I recently read an article that talked about the 27 item challenge in terms of spring cleaning. The theory goes every room in your house has 27 things you no longer need, want or use that should be purged. 27? Per room? Surely not.
This big purge concept isn’t new to me. Over the holidays I read about the 40 hanger closet challenge and honestly, don’t laugh but I don’t even own enough clothing that warrants a hanger to need 25, let alone 40. I smiled as I read the article and let pride unabashedly roll over me. “Don’t need that bit of advice,” I scoffed.
But when I read about the 27 things per room? Ugh. That was more like a sucker punch to the gut for me because as I sit here now just looking around my desk, there are at least a dozen things I no longer need, want or use that should be purged. Just this morning I opened my vanity drawer to reach for the hairbrush and got assaulted by several items I bought thinking I’d use that are just cluttering the space: hair clips too large to hold my still growing out style, two headbands that give me a headache when I wear them, an expired tube of Neosporin… You get the point.
There are days I look around the space my family occupies and I see the clutter, those things I don’t need, want or use, and the decisions seem easy. But there are times when I feel frustrated, sad or worried that I tend to hole up—to cave myself in so I don’t have to make hard decisions. For a fast moving, type A personality like myself, I liken this feeling to a slight paralysis of sorts. We don’t sit still. Type A’s like motion. We’re quick decision makers that thrive on forward progress. I was all set to charge ahead with reckless abandon and turn my house upside down making such progress the afternoon my phone rang.
As Chic Denisea shared earlier over at our Script Chics blogsite, she’s gone through quite a battle with the big C and she’s come out the other side feeling better, miles healthier and sporting the peach survivor’s ribbon with pride. That afternoon it was her on the phone.
For those of you that don’t know Denisea personally, let me assure you, you will most likely never meet a smarter, more determined, and faith-filled woman this side of heaven. I’ve been honored to call her a friend for nearly five years and I’ll go further to say she’s been a very close friend for the last several of those. Throughout the journey she’s walked, I’ve been amazed that she’s never once waivered in her faith. In fact, on days when I would send an encouraging text or silly sentiment to let her know I was thinking of her, she usually ended up cheering me up in some way. That’s totally Denisea to a T!
The day of her second surgery, the big one as I call it, I decided to clear my calendar and set aside dedicated prayer time for her. I hesitate to even write about this because I think I had a couple of social media related things to do while covering for her (she’s the real techie—don’t let her fool you). I promise, Denisea—I still got my work done that day! Anyway, as I was praying over a particular worship song thinking I was doing a good turn for Denisea, she was actually doing the good turn for me.
In the time leading up to her surgeries, Denisea and I talked a lot about our goals for the year, both personally and professionally, and I could tell she was really starting to get a grip with the concept of a more complete balance in all of the areas of her life. Instead of manically working in one area then jumping to another, which is something my ever moving, brute force type A is prone to do, Denisea had a much calmer, more balanced approach. It was this concept that hit me full force while I was praying for her on the big one day. Some things matter in this life and quite frankly, most things don’t. This is true of the mental clutter I tend to carry--the stress, the worry, the fear, and it’s true of the dozen or more things on my desk that I don’t need, want or use anymore. I love my life and frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I remind myself every day that life would be boring without the push and pull.
While the 27 thing premise might seem overwhelming at first as it relates to the physical clutter in your home, when you boil it down, the notion isn’t really that profound.
There are 23 rooms in my house (including closets and pantries) that need purged and I’ve given myself two weeks. 27 items times 23 rooms means there are 621 things under this roof that won’t be here come Easter Sunday. As of this writing, while Easter has come and gone, I’ve been through eighteen rooms and filled nine bags/boxes. My item count stands at 428 and the Salvation army is scheduled to be here Thursday at 8am. I'm determined to see that truck back into the drive and I seriously want to to find just that one more thing to push my total to 622. I can't wait to stand in the door and wave when they drive away.
How many rooms are in your house? Don’t know? Then why don’t you grab a laundry basket and start counting? If you want to live a more balanced life, the truth is there’s some junk that needs to go.