One of my first orders of business when I quit working full time and found myself at home full time was throwing a purging party.
My husband and I got married quickly. You can do that when you’re in your thirties and have stopped bowing to the expectations of others, even if “others” are your own parents. We dated two months, got engaged, and the day after our engagement, Ryan told me he could be ready to marry me in two months if I could be ready in two months.
My heart was ready that day but there were those details of…finding a dress, attending showers, sending out invitations, finding a bridal party, and more. So while sometimes two months felt like not nearly enough time to hang onto my hat, most of the time, two months felt like forever.
We had a lovely wedding that came out looking like we spent more than two months planning it, but the flip side of that success was that moving in together after our wedding was completely haphazard. Ryan threw things in boxes and I threw them out of boxes and into closets and drawers. That was how we combined our households.
For two and a half years, we lived in an average-sized home with closets and cabinets that threatened bodily harm with each door opening, because we’d thrown so much inside them…we’d run out of room. For real.
So when I no longer had to be on the road at 6:45 in the morning, and I no longer rolled back in the driveway at 5:30 at night, I spent my days cleaning. Not one drawer, cabinet, attic tote, closet, or hidden cranny escaped my attention. I pulled out every possession and took serious stock. Had we used it in the last 2 1/2 years? Did it fit? Did it represent either of us? Did we have four others just like it? Did we love it? And with ruthless abandon, I pushed through our house, one room at a time, slapping green stickers on our excess and placing a value on each that I hoped landed between fair to us and appealing to buyers.
Sometimes Ryan came home to piles of green-stickered stuff, raised his eyebrows, and said “WOW! You sure about all this?”
And I was. I was sure I no longer needed every crevice of my home cluttered until I felt suffocated. I was sure I no longer needed 6 8×8 pans. I was sure I no longer needed clothes to cover every day for a year. I was sure I no longer needed that piece of art that reflected college Bekah, not married Shaffers.
Purging is good for the soul. I love opening cabinets and seeing space. I love knowing exactly what we have and exactly what we don’t. I love knowing where to find something and knowing I won’t have to unload an entire shelf to reach it.
We live in excess, our pastor reminded us recently. We do. And I’m finding much freedom in letting go of the too-much so I can enjoy the just-enough.