Inspiration · Life Changes · Month 1

Month 1: Possessions

Give 7 things away.

every day.

for 1 month.

Sounds fairly simple. Unless you are like me and are a borderline hoarder/saver/keepsaker, then the thought of getting rid of something brings on a 5 minute internal dialogue and brainstorm of 20 ways you may find you need that very thing as soon as the thrift store pick up truck drives off with it. I did the math, 7 things gone each day this month: that’s 217 items gone from my life in January. Now don’t get me wrong, I spring-clean with the best of ’em at least once each year. This attack on the excessiveness of my stuff is going to be different, though.  It isn’t going to be another one of my annual clutter purges or a life-size tetris games as I try to finagle 5 hotel shampoos into the medicine cabinet. I typically abide by the rule: if it fits it stays. Well, not anymore. This purge will hurt. It needs to hurt. And I pray that every day this month I am cognizant of the reason I am doing this. Yes, I want a clean house. But more importantly, my accumulated possessions have become a humongous, crushing burden. I can’t move beneath their weight. My husband and daughter are also bearing the weight; to them it rears it’s head as a stressed out wife who can’t take a moment to enjoy her husband’s company or a momma who loses her patience over her toddler’s inquisitive ‘pull everything off of everywhere just to watch it fall’ nature. The biggest loser in this equation is me, though. Because becoming consumed with earthly possessions has unarguably pulled me further from God’s presence. God does not dwell in stuff. So if I dwell in stuff, and obsess and worry over it, then I must not be as close to God as I thought I was.

I chose to tackle possessions first in the line-up because I felt that this was one of the biggest areas that needed an overhaul. This was the worst offender. The one I could no longer sweep under the rug. Just a side-note, Jen chose to target food first. Also, in her book Jen tackles clothing in a separate chapter from possessions. I haven’t decided  what my plan of action will be when I get to the clothing month, but I know that I can’t put off purging my clothing until then, so I will be purging the majority of my clothing during possessions month. After all, to me, my clothes are one of my more important possessions. Seems right to just throw them into the purge right away.

I’m going to try and post about my purgings every few days {I don’t dare promise more}, but rest assured that whether I post or not, I am purging 7 things {or more} each day. There may be weeping and gnashing of teeth by the time this month is over, but I think  this purge will actually help me complete the other 6 month’s goals with some semblance of grace and organization. I made a list of every room in our house {garage and attic included}, and every storage space in each one of those rooms. All will be sifted through and widdled away to the bare bones by the month’s end.

Day 1: Today I cleaned out my dresser. ok, I’ve already lied to you. This actually happened on December 29th. I just couldn’t wait for the ball drop to start purging; I had the urge so I just went with it. Chris followed suit and we both spent the afternoon digging in our dressers and closet.  I made 3 piles {like my mama taught me}: one for donations, one for trash, and one for things that go somewhere else in the house. In our master bedroom we have 2 bedside tables, one long dresser, one tall dresser, small 2 drawer dresser under the vanity {which has no drawers…wa???}, 6 shelves and 3 hanging rods in the closet, + shoe racks on the floor. Oh, and under the bed storage {aka: nothing that goes under there is ever seen again}. I was only able to go through my dresser; I had to save the closet and other storage compartments for tomorrow. Chris sorted through his bedside table, dresser, and closet space all in that same amount of time.  He has always been {and I pray that he continues to be} a minimalist. Also, in my defense, his wardrobe is t-shirts and jeans… and t-shirts. oh, and also a few suits for work.

Today’s totals: 88 socks {that’s 44 pairs, folks!}. Honestly, I’m quite puzzled as to how that many socks could fit into my dresser drawer. Where did they all come from? Did I buy these? Did my pink socks mate with my zebra print socks? There was definitely a pair of pink zebra print socks, so that’s entirely in the realm of possibilities. We’ll go with that.  All of them, donated. That still left me with quite a few still in the drawer, maybe I’ll take a second glance through there again later. Also in the to-go pile: 14 dresses, 27 tops, 12 shorts/pants/skirts. A smidge more than 7 for today, I’d say.

Day 2: Today I got side-tracked from the master bedroom while taking down Christmas decorations. Out of the garage came 5 bins labeled Christmas. Again… Waa??? How on earth did I accumulate 5 bins worth of Christmas decor? I could not let this slide, so since they were already down from the attic I decided to delve in.

Today’s totals: I didn’t really count what I got rid of, but I managed to pare down to 2 rubbermaid bins, 2 ornament boxes, and a longer wreath box. Ok, I just did the math and that is still 5 boxes, but only 2 are large {all 5 were large to begin with} and one of the large bins holds our tree which is an adorable table top tree that was my grandparent’s and breaks down to a nice small size, perfect for shoving into a rubbermaid bin. I said bon voyage to many Christmas-y things today. If a snowman lover wanders into the thrift store near my house she will be elated to see a whole collection of nicknacks  waiting for her to take them home and never dust them. Also, I found an acorn potholder in one of the bins. Not Christmas-y, but it still went into the donate pile. Ain’t nobody got time for acorn potholders.

Day 3: Today I tackled the bedside tables in our master bedroom and my jewelry; one during Charlotte’s morning nap and one during her afternoon nap {have I ever mentioned how thankful I am for naptime}? The jewelry wasn’t crazy difficult to pare down. A lot of it had just been toted around over the past years but never worn. Some of it was broken or bent or rusted; those were the easiest to let go of. Those are the typical things you get rid of during spring cleaning. But I made myself dig deeper and give away more. If I had 2 pieces that were similar I made myself choose one, even if I liked both, because in all actuality I wouldn’t even have enough opportunities to wear both. I had 20+ pairs of earrings. Nothing expensive or nice, but to me this was a perfect depiction of excess. I literally wear the same 2 pairs of diamond or pearl studs every day. There is absolutely no need for me to keep any others other than a few dressier pairs that a friend made me. After all, God only gave me 2 ears.

The bedside tables were an adventure. I discovered my old lifeguard badge from my years working at Ocean Breeze Waterpark {Season passes on sale now!} and a journal that I started when I first found out I was pregnant with Charlotte. I wrote in it 2 whole times. There are probably no more entries because it was too hard to write while hunched over the toilet. Also, constant barfing makes for not-so-pleasant memories if a pregnancy. Also…. my retainer from high school. um… yuck. I’m not sure why I’ve been holding on to it all these years, like somehow my incisors will begin to recede back to a nice orderly state all on their own so that the retainer will once again fit over them and be able resume its ‘retaining’ duties? {sorry dad. If you’re reading this, I tried to wear it for as long as possible. Until college…. then it just didn’t fit with the look I was going for, which was super awesome cool girl}.

Today’s totals: probably 50 pieces of jewelry {earrings, bracelets, necklaces}. Most of the stuff in my bedside table went into the trash because it was unworthy of even a free roadside donation… like the 2006 Topical Islands flip calendar still in it’s plastic wrapping.

Day 4:  Jewelry. again. About 5 more pieces gone. Some of these pieces I L.O.V.E.D. I actually laid them out on my dresser and stared at them for a bit while I went on to some other areas. When I came back around to them I decided to give them away for several reasons: 1) I hadn’t worn them in 3+ years 2) the reason I hadn’t worn them was because the occasion hadn’t really come up. My life has changed, and my wardrobe followed suit. At work I wear scrubs, and if you wear any pretty, dangly or dainty jewelry as a pediatric speech therapist then you must be a straight up newbie. Our church is casual {jeans and sweaters kind of deal}, so no need to dress up that NBCC t-shirt with a string of pearls. I mean, my husband {who is the worship leader} takes his shoes off on stage if that gives you any indication. On may stay at home days, I’m a jeans girl through and through.  I don’t really see my life veering back into the direction it once was {when I wore formal dresses and business casual}. Gone with the old way of dressing up, gone with the accessories to go with the dress-ups.

Next, I tackled our vanity/sink area. Flat iron, see ya. Let’s be serious, flat hair was never really an option for me. This is a bit off topic but I did a google search for a photo of someone battling frizzy, curly hair to put in here for a laugh {haha, Ashley can’t brush her hair}. This is one of the photos that came up in my search for frizzy, curly hair:

tame-frizzy-hair

Google, you are promoting a phony. This woman does not have frizzy hair. Nor is it curly. And yet she is acting like she has gotten this brush tangled in her ‘lion’s mane’. No. This is not a woman battling with a rat’s nest of hair each morning. She simply stuck the brush up there and wrapped a few strands of her clearly quite tame hair around it for the picture’s sake. It is my duty as a curly girl to call her out on this. She could probably benefit from my flat iron though.

Today’s totals: I purged 8 more necklaces and bracelets + flat iron = 9

Day 5: Today is Sunday. Today I rested. Well, sort of. After church I rested, then I purged my ‘bathing suit bin’, then had some friends over for dinner and a play date with our kiddos. I don’t know about you guys out there, but I’m pretty sure I was Target’s #1 bathing suit section consumer between the years of 2005-2010. And I kept them all which required me to designate a whole container for just bathing suits. And most of them I would never, ever wear again, even if it was the last item of clothing on earth. Fig leaves would be more flattering than some of the bikinis I have been holding on to from when I was, ahem, braver.

Today’s totals: 10 hats and scarves, 6 bathing suits, 1 rash guard = 16

I’m exhausted. Earlier in this post my mind told my hands to type the word ‘pearl’, the screen read ‘pirl’. What?! Auto-correct didn’t even know what to do with that. So I’m headed to bed to have nightmares of moments when I suddenly need that very thing I got rid of this week.  Wish me luck!

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