Last week I accepted a challenge from a Facebook friend to join in the “40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge.” The premise is simple: From Wednesday Feb. 18th to Saturday April 4th, I commit to cleaning out household clutter and discarding (either through giving away, donating or trashing) at least one bag of STUFF each day. There are no rules. Any kind of bag works from boxes to grocery bags to things impossible to “bag” like furniture. Non-material clutter such as an email inbox counts too.
Included in my bags so far have been two unopened bottles of infant Tylenol, Frommer’s Paris 1987, and five pairs of outgrown soccer cleats. I also shudder to think of what still awaits — the kitchen junk drawer, the mother lode of flotsam and jetsam.
It is not a coincidence that this challenge is linked with the Lenten season, from Ash Wednesday on Feb. 18th to the day before Easter, known as Holy Saturday. This leads naturally (at least in a minister’s mind) to thoughts of the spiritual clutter than may be occupying my brain, or yours. What’s in your spiritual junk drawer?
Perhaps like many Unitarian Universalists you quietly hold on to the belief that our religion is somehow superior to others, especially fundamentalist faiths. Perhaps you have become attached to comfort, paying attention to spiritual bromides and ignoring prods for real change. Or the opposite, chasing after novelty and the next-best-thing that offers a speedy path to enlightenment.
From time to time it is useful to take that spiritual junk drawer and dump out its contents, look closely at those unexamined beliefs and put back only what is true, necessary, loving and kind.
Then join me in tackling the mess that is under the bathroom sink.
Note: It’s not too late to join the “40 bags” challenge. For more information, go to the 40 Bags in 40 Days 2015 Decluttering Challenge.