Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Place for Everything

Neither give place to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:27  (KJV)

Remember the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place”?  Living organized makes life much easier, simpler, and more peaceful.  I am amazed at how much “stuff” we have accumulated over the years!  We’ve been on a de-cluttering rampage around our house since the new year began.  Things have been uncovered that we haven’t seen for months…maybe years!  It feels so good to open a cleaned-out, organized closet or drawer and know exactly what is in it and that we actually use or still want every item in there.  It is taking time and a lot of effort, but we are getting there…slowly…one drawer, closet, shelf, and cupboard at a time.  J 

Sometimes it is hard to know how to categorize things…should the baseball caps go with other types of hats and toboggans, or should they be in separate drawers?  Should the markers go with the colored pencils or should they be in separate crates?  What would be the most time-effective?  How can we most efficiently utilize the storage capacity we have on hand?

As we strive to create a place for every single item in our home, I am finding more and more that some of the stuff we have and have been holding on to really don’t need a place any longer.  It either has absolutely no sentimental value to us, we don’t use it anymore, or looking at it resurrects bad memories or causes anxiety.  So, we have been enjoying looking at each item and deciding if it is really something that is any longer bringing us joy or useful to us.  If we determine it stirs up negative emotions or is just taking up space and no longer an important part of our lives, we do one of two things…either give it to someone who will enjoy, use, and cherish it…OR we throw it away.  We’ve gone through quite a few trash bags lately!  And for things we are passing on, I discovered a wonderful system.

Right after Christmas, I was shopping for bargains and sales, and I came across these wonderful bags from Cracker Barrel.  They are sturdy tote bags that will hold a LOT of stuff, and they were reduced to .60 cents each!  I bought several, came home and have almost finished filling all of them with good, useful things that we no longer use or want.  It gives such a sense of fulfillment to pass them on to those who need or want them, and it sure gives us a lot more space to store things we actually still want and use.  Some we’ve passed on to a local homeless ministry.  Some we’ve passed on to friends who needed and wanted them.  Some we are still working on.  And the pretty tote bags are part of the gift…for the recipient to keep.

The Lord recently led me to get rid of a quilt and some blankets that we were not using.  He also led Kevin and Zachary to donate a lot of Zach’s books that he no longer reads.  When we got to the drop-off site for the charity, the lady met us outside and asked us if we had brought any books or blankets.  She said the shelter had called and said the children were asking for books…and they really needed blankets!  Isn’t it amazing how God works on both ends of a problem? 

Sometimes we need to take inventory of what we have on hand in our hearts, as well as our homes.  It is a time-consuming process, it will take much effort on our part, and it can even become painful, at times, as we discover things we really didn’t realize were there.  Things may come to the surface that will surprise us.  We may uncover things we forgot were in there…things we haven’t thought of or seen manifested in a long time…yet they are there, buried, below the surface.  By the way, when you start, you may want to have a big, spiritual trash bag handy….and some “pretty” ideas for give-aways, too!  J

We might find some unforgiveness kind of wedged deep under our facade of outside hypocrisy.  There may be a clump of jealousy that we thought we’d gotten over a long time ago.  As we dig, we could stumble upon some pride and feelings of superiority that rare up their ugly heads.  And a bit of malice and ill will towards someone who hurt us long ago…still smoldering, seething, waiting for the right moment to strike out and land a retaliatory blow.  Whew!  There can be some mighty unsightly things hidden there under our sanctimonious "Christian" exterior, huh?  Wouldn’t it feel great to dump those things into that garbage bag as we come across them?  To just feel that freedom of letting them go.  They no longer need a place, and they are taking up precious storage space.

After we get rid of all the negative stuff, we find some things that we could really give away.  What about that desire to help others buried way down under all the rubbish we’ve scraped away?  How about the long-ago buried supply of love and generosity and kindness and patience…you know, the way you used to be…before all of the clutter and trash covered you over.  There are people who could really benefit from you passing on the love.  There’s probably someone in your circle longing for it right now.  You could empty some of it into a pretty tote or package…and tell them its theirs to keep….be creative, there’s lots of ways. 

Donate time to a soup kitchen.  Overlook the faults of your spouse, and compliment him/her a little extra instead.  Instead of giving up on a relationship you still want to salvage, put some extra effort into it.  Call your grandparent or some other relative and tell them how much they have always meant to you….one day they won’t be around for you to call.  Forgive the person who wronged you, and show it by buying them something they like and taking it to them in a pretty gift bag….or surprise them by sending it to them by mail, with a sincerely sweet card attached.  Be happy for the one you used to envy, (before you tossed your jealousy into the bag, remember?) and rejoice that God has blessed them so much.  Go a step further…tell them how happy you are for them…and mean it. 

A place for everything, and everything in its place….some things just don’t need a place anymore….in our homes and/or in our lives.  If it needs a place, create one and put it there, so it is always handy when you need it.  If doesn’t need a place, let it go.  You….and someone else…will be very glad you did.

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