Lent is upon us. During this time of year, you will often hear people talk about what they are going to “give up” for Lent. You hear of people giving up social media, sodas, or sweets, or vowing to exercise every day. For Catholics and other Christians, this sacrifice is meant to honor the sacrifice that Jesus made on Good Friday. Other people give up something for Lent, but without a religious reason behind the sacrifice. They simply use these 40 days to better themselves, almost like a New Year’s resolution redo.
There are some people that use Lent to focus on organizing their home. You can find blogs about spending the 40 days of Lent going through a drawer a day or donating a bag each day to your favorite charity. This can be a very good thing to do, but I’d like to challenge you to go a little deeper. Spend the next 40 days focusing on why you are disorganized and giving up the actions that cause this.
Try giving up the following:
Shopping is used so often to mask many negative emotions. It brings instant gratification that will brighten your mood, but this is short-lived. The joy it brings is quickly replaced with guilt about the clutter (and debt) that is accumulating.
QVC and HSN
These networks are designed to tap into the voids you may be feeling in your life. If only you had what they were selling, everything would be better. Wrong! Don’t fall into the trap.
Guilt is one of the main reasons people hang on to items they no longer need. They feel guilty about the money that was spent. They feel guilty that the item was a gift that someone gave them. Recognize that when it comes to gifts that someone gives you, it is truly the thought that counts. They love you and want to express how much you mean to them. They don’t give you items so you will be burdened with them for the rest of your life.
Emotional Attachment to Items
People often find themselves emotionally attached to items. This is usually because the items represent something from the past. This could include a person that has passed away, a job you no longer have, a child that has moved out of the house, etc. Recognize that it isn’t the item that you love. It is what that item represents.
Don’t keep an item because you “might need it someday.” If you don’t know what it is or when you would use it, let it go. There is rarely an instance where something you get rid of is not replaceable if you find yourself needing it in the future.
This is hands-down the main reason clutter accumulates in a home. I think it was Barbara Hemphill that defined clutter as a “delayed decision.” Think about it. You don’t know where something goes or you don’t have time to deal with it in the moment. So you tell yourself that you will “do it later.” The opportune time never comes, and the stacks of procrastination build.
This includes social media, Netflix, and all the other things that you just “check for a minute” and turn into more time than you realize. Imagine what you could accomplish if you gained all these minutes back into your day.
Give up pressing the snooze button, and start your day less rushed.
Lent does not just include giving something up. You can do something that can make a positive impact on your life and those around you.
Do these healthy actions instead of the negative ones above:
Think Before You Buy
If you must purchase something, make sure to ask yourself where the newly acquired item will go in your home. Things without a home are called clutter. Don’t bring clutter in your home. If you don’t have a place for it, don’t buy it.
Before purchasing an item, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t buy it.
Live in the Present
Only keep things that you are using right now. Don’t keep things that no longer fit you. Don’t keep things that represent activities you did in the past. You want your home to be filled with “realistic possibilities” that actively fit into your present life.
The opposite of procrastinating is getting started. If you hate doing something (ie: filing papers), there is nothing about your future self that is going to want to do it. Putting it off will inevitably lead to bigger piles of things that you didn’t want to do. Act on tasks now instead of letting them build to lengthy projects.
Whatever the reason you decide to participate in Lent, make the next 40 days a chance to instill better habits in your life. What are some of the ways you will take part in Lent? Comment below and let us cheer you on!
Actually, a friend on Facebook posted she was doing something like this. Getting rid of a bag a day.
Now I’m reading your blog! All such good suggestions. I am going to focus on clearing clutter (off my dining room table) and move on to other spots. I have printed out your article and will keep it handy to re-read. Thank you.
Thank you, and good luck with your lenten organizing adventure!