Uncluttering: What is Where?

The picture says it all. There are thousands of “finds” in dad’s shop. Just try to find something, specific. You can, umm…eventually. This is what moving onto mom and dad’s place can be like after they are gone.

Dads been gone awhile and everything here was a part of his life. I have siblings that will walk in, look around and then weep. Almost every item is a story and we do not want to forget any of our stories. But, dad is gone and he left a lot of stuff. Do you need a 7/16 wrench? we have about 30 of them, I think, somewhere. When dad couldn’t find the 9/16 wrench he just bought a new set.

It’s taken me 4 months to come up with 39 plans for a useable shop. The hardest part is getting past the clutter and potential inventory to prioritizing what and how we will use the shop. What stays, what goes, where is what? does what work? and, can we walk into the shop and grab it? It’s always been a family shop and it will continue to be that way so it might as well be useful.

When I stare at the image of the cluttered shop, I see life. I see the clutter that builds up in relationships when words are not put in their proper place. Angry words are kept and not thrown away. Broken promises are not mended, they are just put aside with the new promises. Generations hoard and pass on life clutter. Clutter becomes ingrained in culture. Honesty, truth and moral values become lost in the clutter and are deemed unusable in an end-justifies-the-means society. Even our faith can become so cluttered it ends up as a burden too heavy to drag around. Possibly too expensive to fix. Let’s face it, fixing clutter will cost us, often more than we want to pay. Like sin it also keeps us longer than we want to stay.

Clutter can be found everywhere. Imagine trying to have a conversation with someone who keeps looking at their text messages (Oh, you don’t have to imagine). Imagine trying to pray in the morning while thinking of all the things you need to get done for the day (no…not you too?). Imagine… and I believe you have already thought of an area you may want to unclutter, even you neat freaks!

What do you think? It’s a start and yes it’s the same shop. Piles are now gone and the pegboard is full of things that we can walk in the shop and find what we are looking for. New shelves are in place with more coming. Lot’s of intentional work from a vision of what it will be. I’m using tools that can now be found. Constant decluttering will be a new norm. Fixing or replacing the broken, fences, gates, signs, posts, faith, prayer and all kinds of relationships. Decluttering.

Now I can go fishing or sit down and have coffee with my wife. I can get up early in the morning, read, pray, take some pictures from the deck in bare feet as the day dawns. I am at peace as the gathering winds of clutter are dissipating. “Honey, have you seen my shoes?”

“They are on the deck I think…it’s cold out there!” Oh, and that one set of footprints in the frost…they are m-m-m-mine.


Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus. Love God and family and total strangers

37 thoughts on “Uncluttering: What is Where?

  1. Great post and reflections Gary. I agree wholeheartedly that clutter is not only in things…it creeps in as you so well stated…in every aspect of life.

    Your poignant point stunned my thinking ( “Honesty, truth and moral values become lost in the clutter and are deemed unusable in an end-justifies-the-means society”) Much food for thought in that sentence for me
    What excellent progress from the second photo, clearly a lot of loving work to make the shop usable has been done.
    Thank you for a great share, lots of food for thought. Peace and blessings to you.😊🙏

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank You Suzette. there really is a transformation happening in that shop. New lights, clean floor, found a welder and several power tools that work. A big bone pile outside to be hauled away. When I started writing on this topic, I realized how applies to our cultural drifts and how natural so much clutter has overtaken our media, politics, work ethic and seemingly compromises integrity without an accountability system. Letting God say what is right and wrong is a key for me personally.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Augh, clutter! Yes, it is better to keep our lives free of clutter as we go. But sometimes that’s not possible: it’s not our life, or other people come and interfere with what we have planned for ourselves, or we don’t have the talent for organization…
    Look at the blessings God gave you in your restoration: not just the peace of order and ease of finding things, but the metaphors, similes, and ideas that floated around as you worked through your chores. PLUS being able to share them with us!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So True Kathy. you found the silver lining in the old ratty cleaning coat. It also helps one understand the process of restoration be it a shop or a relationship or a correction course in character. It’s a tough process…So glad God puts up with my whining’s in his process with me

      Liked by 3 people

  4. No doubt some treasures in there. My grandad passed in 2008 & much of his tool shop in the garage hasn’t been touched. It’s almost like you don’t want to move anything in case he comes back he would find things the way he left them. It’s funny how we think in these terms.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s true Alan. No matter how you approach it, emotions and reason duke it out. I have 6 siblings who have contributed to the stuff in there. We all use it for hunting, fishing, fixing out trucks, cars, ATV’s. and lawn mowers. Being the oldest and I moved back home, I have become at least a part time player-coach for the family, making things hopefully less complicated.
      You should go ahead and touch the stuff in grandpa’s tool shop…perhaps some closure you didn’t know would happen. Although…you might imagine voices…really

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful post, Gary, and encouraging to see a “before” and “after.’ We live in a cluttered culture ~ if each of us could just unclutter our part. Blessings in your new surroundings and your example for the younger.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I unfortunately live in clutter. For long stretches of time, I can look beyond it, but other days, I feel dirty and hopeless. When I feel hopeless , I am usually tired from lack of sleep. My family seems fine living amongst filth. They do not pickup after themselves, and expect me to do all the work. I can’t keep up, and I’m messy myself, but this is too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You say so much with so few words. I remember years ago advising a man who was engaged. His fiancée complained he was too busy with church. Others advised him that he was the man and she needed to submit. I advised him to look for the fruit in his many ministries. And if he didn’t find any fruit in some of them then drop them. I don’t know what he did. But if he had listened to the other guys I think he did a great disservice to his wife and his church.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, many words and rabbit trails confuse and often take the form of a blind squirrel looking for a nut.
      Sadly, so many people in ministry are like this. I might have advised her to think twice about marrying a guy who was already married to “his” ministries. you advised wisely. ministry is God’s and we should join Him in what he is doing. I wonder if he saw taking care of a family as a ministry a well.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. So true. Thanks for this, Gary. Having a cluttered mind can be a root to all sorts of clutter.
    I’m reminded that standing on solid foundational thinking removes much clutter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your great cluttering message deserves some comments. First, most of us would think we had died and gone somewhere special if we had a son like Gary with such awesome organizational skills. I write in total admiration. Second, don’t let brothers in unsupervised.

    But I immediately begin wondering. As you have plowed through dad’s great unorganized treasures, what did you find. Were there some awesome surprises even of stuff he had long ago forgotten where he had put it – so would buy another. What interesting discovers were revealed. Any hidden cash?

    I am just having fun. Hope you are too. But I am sure that you going through the treasures brought many special reminders of your great dad.

    My best, John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes John. First, to set the record straight, if my wife reads that you think I’m organized she may need to go to ER from laughing too hard. second, I have dads big pickup truck that came to me with a broken 5th wheel tail gate (not the nice original). I was told no one had ever seen it so he must have ordered it new without the regular gate…We found it early last week sitting on a barrel laying flat with a movers blanket over it being used as a table with several overflowing boxes full of stuff against the wall behind a router table with a big router on it also full of boxes of stuff. I was just going to pay $1500 for the fancy tailgate painted to match but never got around to ordering it. I’m feeling like the redneck that mowed his lawn and found a car.
      Ya, my brothers think I “hover” a bit. About dad. He was a great man and awesome dad. The last 4 years without mom put him into a tailspin he just couldn’t or didn’t want to, recover from…thus the mess


  10. Decluttering is freeing whether that be as small as an overstuffed drawer to the bigger things in life that you are taking on. What a great metaphoric image to illustrate decluttering one’s life. Thanks for the message within your story. Blessing as you continue on.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah yes, the clutter of life. I have to pray every morning for the Lord to clear away from my mind the unholy, untrue, unimportant, and the unnecessarily negative. (The depraved, the deceiving, the distracting, and the dark) Only then is there room for the true, noble, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) As the mind goes, so goes my day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank You. I wish I was naturally organized. This process is painful for me. I just bought a giant tool chest for hopefully all the wrench and socket sets as well as the air tools.


  12. Gary,
    I guess it’s time to head down to the basement and take a look at my dad’s workbench with all those nails and screws and nuts and washers…or should I head up to the attic to all those boxes of my mom’s writings and research for the book she had hoped to one day write…or…? It’s extra challenging buying your parents’ house when they left a lot behind. It’s priceless, it’s endless, where do I start but within my own heart? Nail by nail, screw by screw, washer by washer…:)

    What a beautiful, inspiring, encouraging post. Now what I do with it remains to be seen…by God’s Grace 🙂
    Thank you. If you can do it, I can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes you can deb. Think of everything passed on as a book that you are editing, then edit ruthlessly yet lovingly and carefully after determining worthy goals of what will add real (not just emotional) value to your life. what helped me was to realize I didn’t have to fill dad’s shoes, He did that and he’s gone. God gave me a different set of shoes to fill. (i wrote about that…”filling dads shoes”)
    You are a great writer so you know the editing process much better than me.
    Have fun!


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