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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Give Freely

I admit that it wasn't the Word of God but rather Flylady who started me down the path of gifting. What do I mean by "gifting?" Gifting, used here, refers to giving away my perfectly-fine, however-unneeded household items, from clothing to cookbooks to toys to kitchen gadgets to...whatever, not because you have to but because you can. Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? Can I use something else in its place? Is it more valuable to keep than to rent or borrow if I need it in the future? Could it bless someone else more than it blesses me? These are just a few of the questions that I ask myself about each and every item about which I think twice before purging. Flylady calls this "decluttering." I couldn't agree more. This is decluttering of my home, my life, my responsibilities (less stuff=less to clean/care for/move around/store/etc.) and my spirit. Oh, wait. That's why I brought up the Word of God. How can I possibly care for others and bring to them the Gospel message when I'm lugging around a houseful of material goods? (Don't read into this too much. While I have been tempted to sell everything and become a missionary, I don't see that as a real possibility in my future.) I just mean I can't have complete faith in my eternal life through Jesus if I'm hoarding stuff.

I'm sure many of you are thinking, "Sure, I don't use all this stuff, but I paid good money for it! At least let me try to sell it." WRONG. How much time and energy will you spend trying to sell these things, all the while storing them and filling your mind and heart with false ideas of their worth? I'm not suggesting you throw the stuff away. GIVE the stuff away. I don't care if you gift it to friends and family who genuinely need it (don't just thrust your clutter upon them, though!) or if you box it up and leave it on the curb for Big Brothers Big Sisters (or any number of charities who pick up). Goodwill usually has drive-by drop off, and most libraries take books and magazines. If you just can't let go of that monetary concern, ask for a receipt! (No, don't ask your sister for a receipt when she takes that extra toaster off your hands.) Most donation collections, even the curbside ones, offer receipts. Big Brothers Big Sisters will leave a receipt on your door if you leave a note on your stuff requesting it. The libraries have them at the help desk. Just ask! I've only once ever not been able to get a receipt, though technically I probably could have if I'd really cared that much. I go so far as to take pictures of my donation items to attach to the receipt just for good measure.

Why gift? The obvious reason is it's a fast and easy way to get stuff out of your house. Box it up, drop it off, wipe your hands of the mess. Think about who might be receiving your items, though. Depending on the charity you bless with your items, you might be helping clothe the baby of an abused woman in a shelter. You might be helping a young, unemployed dad buy inexpensive clothing for a job interview. You might be helping an elderly couple on a fixed income replace aging cookware. You might be helping the library earn money to create more literacy programs for children. Hey, you could be helping a fan complete his collection of trinkets! You just never know!

What's my point? Start peeling off the layers. Ask the questions I listed earlier and unload your stuff. It might be hard at first, but it does get easier. Now, I actually go through my house with a bag chanting "purge purge purge" as I desperately look for more to gift to others. The experience is so freeing, of space and spirit! I challenge you: what stuff can you find to gift today?

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