Sunday Inspiration: Too Much Junk to Be Grateful For

Too Much JunkHave you heard the song about “Too Much Stuff”?

I feel that way sometimes. I have lots of stuff, not as much as some, but way more than others. And I feel guilty about it.

Part of my problem is figuring out what’s stuff and what’s junk. I hate junk. It serves no purpose whatever except to take up room and make my house — and closet — look cluttered. I definitely have too much junk.

But I have trouble getting rid of anything. I keep thinking I might use these things some day, even though I know the chances are slim to none.

If I could only tell the difference between stuff and junk.

One difference might be whether I really need it or not. I need pots and pans and dishes and furniture and clothes, but too often I fall for an impulse buy until I get home, take a look and realize I’ll use it in some other lifetime but not this one. Junk!

Of course sometimes I buy something I don’t really need because it’s beautiful or ingenious or just plain amazing. There is room in our lives for things that just put a smile on our faces. Right?

The test is that we if we don’t need it, we don’t appreciate it, and we aren’t even grateful for it, then we can call it junk. Off it goes to Goodwill… I hope. Oh, unless it’s sentimental. Like Mom’s old dishes or Dad’s old fishing rod. Don’t touch them, okay?

I love Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog on Momastery titled “Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt.” After showing some family photos Glennon received a blitz of emails from her blog readers about ways she could to renovate her dated kitchen. She even received new photos of what it could look like if she only put a little effort and creativity into it.

But after thinking hard, she realized she loved her kitchen just the way it was, not so much because of its beauty (you can tell from the photos that it’s serviceable but not much more), but because of the many meals she has cooked in it, the love that has been shared, the memories that have been made. Beyond that? Her kitchen was filled with miracles. A box to keep food cold when so much of the world must watch food spoil. Water coming out of a tap in her kitchen when so many women and children must walk miles to fill buckets. A medicine cabinet with nothing but vitamins and simple remedies because no one in the family was sick.

Did she need more?

Maybe stuff becomes sacred to us when we realize it’s really a package of stories and shared moments that we not only appreciate but can be so very thankful for.

What stuff are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving? And what junk are you willing to part with?

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



  1. Terry Guerra on November 23, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Dear Emilie,

    This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with the past few months – moving my parents out of their home of 45 years, deciding what to keep, what to pass along to the children and granchildren, what to take to our favorite consignment shop, and what to take to Goodwill. I love to be surrounded by family items I know and cherish – my grandmother’s cutting board, my other grandmother’s cabbage shredder. Now I am surrounded my items from my parents’ home, each one with a memory. What’s a daughter to do?

    • Emilie Richards on November 23, 2014 at 7:55 am

      This has to be difficult, Terry. I wish you the best as you decide.

  2. Martha on November 23, 2014 at 9:20 am

    My husband and I are beginning to go through EVERYTHING in an effort to down-sizie so our children will not have to make those decisions. It is physically, emotionally and sentimentally difficult. My goal is to follow my grandmother’s plan: Everything she had that she wanted specific family members to have was given before it became necessary for her to give up maintaining her own home. She enjoyed being a part of other family member’s happiness. Since it was her specific reasoning (who and what), as far as I know, there were no hurt feelings. The recipients reveled in her happiness as well as their own. Nevertheless, the decisions are difficult. One blessing: just this week, I found a charity that will take my years of magazine collections (over 200) and distribute them to VA hospitals across the country. And, just as I was about to reluctantly recycle them in mixed paper at the landfill. Maybe that is an omen that I am doing a good thing, at least in some areas.

    • Emilie Richards on November 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

      What a smart idea, Martha, and how happy I am you found that charity to recycle those magazines. For some reason I find magazines particularly difficult to part with, so I’m proud of you. I do know how you feel.

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