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Live A Life "Unstuffed"

Ruth has a wonderful life sharing how to live clutter-free, but she learned it at a tremendous cost. She married young, and battled a painfully long two and a half year journey through deep clinical depression. The depression was triggered when a man from her childhood died. Her parents had a travel business and left him to care for Ruth, age 6, and her brother while they were away. He molested her for years until a teacher noticed Ruth’s behavior and suggested her parents spend more time with her.

Ruth never told her parents but held it inside because of the man’s threats. She attempted suicide five times, was in and out of facilities, and finally hit rock bottom. She divorced, became bankrupt, and completely alone. Her life changed when she accepted Christ. She learned that material things couldn’t fill the emptiness inside. Only God could fill the space. Over the years, her priorities have changed.  She says a life well lived is not so much about what we have as who we are.

Ruth says clutter can be physical, mental, or even spiritual. Her passion is speaking to the woman who is feeling overwhelmed with life and to those feeling weighed down with the stuff of life. She transforms the way people view clutter that takes up their homes, minds and lives. She says, “We are all drowning in a sea of unrelenting clutter-this stuff- that threatens to wash us away unless we somehow learn to swim… We have to choose our stuff well or it may just bury us alive.” She says it is important to keep only what is purposeful and meaningful. An important scripture in this context is Hebrews 12:1 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” She gives several areas that will help people deal with the “stuff” of life.

  • Creating a Vision for Your Home - Ruth says most people have an internalized ideal about how their home should be used. Often we are not realistic about how our home should look or what its purpose should be. Before we try to organize the home, Ruth says we should create a vision for the space. Ruth’s vision for her own home is that it would be a place where people that she loves can gather and not feel like they have to be so careful that they aren’t comfortable. She wants it to be a space where her kids can play, and a spill or two on the couch isn’t the end of the world. She says her home doesn’t need to look like a home decorating magazine or a Pinterest project, as long as her loved ones are comfortable there.
  • Dealing with Guilt - Ruth says the question that she gets most often is, “What do I do with guilt?” She says people feel guilty for getting rid of gifts, items that are expensive, or have sentimental value. She says we need to learn not to feel guilty for getting rid of items that are no longer useful or helpful. This means sometimes graciously saying no to a gift, or realizing that sentimental items aren’t the memory itself. We can hold on to the memory and get rid of the item.
  • Schedule - Sometimes we fill our schedules with different activities and engagements because we think a busy life is a meaningful one. Ruth says a meaningful life is one where your activities have purpose. She says there are signals that mean your life might be too busy. Signs of an overscheduled life can be physical symptoms, like being frequently ill, feeling run down, or having unexplained digestive issues. They can also be emotional symptoms like feeling overwhelmed, confused, anxious, or angry. In relationships, you may notice that you and your spouse fight frequently, or that you feel frustrated with your children. Spiritually, you may neglect time in prayer or reading  the bible. Finally, practical symptoms include missing appointments or important dates, being late paying bills, or dropping the ball and making mistakes at work because you can’t keep up. To get control of your schedule, Ruth recommends several steps. She says we should learn to say no when necessary. Many people have a hard time saying no, but creating boundaries is important. She also advises creating a schedule that works for your family. Each family has different needs but by creating a unique schedule, you can guard the important things while making time for rest. Finally, she says it is important to make wise choices. Choosing to do some things means you will have to give other things up. Make your choices count!

Mentioned in the Video



Guest Info


Founder of Living Well Spending Less finance blog

Author of several bestselling books, latest Unstuffed (Zondervan, 2016)

Public speaker and presenter for 5 years, presents at large and small events

Regular contributor to WINK News, Southwest FL as a money saving expert

Has appeared on 20 local and national television and radio programs, including The Daily Buzz, and NewsWatch

Featured in several publications including Women’s Day, Women’s World, and Redbook

Husband, Chuck

Two daughters, Maggie and Annie


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