: Motivation-Encouragement, My Life


42 Responses to Home is not my stuff

  1. 1
    DebbieQ says

    So true! We are in the process of what we like to call “right sizing” and I look at all this stuff that we have accumulated and I wonder why. It just becomes a burden that we are, in the end, happier without. As we have sold things and donated things and thrown stuff out it has felt better and better.

  2. 2
    Ally's Corner says

    I’m glad you posted this because this is very true. I see so many blogs where people post almost every day about what that painted or made or changed in their house and I wonder sometimes when they spend time with their family. I guess people have different priorities but I know my children are happier when we have spent time together just playing a game or just hanging out and so it my husband! It’s not about the stuff we surround our selves with.

  3. 3
    se7en says

    Lonely times… I hope the time speeds by till you are all back together again. You are so right people before things, time spent together before time spent sorting. stacking and maintaining. Lots of love to you.

  4. 4
    Kim @ Homesteader's Heart says

    Beautiful post my friend. Those “things” can make a house “homey” but it’s family that makes it truly HOME!

  5. 5
    Paula (Belgium) says

    Can’t read you mentioning the death of a boy (age 9) as a reminder on how much time we lose on housekeeping instead of paying attention to each other. It is so painful and yet so true.
    In times like this it feels great to de-clutter and give it all to poor families.
    But what it is about stuff that eats money and time? I think it is a temporarily identification with it or illusion that we need stuff.

  6. 6
    CHRISTINA says

    It it our families that truly make our home. (Home is where the heart is) But why not surround yourself with the things you love…the problem is that we lose sight of what we LOVE. and end up just filling our houses with stuff.

    @Ally’s corner: There is much to be said for making things for your family and home. I am one who crafts, sews, draws, and often it is done in the presence of my children, who are right there with me “helping”. Or I work at night. I would much rather fill my home with things that I have made or my children than to by factory produced things from the stores…those things I do not love. But a curtain, a quilt made by my own hands that my children are sleeping on, gives me great joy and I see the joy in them too, wearing a mama made hat! I too spend time with my children but my house also needs some things so that we are cozy inside.

  7. 7
    Janel says

    I can truly relate! My first husband passed away after 9 years of marriage ( my sons were 6 & 8 at the time). Before he died, we ordered new couches but they didn’t get delivered until after he was gone. I just loved them so much in the store and once they were delivered, I couldn’t stand them because Ken was not there to enjoy them with me. After he passed, nothing in a material sense mattered to me. Although it’s hard for people to understand this unless they go through it.

    Fast forward 15 years, I am remarried and have a daughter with this marriage. I do like “things or stuff” again, but there will always be a part of me that could care less because I know first hand how important my kids and husband are. Thanks for this post and hopefully the time will pass quickly so you can be with your family again! Blessings, Janel in NJ

  8. 8
    Leighann Marquiss says

    As I unpacking our new house (of one week) this is such a great reminder. I feel like this too when the kids and hubby are gone. I hope you see yours soon.

  9. 9
    heather @ what's blooming this week says

    It’s just stuff. A lesson I learned after my divorce, not much but the clothes on my back, having to rebuild a collection of furniture, dishes, linens and things. It wasn’t the stuff I missed, but the family time. Slowly over the years, I’ve been able to rebuild that family life. It’s the time and closeness that counts, not the stuff.

  10. 10
    Kori says

    Perfect posting.. I needed this as we look at doing a big move that includes a major downsize. I look around my house in the evenings at get tearful of all the memories that have happened here and all the work we have put into it. But you are so right… the new place will just as much become a home as long as we are all together.

  11. 12
    Stephanie says

    You are so right. Good luck with the move. :-)

    And I have to say, I’m a little jealous that you get to finish the packing and stuff while your kids are with Grandma. What a blessing to have that help. Every time we’ve moved (which was a few times before we finally bought our house) I did it with a hubby who worked a lot and small children “helping” me pack and unpack. I’d imagine it’s much less challenging to be organized about it when you don’t have little ones unpacking as you’re trying to pack! lol :-)

    • 12.1
      Edwina says

      Stephanie I so truely agree because I had the same problem everytime I packed my 1 year old and my 5 year old found something they wanted that was in the box or my 5 year old kept asking me why I was putting her stuff in boxes lol, she was very blessed to be able to have time away from the children while packing :)

      • Laura says

        I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have done it all with the kids around and my husband away working. I’m so thankful that my parents were able to take the kids for me. Boy is moving a lot of work that is for sure.


  12. 13
    Jenny says

    Laura, such a beautiful post!! Thanks for sharing.

  13. 14
    Tina says

    So nice! I try to remember that often.

  14. 15
    Marci@OvercomingBusy says

    Laura, what a wonderful post. Now, keep that feeling in the next house. Make it a home by who is in it rather than what is in it. We learn these little lessons along the way. The problem is that we forget them. This is one worth remembering. Thanks for sharing

  15. 16
    Amy says

    Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful, and very true. My husband, my 3 yr old son, and I are getting ready to move, here in about 3-6 months. He is starting a new job soon, and we will be moving shortly after. My husband is a truck driver over the road, so I do know what it is like to be lonely and miss him terribly. My son is starting preschool this fall. And I will be left to pack up the house alone. I don’t mind doing so. Sometimes in life we take things for granted, and don’t realize how much we do until it’s gone. I am happy you will be with your family again soon. And good luck on your move.

  16. 17
    Marci says

    Thank you for sharing your heart today Laura. :) This is something we all need to remember.
    Hugs to you,

  17. 18
    ter@waaoms says

    Thank you.

    You have learned a valuable lesson, and you are teaching it to the masses. You have learned from someone else’s tragic event, so as to hold dear to what you have still.

    I thank you because you are spreading the word, and I hope people take your words wisely and apply it to their lives.

    Home is, indeed, where the heart is.

  18. 19
    Steph says

    I know this may not be the appropriate place but I know you have shared grocery list templates etc and I wanted to share one that I found with you that is excel instead of a printable and its free :) No, this is not a phishing scam or anything. Just wanting to pass along freebie goodness that I found!


    • 19.1
      Edwina says

      Thanks steph I needed something like that

  19. 20
    Joy says

    Thank you for sharing this. This past week, I have thought to myself that it was time to do a clean sweep of the house and get back to the basics. The basics of the family.

  20. 21
    Pam says

    That’s so weird; I’m doing the same thing to my home. For some reason I feel the need to clean out and start over…more sparingly. It sounds like there’s a lot of that going around!

  21. 22
    Barbie says

    We are losing our home, and I am learning to realize that my house is not even my home, but it’s the people in it, and the love of the Lord that makes it a home.

  22. 23
    Miriam says

    Thank you for posting this! Beautifully written and a powerful reminder.

  23. 24
    Allison Erhardt says

    It sucks to feel lonely. I’m going through that, but at hyper speed right now. We bought a house yesterday. We take possession in a week and a half, and we have to be out of our current home on August 12. That doesn’t give me much time.

    I’ve been putting off packing because of the “striping my home of home” feeling. Home is where you make it. Home is where your family is. but there is still something about making your place your home that we all feel, no matter how much stuff you put in it.

    I hope this goes quickly for you. for me, I have such an emotional attachment to the memories of my home. I still feel called to my first house… I was married there (well, not in the house, but most of my photos were taken there) I brought my first child home to that house. I got engaged in the kitchen of that house… and I don’t live there anymore.

    Now we’re moving from our second home to our third. But its our two children and our cat that will make this so to be our house a home. Not what we bring with us.

    Good luck with your move Laura! I hope it goes really smoothly.

  24. 25
    Amy Williams says

    Thank you for this post: We are currently in the moving process as well! I couldn’t quite figure out what my funk was, but you hit the nail right on the head!

  25. 26
    Julie says

    Thanks for this article. It made my day! It’s true–it’s not the stuff it’s the people that make a house a home.

  26. 27
    April says

    Thank you for much for sharing your perspective on stuff. We all collect it and for what? My mother passed away a couple of months ago and so we have been in the process of going through her stuff. She couldn’t part with it but in the end she had to anyway. Now that she is gone the stuff doesn’t have the same meaning. She was what made her home interesting not so much her stuff.

  27. 28
    Laurel Briggs says

    Sometimes I think it does take a move to fully realize that. We do put alot of time and effort into making our houses homes, and sometimes we lose sight that it is not the things but the activities and events that create homes. We sold and bought last winter and still have stuff in boxes, and as we have celebrated Christmas, thrown birthday parties, and Easter Egg hunts in the house, I realize I don’t miss them, so most are going to the thrift stores. Its the memories that are making this our home.

  28. 29
    Amber says

    Now that you’ve realized it and you’ve put it into words, I don’t think you’ll forget. Just move forward with this in mind. :-)

  29. 30
    Nanette says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been looking around our home over the past few months thinking I need to paint and change things – not happy with the pictures and other stuff we have had for years as decorations. I have decided that my decorating is going to be pictures of my family.

  30. 31
    Gayle says

    I once had a boss who told me, “When you are lying on your death bed, the LAST thing you will say to yourself is ‘I wish I had worked more.'” Says it all, huh? It’s sad that sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us of what our priorities should be. I’m thankful God has allowed me to learn how important family is while I still have a little not-so-gray hair.! Thanks for being sensitive enough of the truly important things to send us a reminder. Even though I know it’s not been a lot fun packing alone in an empty house, it’s nice how this time will influence your future with your family.

  31. 32
    Melinda says

    What a nice reminder that people make the home, not things. I never regret putting off a project, the laundry, or the dishes to sit on the floor with my little one and play a game of Dominoes or ..sigh…5 Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed for the 100th time. The important things are memories that can’t be packed up in a box and luckily they don’t cause clutter.

  32. 33
    Amy says

    This is my first time here–I’m loving it!
    I am in the process of redecorating/remodeling our little house. I always tell myself (and my husband) that making our home into a place we love is a worthwhile process. I do believe that, but it’s nice to have a reminder that it’s the people who make my house a home; not the color of the walls. :)
    @DebbieQ: I love the idea of “right-sizing!”

  33. 34
    Ann says

    After a life of deep devotion between a father and daughter, I lost him last year. I moved back home where I was raised and am working on his farm to meet his “farm contracts”, I closed up my very successful business to do so, to honor him. I have been “cleaning” the rooms out of bad memories of many years of torrid abuse at my mother’s hands, and now I am the last of my family tree. The Lord has lifted the 24-7 grief of my father’s passing and I am now finally immersed in His peace. I know I will see my father again. My Lord and Savior has promised me that and I too would give anything…everything to see him one more time. We were always so close, shopping together, calling each other every day to visit, and now he has been taken from me. Recently the Lord have my the kick in the buns I needed, releasing me from my grief and I ran headlong into stripping the rooms and barns here of Dad’s accumulated possessions, having estate sales and garage sales, painting rooms so we can move over by this Christmas officially….

    I will keep you in my prayers Barbie, yes remember the home – whatever it is- cardboard box or car or mobilehome or mansion, is only a stepping stone, and it stays behind when we go to Heaven. It may seem like a step or two back, but the Lord is always working on something special for us, something better, altho we cannot see it, be at peace, be patient……I pray for His strength and peace upon you and yours, keeping you safe and strong, ever vigilante.

  34. 35
    Jai'me says

    Up until a few years ago, I was top of the world. Big corporate job, lots of great things, big house, nice car, never been stuck on materialism, but all great things to have……….there by the grace of God go I. My husband was hurt badly at work and they fired him for it, not the guy who hurt him. I went to attorneys left and right and no one would take it for under 35,000. (you know attorneys, prestige and fame)……..we started falling down the “hill” of bad times after bad times. Long story short, we ended up losing everything and sleeping at the local shelter. I have an excellent skillset and started helping out in the office there, and voluntarily doing jobs around there that needed done. My husband passed on from complications from the injury. One day a nice man came into the shelter and I overheard a conversation about me and what I was doing there at the shelter and what I did for them.. He took me to lunch the next day and gave me a nice car, nice lil house furnished, and a great job. I have since expanded the jobs I do for him and last Christmas he gave me a bonus check of $20,000.

    The Lord was with me every step of the way. Always look UP and you will never stumble……..

  35. 36
    Charlene says

    Boy does this speak to me. I’m at the beginning of the process…our house is under contract, we have bought a house in our new location – all to happen at the end of August…and I’m here at home with our son packing up and all the zillions of little details involved in the move. I am so aware of the STUFF I have and how meaningless it really is – it felt important at the time I wanted it, and I enjoy being surrounded by some things, especially those with memories tied to them, but I want less stuff, I hope I can maintain the desire to live more simply in our new home. I’m making several trips to consignment shops and Goodwill and getting rid of a lot, it feels good. I hope you are enjoying settling in your new home!

  36. 37
    S Brown says

    So true! We downsized out of our home a few years back and have been renting ever since. Each year, we have found a smaller apartment and have learned to live within our space and beneath our means and income. We have more money in savings in case of emergency and less stuff and have less stress and more happiness. For birthdays, we ask for donations to charity in our kids’ name instead of gifts. If our kids want something and we agree its a good purchase WE buy it thus having more control over what comes in. We exercise a one for one policy. If we buy something new something else has to be removed/donated/etc.


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