Spring Cleaning

I went to the largest garage sale yesterday. It spanned an entire neighborhood (3-4 subdivisions) and within two hours I had visited more than twenty driveways perusing their unwanted junk. I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff and underwhelmed by the quality of stuff. I walked away with a workbench clamp lamp for Matt that he wanted for the garage. I spent a whopping $1.00. There were things I saw that may have worked as a side table here or as a new picture frame there, but in reality I am on a bit of a purging journey right now within my own home and my own heart, so the thought of accumulating one more thing made me sick to my stomach and actually deterred me from walking to another fifty driveways in search of (insert name of any object here).

One week ago Matt and I spent over twelve hours cleaning our garage; creating piles of unwanted things designated into three categories:

  1. Throw Out
  2. Donate
  3. Craigslist

I was anxious as I cleaned the garage and I was actually upset that I had so much crap. Where in the world had it come from? Why is the storage space under the house almost full? Yikes. It was like a scene from TLC’s Hoarding:Buried Alive. For real. Here are a few photos of how it stands currently with items that need to be donated/craigslist-ed/or thrown out on collection day. I also need to label bins with contents within each so I don’t have to fumble through each one to find a particular item; a serious pet peeve of mine. Anyone else have the same peeve? Bueller?…Bueller?

The very next morning, Matt and I spoke to one another about the amount of things that we had accumulated as a couple. The desire for something new and better superseded our desire for simplicity and, ultimately, had left us both feeling frustrated. Our conversation drifted toward buying a home in Alaska and what to do about our home in Tucson (yep, we are in a situation that many military folks are in. We own a home in another state, but bought before the housing market crashed. Oh well.) As we debated whether we wanted one more thing to take up our time and finances (i.e. owning two homes), a little rumbler of an earthquake occurred. It rumbled for ten seconds and afterward I was left with a minor adjustment of the Alaska map that I had recently hung. As I stepped back to ensure that it was level I was reminded of the verse Matthew 6:21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Crap. I knew it was coming. All the spring cleaning that I knew needed to be done around my home, was needed in my heart also. The true reason I was frustrated by the amount of “things” I had amassed was because I had let my worldly desires supersede my spiritual needs. So, here I sit with a list of spring cleaning projects to do, but I also have a spiritual spring cleaning list, too.

Things to do around the house:

  1. Buy replacement totes for seasonal items in garage
  2. Craiglist washer/dryer
  3. Schedule freezer pick-up in garage
  4. Organize storage in crawl space. Throw out/donate unwanted items
  5. Clean roof/pressure wash outside of house
  6. Plant garden/container garden
  7. Clean outside windows/screens
  8. Move furniture to clean floors
  9. Clean all heating vents (I have hot water heat which means I have heated coils that collect dust/dog fur)
  10. Put away winter clothes/purge closet of unwanted items
  11. Drop off items to Goodwill

Some of the items on the list have been started and I look forward to checking off each item as I go. I love a good list and I love checking items off the list even more. Totally. (If you know me well enough, you may know how I use that word and how I say it as well.) Ha!
My current favorite way of ridding myself of unwanted baggage possessions is leaving them at the end of the driveway with a big “FREE” sign attached to them. Goodbye old-ikea-desk-that-is-in-parts-and-no-one-will-ever-know-how-to-put-you-together-again. Goodbye room-dividing-screen-that-needs-to-be-fixed. Goodbye target-ladder-style-shelf-that-is-warped-and-needs-a-fresh-coat-of-paint/stain.  Yes, every single item that has been left in the street has been picked up by a passerby. Wow it it really is pathetic that I get excited about someone taking my junk. Get a new hobby, Jen!

In terms of doing my heart check/spring cleaning:

  1. Pray more. Pray often.
  2. Meditate on Psalm 51:10, Matthew 23:26, and Matthew 6:19-21
  3. Less time on internet. I’m serious. I have some habits in my life that don’t produce “fruit” and that includes time spent on internet, specifically browsing Pinterest. Am I the only one to admit that I think it can be a pitfall? Am I the only one suffering from “Pinterest Sickness”? …Bueller?…Bueller? 🙂
  4. Volunteer. The giving away of my time for the sake of others has been my source of greatest joy, but I want to clarify that it needs to be something specific that you like, that you feel called to do, and you have prayed about. Otherwise volunteering is done out of a spirit of self-righteousness (look at me! look at me!), guilt, or due to the fact that “everyone else is doing it.” I am referencing my own experiences if you didn’t catch on. 🙂

There you have it, folks. I am one big mess and so is my house. Here is where I would usually want to place a disclaimer stating that I am not saying that having a nice home and wanting things is bad, but I’m not going to. I don’t because if you are like me and you struggle with finding a balance in this worldly life and with your faith, then this post is for you. I just put all my junk out there, literally, because I want someone out there to know that they are not alone; that the grips of wanting everything in this life and wanting everything in our faith is a constant battle, but with a little windex, rubbermaid containers, prayer and bible study, I think it can be kept in check. What are you struggling with right now? What are you cleaning/organizing in your home/life?

Side Note:
Rider, my pup, is not singled out in the spring cleaning. He has a grooming appointment this week. Cue the “ahhhhhhs” because he really looks like the cutest little boy dog you have ever seen when he is all shiny and clean.

2 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning

  1. Great pictures and a generous idea! It’s great how you’re organizing your garage and donating so much! Your puppy is so photo friendly. Does it take a long time to get a perfect picture? Keep up the great work! 🙂

  2. Jen, I agree with you we all need to clear out the excess “baggage” in our lives, personal and spiritual. Have had 2 wonderful experiences this week that made me realize that “God is in His heaven, all is right with the world”. lst we went to the Veterans cemetary to put flowers on your Uncle Bill’s grave, the flags were all placed on the graves in preparation for Memorial Day. Trillium was in full bloom in the woods surrounding the cemetary and the stark white markers with the flags flying so
    majesticly and the graves bedecked with flowers was heartwarming. 2nd I volunteered to head the “garden committee” at our church so yesterday we had a “cleanup – spruce up day” at church, we had a energetic group of volunteers and got God’s house all bedecked for spring. It was a beautiful day and I kept thinking of God smiling down on all of us “old folks” beautifying His house. Surprising how one comes home from an experience like this and feels regenerated even at 81.
    Had been feeling a little “down” after having so much family around last week, this was like a tonic. God is good!!!!!

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