Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. ( 2 Corin 8:14, NLT)
That verse came to mind this morning as I cleaned out my closet. It may not be Spring cleaning time, but I recognized I had more than enough things and I really hate the clutter. I was recently reading a post on Rhiannon Duffin’s blog and became inspired to really play hardball with getting rid of clothing I do not wear. The tough thing is that there are a ton of clothes I don’t wear, but they are still nice. I’ve talked myself into keeping them because I remember the price I paid and what store I bought them from, or who gifted them to me. I was basically justifying the clutter around me. I have two filled closets, under bed storage, and space organizers heaped with clothes. This is not something to be proud of– it’s really quite silly. What is the point of having plenty if I do not use it?
I thought about some of the clothing that still has the tags, or work clothing that no longer fits. Somewhere (likely somewhere nearby), there is a woman who could use a new dress, or a pair of pants to wear to an interview for a job that will feed her family. That’s when I got the cleaning bug. What other things do I have in excess that I can share? Food? Office supplies? It really is rather freeing to just get rid of things.
Sometimes I wish for more in life, when I haven’t even been diligent enough to clear out the old. I remember fights with my mom in grade school every August. I would say I needed new school clothes, she would say she would not purchase so much as a sock until I got rid of the clothes that no longer fit. This standoff never resulted in me winning, and she was right. Why would she reward me with new clothing when I was still holding onto the old?
Many of us look around at our home decor, and may have things we still want. I am definitely guilty of this. In the interim, getting rid of clutter can make a home look more “together” and it can also reveal opportunities for creativity which may have otherwise not been recognized. Freeing up new space makes room for home DIY projects, and the chance to rearrange furniture.
A few tips….
1. When going out of town, think of a neighbor or friend you can give extra food to instead of letting it spoil in your fridge.
2. Share your bulk items.
3. Get rid of clothing that hasn’t been worn in over a year and develop a good storage system for seasonal clothing items– and I don’t mean those HORRID novelty Christmas sweaters. You can throw those away!
4. Have clothing swap parties. Invite friends over for brunch and trade. Give the rest to charity.
5. Cook what you buy. Sometimes it’s tempting to eat out when you have had a long day. If this becomes a habit, you could be allowing good food to spoil as you burn a little hole in your wallet.
6. Make it a habit to routinely check for things to get rid of in closets, freezers, the fridge, the trunk of your car, etc.
When I don’t think I have much at all, my reminder is to give from the areas of my life where I do have plenty. Although we don’t give to get, it always works that the most generous people always have more than enough. I think we get into the spirit of Christmas and are inspired to help those in need, but there are many who need help long before Christmas and long after. So I propose new a season of giving–one that lasts all year long.