Friday, September 18, 2009

Get Rid of Excess


A friend came over this morning to help me go through and organize clothing. I removed all of the maternity clothes (and boy, that felt good!). I went through a bag of little boy's clothes that I had been given. Cleaned out newborn clothes that Luke has already outgrown...and toddler clothes that Will has outgrown. Pulled out bins of my oldest son's old clothes to see what would fit my 6-year-old John for the fall. Piles and piles of clothes.

What amazed me was all of the excess. Too much of all of it. So much to sort. So much to organize. I was shocked at how much clothing my children have. My heart felt sad at how much I had stored up when so many children around the world go without. I think that sometimes it's easy to accumulate too much when you ARE frugal...I shop thrift stores and consignment shops, and since they are so inexpensive then I justify buying more and more more. Wouldn't that extra bit of money be better used to give to those in need instead of buying more stuff? And guess what all of those clothes lead to? More laundry! No thanks!

All of that excess just weighs me down. It's clutter...both physically and emotionally. It makes the closets and drawers too full. It makes for more laundry. More organization and work for me. Too many choices for the children when I tell them to get dressed. They feel overwhelmed and then I do too! I just read a recent post that talks about the Waldorf philosophy of clothing children simply...I didn't agree with all of the ideas, but most of it made a lot of good sense. A few basics is all that anyone needs.

So I am paring down the closets. Each child only need 2-3 pajamas, one package of underwear, and one package of socks. About seven shirts and pants. One or two nice outfits. One pair of tennis shoes, one pair of Crocs, and some nicer brown shoes for church or eating out. A little more shoe variety for Katie since, well, we girls like shoe-color variety :)

I need to get rid of shirts that don't wear well now that I am nursing again...and also purge the closet of random clothing I have bought at thrift stores that never really fit well to begin with. And declutter my purses and canvas bags. And shoes...

We really don't need as much as we think we do. And it feels so good to let things go. To lighten our home of excess. It somehow frees our souls. And with the holidays coming, it's a good idea to declutter and freshen things up now before the hustle and bustle begins.

Take 20 minutes and tackle a closet. Drive the items to a clothing drop-off bin (we have them in our grocery store parking lot!). And then be intentional not to bring in too much clothing the next time you hit a sale! Just because it's a "good deal" doesn't mean we need it!

And then do something good with that extra money you saved. Buy a friend a cup of coffee. Send someone a gift. Support a missionary. Sponsor a child. Ridding ourselves of excess frees us up to love and give to others in a new and fresh ways.

May the "excess" in our lives be an excess of love and kindness and goodness and service...not of stuff. Give us the grace to make it so, Lord Jesus.



photo by happyone

14 comments:

Laryssa Herbert said...

Thanks for this wonderful encouragement! I needed this. :-)

Sarah said...

This was timely encouragement...I have plans to do the same thing for our closets. Thanks for the concrete ideas on "how much" is a good amount. I love reading your blog!

lady m said...

Dear Aimee,

When I moved to the cottage, we realize, real quick, that we could not have too many of anything!

I did the same thing you are doing now...and we feel so free from all the choices.

In fact, you become more creative with what you wear ;)

blessings,

lady m

Jo said...

I have done this recently too, the kids were having trouble keeping their drawers neat because there were just too many clothes.
Thanks for the reminder to not buy things just because they are a bargain, there are only so many clothes a person can actually wear.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for posting this! We have accumulated so much stuff, and are expecting another baby in January, so we must clean out the extra bedroom! My MIL thinks we've outgrown our house; actually we just need less stuff. You have encouraged me to find just 20 minutes a day to go through and clean out. Plus less stuff means less to dust!

Sara said...

Preach it! :) I'm sooooo excited to be going back on the road because it means that I have to drastically downsize again. It's amazing how much stuff can accumulate just because you have space to store it! I agree with you about thrifting...it's so easy to let TOO MUCH stuff come through your doors just because it was a good deal. I have to remind myself that I don't need anything...so I shouldn't even look. Because once I start looking, it's all over.

La Dolce Vita said...

Well said, and so true.

Jennifer T. said...

Thank you for your outwardly focused attitude! We missionaries who provide for many others appreciate it! =)

Kika said...

This post got me up and moving to pare down (again) my youngests' clothing... it is all second-hand but we receive way too much. So I filled another few bags passing on one to a mum from my church and hauled another two to the local thrift shop. If only I could get my 9yo on board - oh, how she LOVES CLOTHES !

The Mangerchine's said...

Great words! We recently moved from a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom to a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom and had to get rid of lots of stuff that I thought I needed. It was so hard to figure out we could part with, but I haven't missed any of it and I love living more simply.

Shannon

shepherdsgrace said...

I just purged our house for the 3rd time in getting ready for our move...we are downsizing from a 3000 s.f. home to 1900...

and it feels marevelous!

I LOVE the clothing idea...I really did used to do it that way...what happens?

Susan said...

Aimee, I wanted to stop by quickly to say hello and to offer a big, happy congratulations on that beautiful baby! :-) (My granddaughter is due any day now... waiting, waiting impatiently...) Have barely been online in recent months, so I miss you! :-)

Susan

Lelia said...

Well said. . .I couldn't agree more and LOVE getting rid of stuff.

Clair said...

yes, I think adults have just as many excess clothes as kids...I need to go through my closets AGAIN even though I did this summer.