Organization: people vs. stuff

Matthew 6:21  For where your treasure is,

there will your heart be also.

Based on the number of books, blog, television shows, and products aimed at helping us live more productively, organize our homes and offices, and schedule our time effectively, there is an underlying emphasis on organization as being about stuff- moving stuff, arranging stuff, getting rid of stuff. What do we need, what should we keep, what can we toss. But organization has to start with how we think. We tend to think about how our stuff controls us, and if we could keep our stuff in pretty bins, or just get that handy-dandy label maker, we would finally be in control. But stuff doesn't accumulate on its own, or move on its own. Stuff can't be held responsible for our frustration, and more stuff won't necessarily relieve it.

To take control of our stuff and our lives, we have to take responsibility for how our thinking processes contribute to the problem. One more organizational chart, planner, book, or method isn't going to fix anything as long as we are blaming stuff for our problems. Reading books and blogs about how to organize our stuff is like watching exercise videos to lose weight.

When we realize that our stuff- home, furniture, books, dishes, food, clothes. pictures, and even tchotchkes, are just tools, we can begin to gain control over our environment. We often give stuff additional meaning and value based on emotional connections, memory, and affection, and this is where we get confused and begin to allow our tools to use us, instead of the other way around.

This doesn't mean that we can't be sentimental about stuff, but stuff isn't people. Grandma's quilt, the baby's shoes, Aunt Edith's antique vase- these things remind us of Grandma, Aunt Edith, and when our child was young, but these things are not Grandma, Aunt Edith, or our baby. Sometimes, however, we treat things as if they had the feelings of the people we love and the memories we cherish. We feel real pain at the idea of letting any of these things go.

Organization begins with reprogramming our minds to take control of stuff, and that starts by putting stuff in its place. This allows us to prioritize, and prioritizing is the way we decide when and where and how we will live.

Matthew 6:19-20  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Scripture tell us to treasure things that are eternal. God is eternal, and so is the human soul. What we do that brings honor and glory to God, and what we do to be a help and blessing to others, is what truly matters, and keeping this thought in the front of our minds will serve to guide us as we prioritize our time and make decisions about stuff.