Inspiration · Life Changes · Month 1

Month 1: Days 8 – 12

If you are just tuning in I am taking part in my own little experiment in self-reduction…. because there’s too much of me and not enough of God in this world. I was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book 7 {which you can find here} and you can read about the beginning of my journey here and the beginning of month 1:possessions here.

In other not important at all news, you may have noticed my blog has received a little face-lift. I’ve always wanted it to look better and be more ‘bloggy’, but I’ve never been willing to put in the time to make that happen. A change of colors and font are all that I had time for at the moment, and at the end of my life I’m pretty confident I will not utter “I wish I had spent more time making my blog fabulous” {unless, of course, I know I am dying and decide to say those words in jest, referring back to this very moment on my blog… only time will tell}.

Day 8: Today I made soup. The chicken noodle variety. From scratch. The kitchen was a complete disaster afterwards. My husband enjoyed it though, so it was worth it. I am quite possibly the slowest cook in the kitchen, ever. What most people could accomplish in the kitchen in 30 minutes would take me about 2 hours. No lie. So if I ever say “I cooked”, just know that it was an all day affair and nothing to be taken lightly. Other than cook, destroy the kitchen, then clean the kitchen, and wrangle a toddler, I dug through a few more drawers and containers in my bedroom today. I found 5 nail clippers and 4 tweezers in my drawer. And I got the strangest deja vu… like I’d seen hoarding of grooming tools of this magnitude before. Possibly in my own life. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you a post from my blog circa Spring 2010 when I confessed to the blogging world that I had enough tweezers and clippers stashed away to make Chewbacca’s groomer jealous. In 2010 I vowed to never let a collection like that form again under my watch. 4 years later…Fail.

Today’s totals: 4 nail clippers and 3 tweezers, 2 ancient cookie baking sheets {casualties of me digging around in the kitchen while cooking} = 9.

Day 9:  Today I didn’t purge anything. Well, not from my home anyway. I purged a few things from my office at work, mostly papers and therapy materials I’d been hoarding since grad school that I never really use. I truly did not have a moment to dig through any area of my home today because as soon as I left work I raced to picked up Charlotte from my sister’s, put gas in the car while she screamed “mamamamamama bubu bubu bubu” {Mama, unbuckle me!}, got home and changed my clothing {I try to do that first thing when I get home because I don’t even want to think about the amount of germs and saliva that are on my scrubs each day}, got dinner started for Charlotte, prepared her diaper/jammies/bath stuff, then Chris and I headed out to a foster parent training course while my mom came over to put Charlotte to bed. Whew! We got home around 10 and if anyone knows me they know I am a 9:30/10pm bed-timer for sure so it was lights out as soon as we got home. I’m not even sorry. That’s life, and I knew that it would be difficult to find time to purge things on the days that I work. I have been and will continue to try and get rid of more than 7 things each day anyway to make up for some of the days I can’t purge.

Today’s totals: 1 big fat goose-egg.

Day 10: So this little project is becoming very difficult to keep up with. I really want to just spend a few days on a binge purge, but my calendar has a mind of its own and keeps over-scheduling my days and evenings. I don’t know that my boss would support me taking a few weeks off of work to ‘clean my house’, so I will continue purging in small increments. It’s probably less painful that way anyway. On day 7 I tackled the linen closet, who, prior to this project, sat with its door bulging at the hinges from all the fitted sheets tangled and stuffed behind it. Seriously, how do you fold those things?! I decided to revisit this closet, determined to get rid of more than just 2 pillowcases and a set of twin sheets. And I was successful.

Today’s totals: 1 set queen sheets, 2 king pillowcases {I hate that extra fabric dangling off the edge since we don’t have king pillows, we only have normal people pillows}, 3 beach towels {a huge sacrifice, just sayin’}, 2 comforters = 8.

Day 11: Today is Charlotte’s 17 month birthday. We spent the day enjoying each other’s company and some bubbles. 
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I spent her nap times cleaning out the built-in bookshelves downstairs. This picture is halfway through the process; I had already emptied out a few of the shelves before deciding I should document. This cabinet unit provides me with an abundance of hidden storage space, adding fuel to the fire of my hoarding tendencies. I discovered today that we have nine bibles in our home. nine. Do you know how many people we have in our home who can read? Two. Just a tad bit overkill, although everyone knows the more bibles you have in your house the more angel wings you get when you go to heaven. Don’t quote me on that, but I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. Ok, don’t get your panties in a twist, it was a joke. 2014-01-11 13.33.47

I have really been avoiding going through our books. I love books. And I like the idea of keeping hard copies ‘alive’ in this age of electronic books. But having nine bibles definitely falls under the category of excess, particularly when there are thousands of people groups across the globe without even one bible translated into their language.  I am only allowing us to keep 3 shelves worth of books so I saved a few of my childhood chapter books to give to Charlotte when she’s older but really hacked away ruthlessly at the rest of our stash. If we don’t ever read it, then we don’t need it. Also, no wise-cracks about our television. It is what it is, and what it is is fabulous with its side-by-side DVD/VHS playing skills.

Today’s totals: 4 cookbooks {let’s be honest… I don’t really cook anyway}, 10+ fiction and nonfiction titles, 5 candles/candleholders, 8 pieces of tchotchke that I didn’t even care enough about to dust but somehow had a hard time getting rid of = 27.

Day 12: Happy Sunday! I don’t want to be a downer, but I’ve gotta be honest: month 1 is starting to get embarrassing. If I hadn’t promised to publicly document this purging process I would certainly prefer to keep my hoardiness to myself. But being open with my struggles against possessions will, hopefully, strike a cord with someone out there who is feeling consumed by their never-ending desire for things and may just need some encouragement to get things started. Today I sorted through my tablecloths and serving platters. I have a lot of tablecloths and really just 1 table to put them on; the math doesn’t add up. I felt the need to keep a few for when we have guests over so I can cover the burn marks on the table from a misunderstanding my iron and I had {that’s a story for another day}.

Today’s totals: 6 tablecloths, 1 cake platter and cover, 3 serving platters, 3 serving bowls, 2 little mitten cheese spreaders {seriously adorable… and yet, excessive}, 15 place mats = 30. Today definitely makes up for day 9, not just in numbers {30 things is pretty hard core} but in the amount of pain it caused me to physically put several of these items in the donate box. And yet, as difficult as it was to say goodbye to my chip and dip serving bowl, the sheer fact that I am even experiencing  feelings over a dish makes it that much clearer to me that I am still not getting it. God, please break my heart for people of this world and not for the things of this world.

If you’re joining me in this adventure, keep this in mind as you make decisions about your possessions this week:

Few. Purposeful. Meaningful.

4 thoughts on “Month 1: Days 8 – 12

  1. The kitchen and books would be my torture. The rest I can do without. Although I had to borrow a tablecloth from my aunt when hosting thanksgiving because I don’t own one 😉

  2. Ashley,
    I so need your posts in my life right now. I have too much stuff (don’t tell my husband I said that) and your journey is inspiring me to do something about it. Hope you are doing well.
    Jeanna

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