Becoming ‘clutter-free in ‘23’

Published 5:32 am Wednesday, January 11, 2023

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At the beginning of every year, I pray for a word or a theme. This year, “Clutter-Free in ‘23” dominated my thoughts. It didn’t sound spiritual, yet I couldn’t deny how strongly I felt it should be my goal, nor could I deny the benefit my house would receive from a thorough decluttering.

I started small. A stack of mail here and a pile of books there were put in their places before I tackled the laundry room, the smallest room in my house. At some point during the process, I looked at a glass gallon jug I got during the time my sister Kay was in the hospital. That jug always evokes memories of those horrible weeks when my sister lay in a hospital bed, undiagnosed and dying. While I will not likely forget any of the emotions I experienced during the last season of Kay’s life on earth, I was tired of that tangible trigger. I picked up the jug and added it to the box filled with donations.

My new criteria for decluttering doesn’t stop with “What do I really need?” It now includes “What do I really want?” Before I knew it, my thoughts were subjected to a cleanup as well. Some of my self-talk are words I would never utter to a friend or even a stranger. My clutter-free goal now encompasses much more than the original closet cleanup.

When it comes to my thoughts, I don’t have to create a checklist. It’s all written down in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”


Ronny Michel can be reached at