Spring Clean-Out

Out of clutter, find SIMPLICITY.
From discord, find HARMONY.
In the middle of difficulty lies OPPORTUNITY.
~Albert Einstein

Yeah, whatever, Einstein. That sounds really inspirational but in my book, a spring clean-out is 1% cleaning out stuff, 20% complaining why I have too much stuff, 20% getting emotional about said stuff, and 59% playing with the stuff that was lost under everything else the past two seasons.

Our recent “Big Move” has made me ruthless about making space and getting rid of nonessentials. Maybe it was when I realized that I invest so much time and real estate with just condiment packets and plasticware alone that I snapped. I mean, seriously, an entire drawer of ketchup, soy, duck, and hot mustard sauces, salt and pepper packets, and enough wooden chopsticks and sporks to feed Ghengis Khan’s entire marauding Mongolian army used to live at my house.


(The Elder is a paper napkin thief
but that’s a whole different post.)

Having gone through “The Great Purge of 2018″** and come out alive on the other side equipped me with new tools and coping methods for streamlining life. Here are the “Top Three Things” I learned this season.

**(In case you missed them,
Click HERE to read DOWNSIZE
and HERE to read UNTANGLE)

1. Only Keep Things That Fit You RIGHT NOW.

Does that black blazer fit like a glove or pop at the seams?

This is the stylist in me speaking directly to your face with love: That dress or pair of pants that you hope to fit back into “some day” when you lose that weight (or the one you keep as your “Future Fat” pair!) is just making you feel bad; it’s self-defeating keeping them. By the time you finally fit back INTO them, they’ll be OUT of style.

NEWSFLASH: Those adorable, tight-as-Chinese-foot-torture shoes you paid way too much for and never have worn need to be consigned or resold, Sister. Some other Cinderella can fit into them so you can pocket the cash.

While we’re at it, look through your purses, plastic costume jewelry, belts, and scarves, Sweet Thing. Outside of that bright pink Italian scarf your mother wore back in the 70’s/80’s/90’s that you keep for sentimental reasons, if you’ve not used it in the last year, it’s time to say arrivaderci. Consign name brands; donate the rest.

Our wardrobe should be made up of things that make us feel AND look terrific. This goes for both women AND men. If you have pieces that you love but don’t fit “just right”, get them tailored or get them outta here!

With the bags of clothes, shoes, costume jewelry, and other accessories that I couldn’t consign, I was able to bless friends and the thrift store. What was dead for me was resurrected on them! (Click HERE and HERE and HERE for some of my best stylist secrets and to read more about consignment shopping.)

2.  “Pay attention to the little things. They’re more important than you think.” ~Matt Gutierrez

While it’s true that in life, it’s the little things that matter, without life managed properly, it’s also the little things that clutter. Makeup, nail polish, spices, dead batteries, travel toiletries, lidless containers, florist vases, pantry food, unidentified frozen foods, dull knives, refrigerator condiment jars (uh-oh, are we seeing a pattern?), unwatched DVR programs or downloaded Netflix shows all have expiration dates or take up space in our homes or on our devices.

Seriously, by the time “Black Crackle” polish next trends, your bottle will be separated and gloopy. That chocolate barbecue sauce you bought two years ago and tasted thinking you might use “sometime” needs to be thrown away now.

I’ve found what’s helpful is to set a timer for thirty minutes and tackle each area separately. Grab a box or a garbage bag and cull anything post-dated. If it’s discolored, unused, or or if you decide that it’s just not for you anymore (“Arrow” after season three lost my attention), get it off the docket and make room for what inspires, what’s most often used, or what you love this season.


Shhhh, don’t tell, but I am laughing and crying
with the fabulous stylists at “QUEER EYE”,

learning the art of respectability and responsibility
from Queen Elizabeth and “The Crown”,
and snuggling on the couch with little B
watching “Once Upon A Time”…

I’ve noticed that as I got rid of the trivial or outdated things it seems like there is more space to enjoy the “little things” that really DO matter. (Photo Credit: Kim Harris)

3. “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~Steven Covey

What’s vying for space in your grey matter?

We’ve been talking a lot about clearing up “things” in this post to make physical space but what about brain space? When tragedy strikes – a diagnosis, a death – my priorities surface quickly.

What really matters to you? For me, it’s my relationship with Jesus, The Elder and my kids – in that order. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God has entrusted me with these people. This is where the bulk of my time needs to be focused, not on the FB friends, IG follows, Snapchat streaks or any other social media where I live vicariously through filtered lenses into other people’s posts. Although I really do enjoy knowing how everyone is doing and seeing what’s happening in your lives, when it steals time away from my God or my family, I know I’m off-kilter.

Real relationships are #1 (Photo Credit: Kim Harris)

Questions I ask myself:

  1. Am I spending time in prayer and in Scripture?
  2. Am I caring for the needs of my husband in ways only I can serve him – is our relationship a priority in my schedule?
  3. Am I actively parenting and training my children up to love the Lord?  The parent-child relationship is the most impressionable relationship over which we exert influence indefinitely – for better or for worse.

Parenting (preschoolers, tweens, and teenagers) is one of the hardest, most thankless, difficult and rewarding jobs. And every day, like it or not, we get chances to change the world for the better through them!

Maybe ol’ Einstein was right after all: In the middle of difficulty lies OPPORTUNITY. Let’s make the most of these as we throw off everything that hinders us, the stuff that can so easily entangle, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us toward Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2)