It’s been a long time since I’ve had to sell a house. I was dreading it, but as with most challenges, it has brought it's own gift. We have cleared out bookshelves and knick-knacks, we’ve thinned the contents of closets, cupboards, and countertops, we’ve moved out old furniture, and we’ve donated multiple bags of clothing and carloads of stuff. We’ve painted and polished, scrubbed and shined, touched up and replaced. We have passed on treasures we hope others can use. Our house now looks and feels spacious—so spacious that someone else can walk through our home and imagine it as theirs, holding their very own stuff. I hope so. I pray every day for God to send a family here who will love living here as much as we have.
I think of this prayer in the morning, when I must take extra time to make sure the sinks are clean, the garbage is empty, the counters are clear, the dishes are washed, the mailed is managed, and all the flotsam and jetsam that can accumulate during the previous day is tucked away. Some days it feels like a hassle, especially if I’m running late for work. Yet other days, I affirm that I am not doing this as a short-term stint, but as a new daily habit. How would my life feel if I always kept such a spare and orderly home, where cleaning up and putting away was done for me and my peace, rather than to “stage” my home for sale?
I have come to relish coming home to a pristine home that remains beautiful and picked up and cleared of extra stuff. The spaciousness around me opens up a spaciousness within me. I have more energy for tasks in the evening, I can focus longer at work, time seems more readily available, my to-do list feels a little less daunting.
It’s become so clear why simplicity, sparseness and releasing attachments to stuff are necessarily part of a deepening spiritual path. A spare environment can lead us to an abundant inner posture as distractions, busy-ness, detail-management, worldly desires, and other agendas fade away—there is no junk around to remind us of all that the world wants us to be and do. I can look inside for what needs to be done. I can ask God what I might do with this offering of time and space. I can connect with those I love. I can more readily ease my way into the peace that allows my body to relax and rest. I can give thanks. I can be.