Updated: Nov 22, 2019

How is it possible? How can a family of 5 acquire so much STUFF. This post is meant to be mainly a reflection on the "stuff" and the process of letting it all go.

It is amazing to me how quickly our lives are filled with material things. I feel we've added extra since we've been on this homeschool journey the last 3 years. It's been an interesting dichotamy for me as a missionary kid. On the one hand I learned at a very young age that things are just things. In order to move around as much as we did, we had no choice but to constantly evaluate if something was worth keeping or not. But also as a missionary kid we didn't have a lot of extra money laying around (shocking, right?!) So when you have a sock or a glass jar or a lamp shade, the possibility of repurposing them into something practical is like missionary GOLD. So do you see the dilemma? If I get rid of too much then when the need arises.... maybe the money won't be there to buy what is needed. These are the thoughts of this missionary kid.

Once I became Mrs. Ballew and started having children the space to keep material things grew. Keeping trinkets for art projects, re-purposing, and homeschool became a sort of responsible practice. When we moved a year and a half ago I realized just how much STUFF had accumulated for the "chance" we would need half a pool noodle, or a box of paper clips.

We moved into a bigger home with more space to acquire more things. Danger, Danger!

And so it goes....

We have three months. Three months to find a place for every single thing we own. I like categories. So I've been able to boil it down to these four in our lives right now:

1. Trash

2. Sell....... Give

3. Costa Rica

4. Colombia

Assigning a value to an object has been interesting....what is it really worth? I decided with my entire homeschool estate to have people name a price. It has taken away so much stress and the potential that someone would overlook taking something they want or need because of a price tag I've assigned.

Selling and giving our things away has been bittersweet, but an emphasis on the sweet. :) I have found the most difficult part is making the connection in my mind that getting rid of an object does not take the memory away. As a friend was looking through my sensory bin collection, I saw pictures of the girls sitting and playing for hours flash by. The bin of colorful pasta and swatches of fabric will not be the only way to keep those memories alive. Giving them to a friend to make new memories with her children brings me such peace and happiness. Knowing that they may remember us when they play with something is an amazing catharsis.

As things go, I can't help but feel physically and emotionally lighter. Every item we will be taking to Costa Rica will be for a specific purpose. There is a freeing that happens in not having a junk drawer (or in my case BIN)!

And at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff. People are what I will miss the most.

Joel & Angel Ballew


Joel's Skype ID: joelballew

Angel's Skype ID: angelynnballew

Twitter: @joelballew


U.S. Address:

1730 Sugarloaf Club Drive

Duluth, GA  30097

Colombian Address:

The Ballew's

Carrera 52 No. 90-187

Barranquilla, Atlantico

South America

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