Thursday, February 23, 2012

What I'm giving up for Lent

The season of Lent (40 days preparing for Easter) began yesterday, and I've decided to give up clutter for Lent.  I hadn't really planned on giving anything up, but I just decided to do it yesterday.  Years and years ago (before kids), I used to regularly give something up for Lent - I've done chocolate, all sweets, salty snacks and daytime television (at the time I was addicted to a terrible soap opera).  However, in recent years (since having kids), I haven't kept up with the practice.  I guess I felt that I was making so many sacrifices on a daily basis for the kids that I didn't have the energy to give something else up for God.  I know, it's terribly selfish, but it's the truth.  So I wasn't really planning to give something up this year, but the idea just sort of fell into my lap, and it seemed to be a good one for me.

"Clutter" may seem like a strange thing to give up, so how did I come up with it?  Well, I first saw an idea on a friend's blog about getting rid of "40 bags in 40 days" - making a list of areas in your house that need attention, and getting rid of a bag of "junk" each day.  I liked the idea, but those kind of structured schedules tend to not agree with me.  I have a hard time sticking to them, and then when I fall behind I get discouraged and just give up on the whole thing.  So, I decided that wasn't for me.  Then I saw it mentioned on a friend's Facebook page, about just giving up "clutter" for Lent.  I liked that it was a bit more general and flexible and open to interpretation.  Somedays I might go through drawers and closets and get rid of unwanted or unneeded stuff, or somedays it might just be dealing with the incoming clutter (mail, preschool crafts, etc) on that day, rather than letting it sit around and get out of control.  I'll probably make a list of areas I'd like to tackle, just because I do enjoy lists and the satisfaction of crossing things off a list (yes, I know I'm a geek). 

Yesterday I started with going through one of the junk drawers in the kitchen (yes, we actually have more than one junk drawer), and a "junk" cupboard.  I didn't get rid of a lot of stuff (mostly it was just putting stuff back into it's proper place), but it sure felt good when I finished.  It also felt good to make good use of the time when Annika was at preschool and Emmett was napping.  I'll be honest, I don't usually get a lot done during those 2 hours, and I'd like to change that.  I think it's okay to sit down and relax for part of the time, but I definitely don't need to spend the whole time on the couch.  Even if I spend half the time getting stuff done, that still leaves plenty of time for just "me time."

Together with giving up clutter, I also want to be more purposeful in getting my 15-20 minutes of actual cleaning done each day.  I'll be honest (which seems to be the underlying theme of this post!) - since I wrote about that back in December, I haven't actually done it every day for a full week yet.  Usually I'll manage maybe 2 or 3 days in a week, and then end up doing a big catch-up on Saturday.  However, so far this week I've done my task everyday, so I just need to keep it up for today and tomorrow.  I don't know why it's so hard for me to keep our house neat and clean, but I hope I can change that.  I think we have been so blessed with the house we live in, and taking proper care of it should be how we give thanks.

So that's my goal for Lent.  How about you?  Is anyone else giving something up (or adding something in) for Lent?

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