Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….
We are 2 days away from Valentine’s Day so for me that signals the start of Spring Fever. I am a firm believer in the fact that if it’s not going to snow it might as well be spring. I grew up in the sunny state of Florida but have lived in Tennessee for the last 204 years (or so it seems some days). I love the possibility that we MIGHT get snow during the winter. I love snowy days! I love the fact that everyone has to stay home, drink hot chocolate, read all day and best of all stay in your pajamas. That is my winter dream that comes from years of teaching school. I do not like plan old cold gray days that make my bones shiver and joints ache. So if the snow is not going to come this year we might as well move on to spring.
The fact that my rose bushes have already started to sprout has just about sent me over the edge this year, I’m ready for spring. Our neighbor’s yard already has daffodils peeking out from under a pile of dead leaves. Yep!! I have spring fever!!! The truth is that spring is still weeks away from being a reality! So my mind turns to things that need to be done before I can get outside and play in the dirt. Otherwise, I’ll feel the guilt of projects left undone inside the house.
I have started making the list and it continues to grow with every door I open. My first project is to get my stock pile pantry back in shape. It’s the closet where where I store all of the items I’ve gotten super cheap or free using coupons. I love this closet! The problem with having this space is that I am usually in a hurry (and who isn’t) so the extra items I’ve purchased for our food closet at church or to be passed on to a single mom ends up piling up. Before I know it, I’ve got 20 boxes of noodles and 40 bags of muffin mix piled up from several shopping trips that need to be in the hands of someone who needs them.
I have also gotten in the bad habit of storing items for my next craft project. Right now I have about 12 empty Sunny D bottles that I will need if I ever use the recipe for laundry detergent I found on Pinterest. (If you are a Pinterest fan you know you have a million things just waiting for the next time you get snowed in)
One way I have found that has be helpful in keeping this area in some sort of organized chaos is passing on items that we don’t really use, or aren’t planning to in the near future. If you are a couponer you know that there are items that are such great buys (free or just pennies) that you can’t pass up. These wonderful items are the very things that take up so much space. Not to mention the energy to keep them organized on the shelf. The solution – pass these items on to your churches food closet or find a shelter or charity they are always thrilled to receive these items.
There are families struggling just to put food on the table and pay basic bills. Most likely they will have to do without body wash, shampoo and other little things that most of us take for granted. You would be surprised at the stories I have heard about how grateful parents are when they receive new toothbrushes, shampoo, cute band aids or something as simple as ketchup. Things they just can’t fit in the budget.
One thing that I cannot do without in this closet is my collection of baskets. I love to see nice neat rows of baskets holding a lovely collection of any type of stuff! Having a place to put the goodies I find really makes it so much easier to find whenever we need to bless a special family. It also makes it much easier to tell what I have in just a few minutes. When I purchase more of something in the closet I put the new items in the back of the basket, that way they are rotated before the expiration date. If you find you aren’t using an item as fast as you thought you would go ahead and pass that item on. Otherwise you may end up wasting things that others can use.
We ‘ve all seen the show with people that have enough muffin mix to last for the next 35 years. Personally I see no reason to store so much stuff. Not only do I not get it, I’m not willing to sacrifice the room in my home that my family uses just to “store things.”
Many times people don’t get it when I share about couponing and stockpiling, because they only shop for themselves. Even if you are just saving for one person you are still saving. When I explain how couponing frees you up to give to others, some get it and say they never thought about that, but several say they still aren’t interested. Really? How can you not be interested in the idea that you can get things so cheap or free and be able to provide for not only your family but others families as well? When you think about it that’s sort of how many Christians are, we have the secret to eternal life and chose not to share it when given the chance. We may have people that are hurting physical, mentally or spiritually that we meet every day. Most of us are willing to meet the needs physically with food, shelter and money. However, when it comes to spiritual needs we fall short for various reasons. Maybe we don’t know what to say or we don’t want to offend someone. Maybe it’s because we don’t realize how important the life of someone is to our heavenly Father. When we understand what He gave up to save us from hell, I mean really understand, how much each and every life is worth, we would never fail to take the opportunity to share.
With the hope of the next few weeks turning to spring, may we look for the same opportunity to turn others to Christ by sharing the hope that we have found. Spring is the time for change; let’s make some changes in the way we give to others physically, mentally and spiritually.
Love you to Jesus!