Wednesday, February 29, 2012

for Lent

this was taken when Mark moved in last summer (and while we were planning our wedding). Unfortunately, we've never recovered.
Anyone who knows me (and now anyone who knows Mark and me together) knows that I am always trying to be neat and tidy.  Meaning, things rarely actually are. This is a product of several factors. The first, obviously, is that I don't spend enough time working on the issue to resolve it completely.  It's true, since Mark and I got married seven months ago, our tiny apartment has not been completely tidy, everything in its place, once. Not a single time. That's pretty scary. Nice that we can use our wedding and married life as a marker for this type of progress, though (or lack thereof). We did get very close, once, last fall (if you don't count the closet). A second factor (and the really important one) is that there are too many things in our apartment and not enough places for them all. This is caused by my habit of keeping things I already have and my other habit of bringing things I don't already have, home. So, at least we can be clear, that the habits and factors causing our general untidiness belong to me.

In any case, it makes our lives together difficult. Home should be a place of respite, and, I think for us that requires room for creativity. Mark and I are both creative people. He's a poet, a musician and a writer-- and I'm a quilter and a crafter and cooker and a baker. All of our creative outlets require space. Which is already hard to come by and my habits don't help.

I'm not going to go into the theological aspect of Lenten discipline because I spent the last four years in seminary considering the theological aspect of things and now I'm just going to try to do things. Also, this is my blog and I will write about what I want. So I'm just going to jump in and say really fast that clean apartment = space for creativity = exercising passions and utilizing talents which God has given us. And as a separate justification, cramming our apartment with more things than it should hold (or can hold) is not good stewardship of what God has given us and indicates an unhealthy reliance on material things.

So for Lent, we are giving things away. There are other bloggers out there doing 40 bags in 40 days, and the concept here is very similar. The difference is, I am not going to focus on doing a bag a day, but tackling 40 different areas or known collections in our apartment and purging things that we do not use, do not need, and honestly, do not have room for. My plan is to be absolutely brutal. I have done this type of thing before and allowed myself to keep things every time that this time I will not allow. Also, the idea of 40 bags of stuff overwhelms me, but thinking of the freezer or a box of stuff is easier to handle. We've already gotten started, so some things are crossed off the list:
  1. bathroom medicine cabinet (I only kept 2 lipsticks and 4 nail polishes)
  2. underneath the bathroom sink (No excess here. Also, cleaned and organized - and the bathroom is done)
  3. Moses' toys & treats (Not even Moses needs 8 identical tennis balls.  It doesn't matter if they're in good condition)
  4. tea (We still have a lot, but Mark doesn't have many vices and it's all wonderfully organized)
  5. cloth napkins (Put at least 3/4 of the collection into the bag for the thrift store. Funny, cause I bought most of them there in the first place...)
  6. cookbooks (Now all fit on one shelf. Also, moved to a more accessible and visible location so we will use them more)
  7. media cabinet (We had been collecting a lot of junk here, and now the junk is gone)
  8. DVDs (Didn't purge much here. But Mark did reorganize his collections)
  9. important papers drawer (Major win. Our messy 'important' drawer is now super organized in an important binder.)
  10. magazines (Another monster win. Why do I have so many subscriptions when I rarely get to read through a magazine? I'm letting almost all of them go. Out of 8+ Ikea magazine files, I'm donating all but 2 - you know for Mother Earth News, Cooking Light, and Ready Made)
  11. tanktops
  12. pajamas
  13. T-shirts
  14. fabric... dun Dun DUN
  15. silverware drawer
  16. notepads/journals/notecards
  17. under the kitchen sink
  18. unfinished projects
  19. sweaters
  20. books
  21. dishes/kitchen cabinets/above the fridge
  22. pantry
  23. socks/underwear
  24. paperwork: filebox
  25. shoes
  26. the massive mound of sewing stuff eating our loveseat
  27. holiday decorations
  28. camping gear
  29. patterns
  30. ribbon
  31. sand
  32. spices
  33. our cars
  34. jewelry
  35. Mark's music folder
  36. medicine drawer
  37. towels
  38. tool box
  39. china hutch
  40. freezer
I'll update the list every once and again and show the progress.  It'll motivate me to continue!

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