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Question: I have read Abby Sasscer's e-book, Simplifying Your Domestic Church and have used many of her ideas to detach from so much stuff and to simplify my home. Since we are now taking a much needed vacation from homeschooling, I have had more time to devote to simplifying. My question is this, how can I encourage my reluctant husband and my daughter to help me in having order in our domestic church? My daughter likes to keep "everything" and does not want to part with drawings, rocks, shells, holy cards, craft projects which remind her of certain vacations, friends, etc. My husband needs a little encouragement in putting things back where they belong. The better question would be, how can I show him that things (like his keys, glasses, cellphone) need a "home"?
Answer:

Dear Parent,

Thank you so much for your email. I, too, struggle with this so be assured that you are not alone in your plight. These are the challenges that are so common in most domestic churches and here are several ideas that may help you:

  1. You can provide a home for your husband's belongings such as having a special drawer in the living room or a basket on top of his dresser. A great way to encourage him is to point out the familial benefits of centralizing things in one place (less stress, easy access to things, efficiency of the system).
  2. Provide a home for your daughter's special belongings and create a simple system to keep things flowing. For example, once containers are full, you can encourage her to "detach" by reminding her that it is time to make room for new things and that she needs to give others a chance to enjoy them.
  3. Drawings can be placed in folders and can be passed onto others later as greeting cards or wrapping paper for birthdays or Christmas.  Drawings can also be collated and given as special gifts, especially for grandparents.
  4. Rocks and shells can be placed in little cloth bags and when these bags are full, they need to be shared with others. This is a great time to remind her that it's okay to have special things but if you have too many special things, the "specialness" could get lost in the shuffle.
  5. Holy cards can be used as bookmarks or placed in special albums. Once an album is full, prayer cards can be added to your "candy bags" that you give out during All Saints' Day Parties.
  6. Arts and crafts projects can be placed in a box and can be passed on later as presents to family and friends.  They can also be passed onto Senior citizen homes where a child's craft project can easily brighten someone's day.
  7. Taking pictures of projects and placing them in scrapbooks or albums can really help in detaching. Remind her that losing memorabilia doesn't mean losing memories.
  8. Set aside a time of the month or year (preferably Advent and Lent) to declutter as a family. Encourage your family to fill up at least one bag for love of Jesus and the poor. In our home, family members get a special reward if they fill up a bag for give-away. Rewards can be a special fieldtrip or it can be buying a little something new from a local thrift shop.
  9. Have a special one-on-one talk with your husband and your daughter about the desires of your heart. Let them know it means a lot to you to live simply so you are not distracted, so you can focus on being a better wife and mother. I always share an image with my family of a ship being loaded with freight on a dock.  At one point, this ship has to unload at another dock.  If we keep loading things without unloading them, the ship WILL sink!
  10. Pray as a family and offer your simplification project for a very special intention.

 

We could do everything we can to encourage our family but in the end, I have learned that it sometimes best to let go of things we cannot control. That in itself is one of the greatest challenges of detachment. Our hope lies in our Lord in that while He cannot always change our situations, He has the power to change our hearts!

I hope this helps and may God bless you in your journey to simplify!

Abby Sasscer

Author of Simplifying Your Domestic Church



   
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