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Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

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There is something ever so delightful in purging. To rid our lives of ‘stuff’ that we no longer use or want seems to clean and tidy, not just our homes, but our heads.

A number of weeks ago I wrote about how I love Craigslist, having sold and purchased many items, just in the past two months.

This weekend was another of purging.

A well-loved, well-used trampoline from the back yard … with a sixteen inch rip down the middle. Every time I would look at that trampoline, covered in the tree needles and sticks that has fallen over the past three or four years, I had this ‘unfinished’ feeling. I knew that either had to spend the time and money to purchase a new trampoline top, or get rid of it. We decided to get rid of it. So, on the weekend, it got picked up by a young man who was planning to get it for his sister’s young kids (there were about a dozen responses to this free, ripped trampoline … maybe I should have asked for money for it). Now I look at the empty space it used to occupy … and smile. Another successful purging of the unneeded.

A container of ‘clear coat’ from the garage … never opened. Years ago, hubby and I decided to coat our concrete front stairs with a faux granite topping. I spent many, many, many hours slapping the granite onto the steps. It looked really nice, but we got busy and never got the clear coat onto the top to seal the ‘granite’ in place (and the way my hard work has chipped off would indicate how very important that clear coat is). So, just two days after posting it for sale, it was purchased and picked up. One less can to occupy the paint shelves in the garage.

Then an email late at night from a lady who is interested in the duvet cover and matching bed shirt. These used to cover our daughter’s bed, for a number of years, when she was switching from ‘little girl’ bedroom decor, to teen. Oh, I hope this lady will purchase them, and give me more space in my linen closet!

All of this purging reminds me of how many unused items occupy my (our) home(s). It also reminds me of how much more free of an existence a life with less can be.

Each time something leaves our home, I feel as though I breathe more easily, and I find myself looking around my home asking the question, “what else can we get rid of?” (this makes hubby feel rather uneasy).

Maybe it is a good question. Maybe it is a question that needs to be re-phrased, and asked with more pondering before we purchase it in the first place.

It reminds me of the following verse :

 “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth,
where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.
Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal.
For your heart will always be where your riches are.”
Matthew 6:19-21

So, maybe the question we need to ask is actually, where are your riches leading your heart?

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The Victoria Day weekend, just past, is the unofficial start of summer, where I live in the Pacific Northwest. The trailers and tents got packed up, kids leave school, and adults leave work early on Friday to beat the rush along the highways and borders. The campgrounds were a buzz with campfires, laughter and snoring, the boats got their metaphorical feet wet, and the cabins get cleaned of their dust and cobwebs.

It is my favorite weekend to stay home!

The local roads, stores, and neighborhoods were quieter (except for the hardware, and home renovation businesses).

Of the three days of the weekend, hubby and I spent two days working at creating order out of chaos in our home and property.

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Saturday was spent focused on the garage. It had gotten to the point that it was difficult to get our van parked, and have the door down. Two large work tables were piled high with … stuff. The place was crawling with webs (I fear to think of how they got formed). There were remnants of a bathroom renovation, and a huge need for a load of stuff to be taken away (or maybe two loads).

By Saturday evening the garage was neat as a pin … purged, organized, roomy and far cleaner than hubby and I were, with dirt ground into the skin of our hands, and later found where dirt just should not be found.

Sunday was our day of rest (including vast amounts of pain relievers to equal the effects of a day of sweeping, lifting, hauling, pushing and standing on concrete for about ten hours).

Then Monday was spent around the yard. Hubby focused on needs around the pool, while I was focused on moving the remnants of a load of rock (that was delivered over a year ago … but I’m not bitter), weeding a trimming of hedges. The end was in sight (as was another intake of pain relievers).

By early Monday evening I was starting to love where we live again. The never-ending  ‘to do’ list in my head, that seemed to never have anything checked off was beginning to shorten in such a way that I felt that what was left was actually manageable to accomplish soon. The ‘head space’ that was found in those two days of ordering our world, started to turn my thoughts to dreaming of new projects to enhance and improve our abode and it’s surroundings. It is in dreaming and planning for the future that I feel most alive.

1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Although this verse is, in context, speaking of orderly worship, there is something ‘right’ in it when I think of it in the context of cleaning up the physical chaos in my home. When I have more order than chaos in my physical life, I am better able to see the non-physical parts of my life more clearly, and therefore better able to find order within those facets of my life.

Cleaning the garage and garden as worship … maybe that is not so far from the meaning of that verse after all!

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Cleaning is so therapeutic … and messy!

Over the past months I have been cleaning and purging all through the house. I have gone through a storage closet, through the garage, through all the children videos and DVDs, through a hall closet, a bedroom closet. Each time I begin cleaning sneezing soon begins to happen. The amounts of dust is directly related to the amount of time since I last cleaned that area.

When I clean I am thorough! I take everything off the shelves and out of the spaces, and I go through every container, every item, every box. I often separate items into one of three piles:

keep
give away
throw away

Usually I am shocked at what I find. I find treasures that I forgot about, ones that bring such sweet memories back. I find other things I had forgotten about that I am not so thrilled to see again, or surprised that I had kept them in the first place. There are things that still fit perfectly, and other things that I cannot imagine how I ever squeezed into.

And so, I organize, I get rid of and I dust.

When it is all done I am usually a dusty mess! It takes a significant amount of time and effort to really clean a space. I feel such relief, such pride that my efforts have paid off in such a visually rewarding way, when I stand back and admire my work.

I am sure we all have similar boxes on shelves … and I am sure that not all of them are physical boxes.

As we grow and change we take fragments of our life, and pack them into boxes, which we then set upon shelves, to do nothing more but gather dust. Sometimes the things in those boxes are so painful, and bring back such heart wrenching memories that we allow the dust to settle on them for years so as to avoid having to face them again. Sometimes the things in those boxes topple into our lives unannounced and unexpected, jolted from the safety of their cardboard homes up on that out of reach shelf, and they surprise us with how much we do remember, but had pushed away so long ago.

When those most dusty of all the boxes in our lives get forced open and their contents strewn throughout our present life, we realize that it is impossible to pack them away forever. We realize that the things we want to stay in the past are actually attached to us as we walk through each day. They are the silent, invisible yet powerful forces that guide us in our decision-making. They guide us in whether we:

repeat the past
run from the past or
learn from the past

We think that we have put the boxes so high, and closed the door shut tight on the realities of the foundations of our lives, but they were never packed away, we have just been living like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand to escape the realities of his life. And like that ostrich, our heads will one day need to come up for air, and face the realities of our lives that we have been hiding from.

Each of us will, one day, need or be forced to take the dustiest boxes down from the shelf, and dare to look inside, resolving that no matter how much time and effort it takes, we will clean up the contents. We will need to decide:

what to keep
what to give away
what to throw away

Cleaning is so therapeutic …. and messy.

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It is Saturday, and I am determined that I get some organizing done. The past couple of weeks have been so full of so many other things that piles of ‘stuff’ were in every room of our home. The head space that these piles were stealing from me was immense. I just had to get my house, and therefore my head, in order.

So, after writing a bit, doing laundry, then a few errands I started to eradicate my piles of ‘stuff.’ The further I progressed through the ordered piles, the more mess I was making. I would take an item off the pile, and place it in another, indicating where it would go … another room, another person, garbage, storage, etc. In no time at all one pile could result in as much as eight new piles. Finally I paused, and wanted to give up.

My cleaning was resulting in more mess!

It’s Saturday is a post by a guest blogger whose blog is called double hockey sticks. I love the story-telling of this lady blogger (whose name I have yet to determine), and how she teaches me, and makes me ponder her words with each post. This particular post will coincide well with my Saturday cleaning experience.

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