Dealing with Possessions

“Too much stuff” can be a challenge at any point in life. I read a terrific article by two newlyweds who discovered a way to “navigate the jungle of wedding gifts,” offered an alternative giving site for their wedding, and worked out some powerful “slow living practices” that they are instigating in their young-adult lives. (To read their article, go to

Too much stuff can happen at the other end of our adult lives, too, when people need to downsize. Just as the newlyweds talked about the emotional value of the eclectic dishes and household items they brought to their marriage, older adults find many possessions invested with personal meaning from all their past experiences. While moving to a smaller place is some years off yet for my husband and me, I’m beginning the process now. Books are a big part of my cherished possessions, so I’m thinking of particular categories of books that a specific person or group might appreciate and use. My plan is to contact the possible recipients and start delivering the books. That way, my bookshelves will begin to clear out more and more over time, and I’ll know that the recipients value what I gave away.

It’s a small step compared to the more dramatic decisions of those newlyweds. But every step is a good start and keeps us on the journey toward simpler living.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub