Finishing the Forty Bag Challenge


There it is.

The last trunkful of my Lenten purge. I had to go back to the places I’d already cleaned out to get here.

The last 6 bags and big items came from one more tour of the kitchen cupboards, one more look in my closet, one more scan of our son’s toys- and more.

One this Holy Saturday- I drove the trunkful of items to a donation center, and unloaded every last bag.

We still live with abundance. Truthfully- some of our closets and drawers are still cluttered. I encountered belongs that we don’t use that I still couldn’t part with.

This Lenten journey was a starting gesture in a life’s worth of work. I hope to continue to look through our home while asking the question- what do we really need? And what could bless others?

As Easter comes tomorrow- I look forward to experiencing the renewing hope of this holiday- the reminder to us all that in the end: the tomb, the rock, and the burial cloth were all left behind. It’s the call to love, the urgency to hope and the challenge of living by faith that we take with us. Happy Easter.


Garbage, Clutter and Boxes


I’m posting on trash night, because this week, my Lenten purge is a bunch of garbage- literally.

I took a close look in the invisible places of my home. This led to some alarming discoveries:

-Expired hot sauce in the fridge
-Soy sauce packets
-Pantry items way past their shelf life
-medications from years ago
-too many hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles
-half a drawer full of orphan socks without a match
-cards from people I can’t even remember
-handouts from grad school that are no longer relevant
-coupons and junk mail from stores I will never go in
-cardboard boxes we’re hoarding for no reason
-Old crusty paint cans and paint brushes from previous owners of this home

This week’s purge does not serve anyone else or benefit any organization that we support.

But clearing out old drawers and cluttered corners of our house feels good.

It reminds me how important it is to create space in every aspect of my life. Instead of cramped cupboards and a full basement – I’m inching towards more simplicity. I’m longing for breathing room, and home seems like the best place to start.

By the time I leave the house tomorrow, our front curb will be empty again. Our old boxes and handouts and greeting cards will be recycled and transformed into new and useful items. The extra garbage that was hiding in the corners of our house will be picked up, giving us a new opportunity to start fresh, to limit the intake and outtake in our home.

These are the unglamorous parts of the Lenten purge, and yet, some of the most necessary.

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