February 6, 2014

Seven months of eliminating the excess.

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I was putting away laundry the other night and had a few items that needed to be hung up in my closet. Those who are close to me know that I live in scrubs and sweats, so anything that's hanging in either one of my closets rarely ever gets worn, but as I walked over to hang up my freshly-laundered items I noticed a bunch of clothes piled on the closet floor. I nonchalantly reminded myself that they were there because I didn't have enough hangers, added the clothes in my hand to the pile and walked away. But within five seconds I stopped dead in my tracks as the truth of that sunk in.

I didn't have enough hangers.

I have two closets, a large chest of drawers and dresser full of clothes. Most of which either still have the tags on them, have only been worn once or haven't been worn in years. However, I still continue to buy another item here and there, steadily building up my collection of unworn clothes because I see another item in Nordstrom that's "so cute and I'll wear eventually." But as the image of 'too many' became tangible in that moment, I became angry with myself and realized that I had a real problem on my hands: I didn't have enough hangers.

The problem wasn't that I literally didn't have enough hangers, but that I was living in excess and my problem wasn't really a problem at all. I poured over how I got to this point for the rest of the evening and into the following day. What kind of world was I living in? What kind of life was I leading? People all over the world don't have enough clothes, yet I didn't have enough hangers. But there I was on that evening, putting away freshly washed clothes in my warm, well-lit house while wearing a pair of pajama's that were next-to-new, drinking hot tea and listening to Nichole Nordeman on my iPhone. I was kidding myself and right there in that moment as the pile of too many clothes kept staring back at me, I became disgusted with my excess and made the scary decision to address it.

But how I was going to address the idea that I don't have enough in a world where too much is never enough was something I couldn't figure out, until I came across Jen Hatmaker's 7: An experimental mutiny against excess. In true fashion, God led me to that book a mere 24 hours later and challenged me to the challenge of uprooting the excess mentality. So I'll be devoting the next seven months to focusing on seven areas of excess in my life, one area per month beginning now. Because now is always the best time.

February || only spend money on items within the seven essential categories of food, gas, health insurance, Dakota's food, my sponsor child, toiletries (toilet paper, toothpaste, etc) and my gym fee (because it's automatically withdrawn). Purchases can only be made at one of these seven locations: Kaiser (health insurance), LA Fitness (gym), Compassion International (my sponsor child), Grower's Outlet, Target, Costco (for gas only), and Fred Meyer.
March || give away seven significant items to someone in need
April || eat from a menu of seven categories: vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, legumes, nuts, whole grains (no sweeteners such as honey or sugar and no drinks other than water and black coffee) 
May || fast from seven areas of media: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Instagram, Pinterest, television, and unnecessary games/apps/media on my iPhone
June || stop everything and purposefully pray seven times per day
July || clothes - something with clothes. Honestly, I haven't settled on this one quite yet. Ideas?
August || make a real and honest effort at going green

Will I completely eliminate the excess in my life over these next seven months? No. But I'm hoping to make progress towards eliminating my excess. Over these last few years I've felt weighted down by it and it's finally time that I make a real effort to address the issue. There's something beautiful about living simply - something that's real and authentic about it, and I intend to push through to find out what that something is. I'll be blogging along the way (except for May, of course, when I'm fasting media), but I'll try to do a "thoughts" post following the conclusion of each month.



3 comments:

  1. http://franish.blogspot.com does great posts on setting a budget for clothing. she decided to do a closet cleanup when she moved to med school, and only kept things that would (1) last a long time and (2) she would actually wear. i think she posts her monthly budget and quarterly budget because that's how her med school loans come in. but i've found it very helpful and motivating, and a good reminder to not buy things just because something is on sale! :)

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  2. I've seen your closet and I know that a lot of people would love the items you have in it! Maybe you can sell some of the things you don't wear anymore and donate the money to something or someone that means a lot to you!

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  3. I'm excited to see how you do on your journey. It can be so difficult to just realize that you have wayyy too much. & a lot of people are just not satisfied with what they have, period! When I first got married, I had a beautiful walk in closet & tons of clothes & shoes (that I never wore!), now I have a tiny apartment with an extra tiny closet. I had to just get rid of things that I knew I was not & will not be wearing. It was difficult, but I did it! You can do it too! Something that has helped me personally, if I do decide to buy something new- I get rid of something..either a pair of shoes that are falling apart or a piece of clothing I just don't wear anymore. That's helped me a lot!

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