Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting Free - My Update on the Clutter-Free Challenge

Since January, the Lord has me in a state of de-cluttering, organizing and planning. Glynnis Whitwer's Clutter-Free Challenge helped me get the ball rolling.  The ball got stuck in a ditch for a couple months, but now it's back on playground. Better now than never!

From Glynnis's blog and her book, I Used To Be So Organized (I immediately related to that title!), I learned clutter is different from being disorganized. Among other things, clutter is having too much stuff and hanging onto it for the wrong reasons. Organized clutter is a band-aid approach at best, so buying a bunch of plastic bins is not the fix.

Here's a personal example: I receive a heartfelt gift from a friend or family member, but it does not fit my needs, aesthetic, home, lifestyle, etc. Please understand, I am thankful and I express it, but the said item almost immediately goes into my closet where I don't have to deal with it. I keep it out of obligation, usually in a subconscious effort to please others. I feel bad about getting rid of it, even though I don't want it.  

Recently I discovered another awful cycle in myself. I procrastinate on cleaning and organizing my stuff by "getting  away" for a few hours. This usually means I go shopping, and while I don't always buy things (sometimes I just browse), if I do pick up something, I come home with more stuff... and the cycle continues. It's even worse if I so-called "paid good money" for it, which somehow mentally allows me to justify keeping it. This includes hard-earned dollars spent on beauty products:

BEFORE: Under my bathroom sink
January 2012
AFTER: Stuff was given away and
unnecessary (and OLD) bottles of product were thrown out
March 2012
I believe the clutter in the home -- the real state of it, inside drawers and in "private" areas -- is an indication of the clutter in my real heart and mind. So, following that logic, I had to ask myself, what's occupying valuable real estate in my heart and mind, thereby leaving the Holy Spirit less room and less of me to work with?  This will be addressed during my church's annual Pentecost season 50-day fast, which starts April 7. This year we are giving up something which hinders us in our Christian walk, and we will also begin doing something which will help us in our walk. It's a personal, individual and voluntary sacrifice.

Well, regarding becoming clutter-free, I'm happy to report progress!  In addition to the under-sink pics above, I worked out my closet issues. Oh my Betsy... my closet was totally out of order. I forgot to take a before pic, but trust me when I say it was NOT cute, e.g. shoes all over the place, clothes strewn everywhere. This weekend I made it my mini-project. Here's the "after" shot:

Look at the pretty blue background...
I painted the closet! You can't see in the pic, but the bottom half is turquoise
and the top half is a minty blue, like shades of the Caribbean ocean.

Check out the order in my closet! So much better.
The shoe bins were less than $1.00/each at Walmart. My next step is taping pictures of the pair on the outside of each box.The hat boxes on the right contain scarves, organized by color family.
There you have it. I still have work to do, but I figure if I take it one step at a time -- one cabinet, one closet, one dresser -- I will get to a place where I'm not living this way anymore. Prayer is huge. Here's the prayer Glynnis shared on Day 1 of the challenge, which is taped inside my closet. When ever I felt anxious, I stopped and read this, speaking it into the atmosphere:

"Heavenly Father, You alone know my heart as I start this challenge.  You know the depth of my discouragement and the loss of my hope that I’ll ever be free of the clutter in my life.  So today, as I take this step with Glynnis and other many others, I’m asking for Your help.  Help me have Your perspective on the areas of my life that feel overwhelming.  Clear my mind of the negative chatter.  Protect me from an enemy who wants to confuse and defeat me.  Reveal his lies and replace them with Your truth about my worth and potential.  With Your help I believe I can make progress.  In Jesus name, Amen." 

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