Sometimes holding on to stuff is a wise decision. Why purge those out-grown onesies if they can be handed-down to a younger sibling? Yes, sometimes storing up stuff is necessary. But what about when the things in your closets are simply holding you back?
Let the Stockpiling Begin
It was 1995 when my family threw me a baby shower to help me welcome my firstborn. I still remember oohing and aahing over all those tiny new outfits and the sweet, bunny print bedding.
My husband and I had hoped, right from the start, to grow a big family and by 1999 we were well on our way. Seeing as our little ones were generally arriving every other year, it seemed prudent to keep a ready supply of baby items in the attic.
By the time our children numbered 7 in 2008, we’d amassed box upon box of clothing and shoes in every size from newborn to teen (not to mention the boxes of blankets, winter wear and baby paraphernalia). Of course, all that stock-piling meant that I had the dreaded bi-annual chore of wading through those boxes in order to swap out the seasonal items and reassign sizes.
However, as much as I disliked sorting through the mounds of stuff, I appreciated the security of knowing that we had the means to keep clothes on our children’s backs without having to overtax our normally tight budget twice a year.
Then life threw us some curve balls. Between 2010 and 2011 we suffered repeated miscarriages and I came to the realization that our baby-making days just might be over. With that idea in mind, holding onto all of that stuff seemed not only impractical, but a little bit selfish.
Since a few friends had expressed needs for children’s clothing, it was the perfect opportunity to let go.
It took me the better part of a day to organize the give-away piles by size, gender and season. Admittedly, I cried as I set aside those tiny t-shirts and pint-sized pants.
Each little outfit had a story to tell: there was the sweet newborn gown that all but one of my babies had worn and the matching tot-sized, tie-dyed shirts that had been a gift from my best friend. Memories tugged at my tender heart as I pulled the clothes out of storage, but I also spent the time coming to terms with my losses and more importantly counting my blessings.
Small Acts Become Prayers
Once I’d managed to assign all those well-loved clothes, I decided to go the extra step and wash them. I’m glad that I did, not only because it took a burden off of the receiver, but because that small act turned into a prayer of sorts.
After washing and drying, I folded each little piece and I whispered prayers of gratitude for every time that I’d been privileged to nestle my nose into a newborn’s neck folds, satiate a ravenous baby at my breast, comfort a crabby toddler and experience all of those childhood firsts.
Rather than continue to focus on the never-will-be’s of the babies I’d lost and the no-more’s of my fading years of fertility, I thought about all of the joys I’d been privileged to experience; and I recognized the value in being able to bless other families who were in need.
By the end of the weekend, I’d not only succeeded in purging our attic of clutter, I’d rediscovered the healing power of gratitude.