Living Intentionally: Cleaning Closets, giving with purpose

Continuing in my mini-series: “Living Intentionally“…

So, “7”, Chapter 2: Clothes.

I cried.

A few of Hatmaker’s reflections struck a cord, but, actually, my own thoughts struck a deeper cord. I think I need to change some things, and for some reason, clothes hit me. It didn’t hit the author, Jen Hatmaker as much, but it hit me.  I have much.  I have TOO much.  I don’t need as much.  And I want to change what we have, why we have it and where it goes.  So there, I said it. I need to work on the clothes thing…  It’s just a thing…a thing I like, and I have been blessed and I see this, and it is time to bless others.

So I came home from the wilderness and ravaged through our closet. Husband’s side first.  The guy who doesn’t shop. (pretty much, I am the one who says “it is time for some new x, y or z”)

Whoa.

5 bags of clothing later, of JUST HIS STUFF, and we are still full.  Talk about excess and consumerism. I am addressing these issues in a new way.

Mostly just the husband's clothes...

Mostly just the husband’s clothes…

So what are we going to do with it?  Well, not Goodwill.  So….I shop at Goodwill. I like it. I love a bargain and love finding someone else’s near new “excessive” item, that they paid $170 for (let’s say Hudson Jeans, for instance)  and I get to buy them for $24.99, or $14.99 or even $9.99 on a day when the pricing person in the back didn’t realize they are “Hudson”.  Just an example…you get the picture.

And then when we clean stuff out, we just drive a few blocks away (literally) and leave a bag of our excess at the donation drop off. Done.  And when I drop off, I look and see the other stuff people drop off, and I am just a part of the club.  Just normal thing to do…and it IS helping create jobs, etc. etc.

However, I want to be more intentional.  So, I cleaned the closets and choose not just give to Goodwill, or sell on eBay (I do that, too), or drop off at consignment (I do this as well)  but hand to someone in need. Literally fulfill a need.  This isn’t easy, let me tell you. Because not every non-profit needs exactly what we have, and the season of clothes or shoes we have.  We need to sort, and organize and seasonalize (is that a word??) and decide.

First, Winter clothes and jackets to Night Strike for the homeless.  I haven’t gotten to blankets yet, but I am sure I will grab one to go with as I walk out the door.

Second, professional women’s clothing for a company called Dress for Success for women who are trying to get on their feet, whether they were held up by domestic abuse, or poverty, etc.

Third, a couple jackets for a friend collecting for a local low income school.

Fourth, set aside a few bags of spring summer for the season when it might be needed and be patient and see if there is a need.

And the list goes on….

The reality is, it is NOT EASIER to give to those who need directly.  It is WAY EASIER and LESS PERSONAL to drop off at Goodwill.  (Again, don’t get me wrong, I shop at Goodwill, and I donate to Goodwill and they provide jobs and such, I get this, but this isn’t a stretch for me, Rachel Kathleen).  I have to be patient. The stuff that I have too much of, has to sit longer, and I have to work to find the right fit for these items…but I am trying to live with more personal intention. To bless others, in a hands ON approach, not a hands OFF approach.  I currently have BAGS of clothes at the bottom of my stairs (see above). I want to have it cleaned up. But….I am trying to be intentional, and intentional takes time and effort. This is effort in my sheltered little world…let a mess sit a few days.

Also, I don’t just intend to give that which we have worn, or decided is no longer the “style”.  Again, this is all a work in progress – I don’t want to keep consuming so I can give my stuff away…I would like to buy less, and then be able to tithe away the extra to people who need it.  But again, I am in process, and my thoughts and actions are taking in an overhaul.  I want this to be a LONG term lifestyle…not a short term purge!  So for now, purge on!

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