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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cleaning out the closet: New discoveries uncovered when the clutter is removed

Friday, August 13, 2010

As the school year approaches, you might be one of those shoppers looking for bargains. I feel your pain because that means it's time for a little closet-cleaning. Sounds easy enough, but determining what to keep, what to toss, and what to give away are not easy decisions. This last year I asked my daughter-in-law, Jennifer, to help me. I was shocked at her poor fashion vision ... seriously! Like shoulder pads might not soon make a resurgence in blazers and blouses? Like elastic waists on pants can't be hidden with a large caftan? Like a velour jogging suit isn't "retro" enough? But when I pulled out my chic, yellow, polyester dress with its one-inch faux gold buttons running from neckline to hemline, I just knew Jenn would give it her blessing. Instead, she raised an eyebrow. I couldn't believe it. Her eyebrow said it all.

"Are you sure?" I implored.

Jennifer continued to gawk at my favorite church dress. Finally, she spoke: "Well, if you really like it...." Now you don't have to be Dr. Phil to know what that meant. Groaning, I tossed it into my "Let's think about this for a while before making any hasty decisions" pile. Embarrassingly, that mound was beginning to dwarf the giveaway one.

That's how it all started. I had a problem. (The first step is to admit it.) I loved my clothes -- even ones that didn't fit me. The more I looked at my discarded sweaters and slacks -- not to mention that gorgeous-yellow-polyester-dress -- lying on the floor, the more I realized, my closet was a sin. Okay, maybe that's stretching it, but my attitude towards my wardrobe was certainly a selfish one. I was becoming a mini-hoarder...holding on to things I couldn't use or didn't need instead of allowing them to bless someone else.

The clothes were just a start. I spent the next several days forcing myself to look with new eyes at each room in my home. A high school prom picture of my (now) 32 year old son and his date were sandwiched between empty vases and books that no one had ever read. Clorox-spotted, frayed towels -- my emergency stash for spills and leaks -- took up an entire utility-room shelf. Six spatulas, four sets of dishes, candles with five minutes of wick life left, shreds of wrapping paper (in case I had to wrap a thimble some day), mateless gloves, nameless pictures, expired prescription drugs ... and let's not even discuss the garage. It was pathetic.

Matthew 6:19-21 gives consumers wise advice: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Where is your treasure, dear reader? Just how many outfits does it take to make you happy? What consumes your interests, your time? Do you get more excited about a trip to the mall than about your quiet time with the Lord? Are you holding on to things that you no longer need, in spite of how they could be a blessing to others?

Someone once said they had never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul, yet we continue to amass more than we need instead of focusing on Heavenly treasures. Leaving Good Shepherd after dropping off my giveaways, I felt a sense of relief. Granted it was just a start, but I could say good-bye to my shop-ahoarder lifestyle and start on my road to recovery. And when I went back a week later to check on my yellow, polyester dress -- only to see that it was gone -- I felt reassured that Jenn had made the right choice. Maybe she does have some fashion sense, after all.

Patty LaRoche
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