My Bible study group has decided to undertake the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge to declutter for Lent. You can read the previous post I wrote about it here and see how the lesson for that week tied in perfectly, urging us to detach ourselves from material possessions and store up our treasures in heaven.
For me, I got a big nudge when Hubs noted we were growing out of our perfectly fine and large enough house. We live far better than most of the world, and the real rub was realizing that by my hanging onto these things that other people could be using, I am depriving them. (See my mittens comment in the above link. Though it only came out to be three extra pair of mittens...)
One thing upon which my entire study group agreed was that we each needed to make adjustments for our family. Those who worked full time should not come home and ignore their family for the sake of decluttering! We also wanted to avoid too much work on Sunday, which is supposed to be a day of rest but for many, is anything but that. We also agreed that any size "bag" would be deemed appropriate. Finally, we noted that it was up to each person as to what they did with their bags.
If people had the storage space, they could hang onto their items until the annual rummage sale fundraiser. I also sent out an e-mail with the hours our local Catholic Social Services thrift store is open, contact information regarding our local Freecycle and Sell-It-Here groups (we don't really have Craigslist around here), and I also included info for our local domestic violence shelter. Our tiny local thrift store accepts donations at all times, as we discussed at our meeting. I'm also trying to get creative, for example since my spotted kitty came from a Humane Society, I'm taking two bags of towels to the local one (and a bag of rugs if they want them).
Already, I have compiled more than 30 bags of stuff. Some are plastic shopping bag sized, some are paper grocery bag sized, some are garbage bag sized, and one will be even bigger when we get rid of our old entertainment center. I also need to admit that so far, I've barely felt pinched about the stuff I'm giving away. Some of it was given to us by people we love, and I am having to take a page from The Tightwad Gazette (I think?) and remind myself that because I'm giving away something that was given to me, it doesn't mean that I love the giver any less. More importantly, though, I know that I'm just getting rid of the "fluff" and once that is done, I need to challenge myself to really detach and get rid of things I truly don't need - and that other people can use.
I have also been mulling over something else I want to do for Lent, but I've not yet sat down and pulled it all together. I still haven't finished my New Year's Resolutions (there's a reason I have a category called Mid Year Resolutions instead...), and they mainly involve tightening up my household schedule and being much more proactive. I think my family deserves better along those lines than what I've been giving them. I've been thinking lately that if Jesus were a member of my household, what would I do differently? Because He is here...
To see what others are doing to draw closer to our Lord during Lent, visit Kitchen Stewardship's What Are You Doing For Lent? carnival.