Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Uncluttered Life

I'm on a mission to clean out some of the clutter in my life, one closet or dresser drawer at a time.  I've been meaning to get to it for months but the task was put on hold for various reasons.  This past weekend, I found renewed energy and focus to finally start the task.

As with any decision to start a new project, many questions arise.  Where to start? What to keep?  What to throw away? What to donate to a worthy charity?  I decided to start with my clothes closet.

I believe that my closet is a good example of my gift for organization.  Most of the time, my shirts are lined up by short sleeve and long sleeve. Solids are grouped together as are the striped ones.  Flip-flops are in one place, brown shoes together, black shoes together.  Tennis shoes and golf shoes sit side by side.  Sweaters and sweatshirts are arranged on a shelf together.  However, the closet was in disarray for months, but it's back in order now.

Dresser drawers are similar - t-shirts in one, pajamas in one, shorts in another and socks are organized by color, of course.  I'm beginning to think I'm a little OCD.  You think?

Well, don't let my closet and dresser drawers fool you.  There are other places in my little home that are not so organized.  Take all this stuff in the middle of the floor that was once hiding in other places.  There are yearbooks from high school and college.  One box holds many notebooks, complete with all of my notes from Old and New Testament, Systematic Theology and Christian Education classes from my time at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the early 1980s.

Another box holds all of my team planning notebooks from Caswell Youth Conferences, 1996-2001.  One container holds many years worth of youth ministry files. Some boxes are filled with slides and photographs. Two containers hold bill and medical receipts, tax returns, and other financial records related to my mother's care over the past few years.

In my kitchen cabinets there are containers without lids and utensils that I never use. In my closet there were clothes that were only being worn by the hangers.  I've run across clothes in sizes that more closely match my shoe size rather than my hip size.  I had to part with them.

Doing some much need cleaning and clearing out has also made me think about other areas of our lives that may need to be uncluttered.  Perhaps we need to give up some bad habits and take up some good, healthy habits.  Maybe we have found ourselves in a relationship that has become toxic and we need to mend it or end it.  Perhaps our mind is filled with negative thoughts or we find ourselves being too judgmental of others. What is cluttering your everyday life, your thoughts, your soul?

In all my cleaning and clearing, I've tried to focus not so much on what I want to get rid of or throw away (though I've bagged up lots of stuff), but more on what I want to keep.  What will be life-giving for me?  What gives me joy?  What do I really need and what can I do without?

I hope you might consider a cleaning and clearing time for yourself. Organizing your mind, your heart and your life can be done - one thought, one choice, one step at a time.

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