My biggest problem with decluttering my house is that I can’t get stuff out the door. Trash, yes. I can do that. But Goodwill, Half Price Books, anything that requires the possibility of interacting with human beings–there I fall short.
Six months ago, before I decided to tackle my house, I worked on a single room. I filled five boxes with books, and I wanted to take them to Half Price Books in the hope someone else could use them. But I haven’t done it. The books are still on the floor in the same room where they used to be on shelves.
We have pets. Six of them. So, anything on the floor for long ends up covered in cat or dog hair, including boxes of books abandoned for six months. The other day, I went through those boxes of books, pulling out each book and dusting off all the pet hair. I don’t dust books on the shelves! But here I was, tending my outgoing stuff because I can’t seem to get myself to take things out.
Don’t even get me started on the stack of bags in the center of my kitchen that are bound for Goodwill. Part of the problem is that right now I don’t have a lot of car access. My son who works full time is using my car, and by the time he gets home it’s dark, and I don’t see that well in the dark–I need new glasses. But still, it’s not the best excuse. Weekends happen.
I don’t have an easy fix for this problem except the need to suck it up and take my stuff away. Or pay someone exorbitant amounts of money to do it for me. It’s sure better than tripping over it. But after a while, I don’t see it any more. In my head, I’ve decluttered. The cabinets look better. The laundry room has a floor again. But if the kitchen is a maze, all I’ve done is shuffle it.
Life is funny that way. Fits and starts, distractions, jobs done halfway. I do it with everything. Spiritually I can do the same. Focus on reading to the exclusion of prayer. Community service instead of tending my family. Jesus told the Pharisees they should be compassionate and still tithe their herbs. Don’t focus on one thing and forget the rest. Balance is one of those words I get tired of hearing, but maybe that’s because I need to stop hearing it and start living it. Slow and steady forward motion instead of all the fits and starts.
This week. This week I’m going to venture into the world and unload some stuff. I promise. I hope. And maybe I’ll do the same in my life. Instead of shuffling my problems and sins and weaknesses around, perhaps I can tackle a few things head on and find balance. Who says it’s bad if both the kitchen and laundry room floors are clean? And who says I can’t focus on more than one aspect of the Christian walk at the same time? I’m bigger than that. So is God.
Here’s to the last week of the Great Stuff Shuffle!