What are you holding on to?

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Welcome to Day 1 of our 30 Day series, A Time to Clean. Today’s topic touches on those things that we hold on to that aren’t necessarily the kind of clutter we have in our homes, but rather the clutter that fills our hearts and minds. What are you holding on to?

What are you holding on to? @ AVirtuousWoman.org

A Time to Clean: Day 1

What are you holding on to?

Look around you. 

What do you see? No, really, what do you see?

When I see clutter in my house I see Failure. Regret. Discouragement. Shame. 

I see wishes that have not come true and fears I have not let go. I see my life in it’s often overwhelmed state and wish that I wasn’t frozen, unable to make things really change.

I see bad habits and unmade decisions and wrong choices and mistakes I wish I hadn’t made.

This is my life. 

I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky sort of gal. I see the glass half full. Like almost all the time. And yet, there are so many days when I wake up to clutter and a busy schedule and I just wish I could escape reality. The last few years added up to a lot of chaos. And even though my burnout has healed, I’m still left with the aftermath.

Okay, so for instance, I can have the main part of my house pretty much neat – and all it takes is a few busy days to ruin everything. Like, the house is a disaster within 24 hours. I was gone from home nearly everyday for the last two weeks…. 14 times 24 hours… Ugh.

Can anyone else relate? Tell me I’m not alone in this!

The problem is, the house may appear to be clean or neat when someone drops by or comes for dinner… but the truth is, I’m probably hoping no one looks in my closets, goes into the laundry room, or opens my bedroom door or pays attention to the stacks and stacks of books lying around… everywhere.

The truth is – I just have too much stuff. Stuff I don’t really even want. 

So, why have I been holding onto all this stuff that doesn’t add one bit of joy to my life? 

As I hold onto shame, I also hold onto stuff – stuff that tells me I’m not worthy of more than a cluttered, messy life.

As I hold onto regrets, I also hold onto stuff – stuff that tells me I routinely make bad choices – like that pair of jeans that just doesn’t fit right.

As I hold onto bitterness, I also hold onto stuff – stuff that keeps my bedroom from being a sanctuary for my marriage.

As I hold onto bad habits, I also hold onto stuff – stuff that tells me I’ll never be more than my present reality.

Repeat after me.

Today, I choose to let go of past regrets.

Today, I choose to let go of those things in my life that are trapping me under their weight.

Today, I choose to find joy and let go of clutter.

Today, I choose to let go of this world and hang onto God.

I am convinced that having less stuff will mean more joy. I am convinced that simplifying my life will mean less stress. I am convinced that getting rid of the clutter in my heart will lead to less clutter in my house.

Change isn’t easy, but it is possible. And with God ALL things are possible.

What are you holding on to? @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Today’s Goal

  • Ask God to show you what things you are holding onto that are holding you back from your best life.
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle. I suggest beginning with one of the main living areas of your home.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Facebook or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal.

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  1. Thank you Melissa! I've needed this nudge way too long! Today I'm getting rid of stacks of clothes that my family doesn't wear. There's so much more, but this is a start!
  2. I won't be home until this evening, but I will be getting rid of toys. They are always all over our house and stress me out, even though my kids can't (and don't) play with that many. I hate getting rid of anything that the kids "could" still use (they are 2 and 4, so that middle age where they will still use just about any toy for imaginative play if they feel like it, so I hate getting rid of stuff they might decide they love tomorrow) and I hate thinking about how much we/others spent on it, but there's just too much!
    1. Hello Kate. My name is Gina. I started this challenge because of too much _____...almost any word will fill in my blank! I might be out of line here; however, I wanted to share a little "tip" that I used to do when dealing with the overwhelming amount of toys when my boys were little guys. My oldest son was 9 when my (now ex) husband gained custody of his 7 year old...that same month, I gave birth to my youngest child. So you can imagine the variety of toys we had with 3 little boys in the house. I was so overwhelmed with the amount of toys that seemed to grow and fill every room of my house. Then I read a tip in a magazine that helped me gain my sanity. I sorted the toys into 4 groups: most played with, hardly ever played with, donate (outgrown, not liked, to baby-ish, never opened, etc) and toss (broken, missing pieces, etc.). Like you, I had a very hard time getting rid of toys the boys "could" still use...not to mention there were 9 years between the oldest and youngest, so "he could always grow into them". Anyway, I donated that group to a local shelter for battered women and I threw away the toss group. I then purchased a tote large enough to hold the group "hardly ever played with". I put those toys in our attic. The most played with toys remained in their rooms. Now, the tip is, about every ___ months (I choose 6), you replace the toys they have access to with the toys in storage. Kind of like getting new toys, but they've had them all along! This really worked with my boys, because after about 6 months, the "mostly played with toys" became "harder used". I also made a deal with my older boys: for their birthday/Christmas they had to pick a few toys to donate to children (shelter, daycare, families we knew that would enjoy them, etc.). That way when the new toys came, our house would not get overrun with toys once again. This might not work until your kids are a little older though. My boys really enjoyed picking out things to give to others - plus I believe it taught them to be givers, to help others and I believe it made them aware that not everyone is blessed as much as we are.
  3. This is what I needed right now. We are moving from one house/town to another house and town. there are 3 paid for storage sheds that I have asked for help cleaning out. Then there are two out buildings ..the barn and the workshop. and the hay loft. So I was doing the clean one box at the time. Then terrible trials hit. AND I was going HELP LORD. Then here you are with a lets do this. .together. THANK YOU.
  4. Melissa you are a blessing and I'm grateful for this opportunity! We operate 2 businesses out of our home and I intend to declutter the hoard of paperwork that has been looming over my life for entirely too long! I'm letting go of the need that everything must be perfect in order to feel accomplished...that's just ridiculous and counterproductive ahhh! I'm parting with the overabundance of organizational supplies that never encouraged organizing, rather another means to accumulate more useless STUFF!! Less is better and I'm simplifying our nest one day at a time :) God bless!
  5. I really needed this in my life right now. I went thru a bunch of clothes, candles, and makeup to give away. It felt so good to start getting rid of clutter. Thank you!
  6. I believe that I did not just stumble across this challenge. I found this at the perfect time - in God's timing I believe. I know that God has been working on me in several areas, including clutter - in my home, my mind, my emotions, my life in general. I am so thankful for you. The time and effort you put into helping other woman find freedom from perfection and living life with purpose! Oh how I need this (and you!) in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  7. I have been so grateful to begin this transforming heart and home cleaning support. Today took a while to get at it (I started with our office desk) but God graciously encouraged me through Melissa and His Holy Spirit and my 73 year old husband. His prayers are being answered too! Thanks sooo much! Kitty
  8. This such a blessing that came at exactly the moment I needed it most in my life, not just to sort out my house, but to purge my heart of hurt. I chose to start with a small area that has been overflowing with clothes that I've decided to get rid of, but they just sat there for months. Some was kids clothes that they outgrew, but some was my ex husband's he left as he moved out. I had been struggling dealing with this Mountain because of the hurt I still felt whenever I saw something that reminded me of my failed marriage and how it ended. But last night I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and dug in. I sorted out the clothes boys, girls, and everything else. It took me only an hour to sort and fold the kids's clothes that I am donating to the folks at work for their littles and to load everything in the car (not just move out to the garage with the mountain of other things I haven't been able to get rid of). One hour and that space opened up and already the atmosphere of the house has already seemed to shift. I'm SUPER excited to see what God speaks to me tonight and what task I am able to tackle next!
  9. Today is my off day from work. When my husband was working it was a great catch-up day. Now that he is looking for work he is very tempted to spend the day with me and kids instead of jobhunting. I feel like I’ve let him being out of work drag me down a little bit instead of being strong for him. I routinely gather things up “for donation” and they sit in my closet for months instead of getting out the door. I do have a three month old and a two-year-old, and it’s hard to know how much of what doesn’t get done is legitimately because I’m taking care of little ones and how much is lack of effort on my part. I tend towards thinking it’s all laziness. It’s probably not a bad thing to think it’s laziness because if I don’t think it has anything to do with me and then I won’t make any effort to change. Sorry… I think I’m rambling. So today is actually take things to donate day. It has been decided. And my three-month-old seems to agree as he looks at me with big happy eyes. It’s probably not a bad thing to think it’s laziness because if I don’t think it has anything to do with me then I won’t make any effort to change. Sorry… I think I’m rambling. So today is actually take things to donate day. It has been decided. And my three-month-old seems to agree as he looks at me with big happy eyes
  10. I am so grateful for God leading me to you. My home has become a storage unit. My husband and I both lost our mothers and it seemed like we were trying to hold on to them by keeping all of their stuff. I would try to go through things only to get overwhelmed with emotion. I want to move forward now, no more excuses. I began yesterday with Christmas. I have a truckload of stuff to donate, and the space I created has lit a fire. We are ready and I thank you for helping me to see the emotional connection and to move past it. God bless you and I am looking forward to a simpler home.
  11. My garage and a box of items in my bedroom are the top things that need to be gone through! Sentimental items are always difficult for me as well. I'm going to spend 15 minutes going through the box in my room and another 15 in the garage throwing out trash/ finding any items to donate.
  12. Hello Melissa, Thank you for this challenge. I have long been in need of unloading my past. I have kept busy to avoid facing it. But, God has been leading me to step back and slow down so that I might clean out the home and then have a clearer vision of what is ahead. As I am cleaning, I am also studying specifically about my own character traits and aiming to find healing by putting into practice some much needed boundaries. I started the challenge in a weird spot... I spent an hour cleaning out the old chicken room in the barn (it needs a few more hours), but I got a good load of mucking out achieved and a few more attempts will make the room usable for a nice room for starting plants for the garden this winter. (It is insulated and has south windows). This will alleviate the stress on the home when I try to do it on our porch and lighten the clutter in there.
    1. Melissa, I'm so proud of you for taking these steps to purger your home and deal with your heart as well. It's so important and YOU are worth the effort. Let me know if I can help in any way. God bless you!
  13. Starting day 1 with my living room, today I’m getting rid of the piles of games that sit on my shelf and never get played! My new house is small and we simply have no room for things that aren’t being used daily! Starting my prayer journal and ready to unpack what He has to show me! Thank you!
  14. Working in my kitchen today. I do have a lot, but I use most everything. I'll be putting it away, instead of it out everywhere.
  15. I didn't expect it, but this post brought me to tears. It resonated with me to the core before my mind could catch up. Your explanations made sense as to why I could be holding on to stuff. I have always chalked it up to a lack of discipline, which is still probably true, but it may be more than that. My husband, who I know loves me dearly, looks at me with puzzlement (often frustration) when he sees all the "stuff" - like it doesn't belong with the person he married and he can't understand why I don't seem to be able to get rid of it. I am now considering that the "stuff" - shame, regrets, bad habits, don't have to belong to me. I am taking your advice to pray about what I am holding on to and purging with a new purpose! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Melissa. <3
  16. (I see bad habits and unmade decisions and wrong choices and mistakes I wish I hadn’t made.) This ripped my heart in two because it describes me exactly. I don't know if I can handle this much honesty. But I'm going to try. Thank you for being there.
  17. I love this post! It made me realize that a big reason I have clutter (speaking about unwanted/unused items that are "shared" items between my husband and I, not items that are just mine) is that I'm uncomfortable with asking my husband if we can get rid of the stuff. It's the discomfort of asking and having him potentially get upset or want to keep it that makes me stuff it back in the closet. I've been pushing past this and we've gotten rid of a bunch of stuff!

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