In prep for a blog I’m writing for my work (our women’s ministry blog) I’ve been on a mission to purge. I shared a few years back about reading the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. My friend Meagan and I read it together and immediately caught the vision of life on the simple side.
Over the last two years I’ve tried to stick with it and not revert to my old ways. Mostly I’ve picked simple ways to keep the crap from piling up like: giving away every book after I read it, going through my closet once a month and pulling out things I haven’t been wearing, etc. But no matter how hard I try, I always realize that I could do better.
So as we went into a month of living the Seven Experiment as a women’s ministry I tried to decide what I wanted to do. Some women did the section on food, some did spending, still others gave up media, but for me I kept coming back to the same thing: I have too much. Could I improve in all of these areas? Sure. But I don’t have cable or Internet at home which limits my media intake anyway. And I could certainly spend less, shop less, or eat less. But I really just want to live simpler.
When I say purge I should tell you that it was a little untraditional. I’m not a clutter keeper by ANY stretch of the imagination. So it’s not your typical ‘stuff’ I needed to purge. But I am excessively OCD and therefore I keep a stash of everything. So, for a month I didn’t restock my fridge, or my pantry, or my hall closet (which holds 3 of everything from shaving cream to cleaning supplies to light bulbs). I am constantly couponing and bargain shopping and squirreling away. But honestly, it’s excessive.
I started the month by purging my entire garage. My parents were in town, I’d just traded out my vehicle and gone bigger so I had a great excuse. While my Dad was away with friends for the morning my Mom and I went to town. Everything that was ‘on the border’ as in ‘I should probably keep this because I may one day use it’ got pitched. Gone. Done. Don’t need it. We cleared out an entire driveway full of stuff so obviously I’d been hanging on to more than I thought.
Next came the pantry. I pulled up an e-mail from one of my favorite coworkers who runs our food pantry. Everything on their need list that I had – I gave them. Pasta, canned goods, snack foods, peanut butter, pancake mix, etc. Bagged it up and gave it to someone who actually needed it because Lord knows I’m not about to starve to death. The fun part about this was my entire bible study got on board – and we were able to stock the food pantry at church, many of us using only things we already owned! I did make myself eat even the expired food in my pantry. I survived. So don’t stress.
There’s really one other category I really wanted to share with you all about because this has been a fun one for me. In the process of purging I’ve been able to sell a ton of the extras I have around the house and put that money into other things. I really wanted new dishes which sounds silly but I had this vision in my head of what I wanted to do with my new color scheme. So, I sold 2 sets of dishes and bought the ones I really wanted. I sold a bunch of used books and I bought a few new ones that I would leave with people along the way on my vacation this summer. It’s been incredibly fun to hear back from each person I’ve hand-me-downed a book too and be able to talk to them about their takeaways.
This wasn’t the most intense Seven Experiment I could have chosen but I have to tell you it’s been a blessing and it’s been fun. I’ve made it fun. This is obviously a lifestyle change that I have to continue to choose, to live simply, but as one of my goals for this year this has really been a great way to renew my efforts. Jen Hatmaker’s book is really interesting and I highly recommend it. Also, stay up with our women’s ministry blog and read all of our writers experience with the experiment – www.gfcbeautifulblog.com
Lastly, I should note that I’ve committed to keep giving away 2 things a day for another month with Meagan. So the purge continues.