“Not what we give,
But what we share,
For the gift without the giver
~James Russell Lowell
My cousins near Des Moines are expecting about 26” of snow over the weekend. Winter is still very much on their minds. Other friends are dealing with flooded areas and still others are continuing to clean up the debris from recent strong winds.
Here in Mississippi, the rain has passed, the weather is balmy and the wind is soft…and with all of the blooming buttercups in the yard, I’m having a hard time restraining myself from doing some Spring Cleaning out in the yard. It’s still too early. I know this from years of experience…of doing the garden clean-out before winter had truly passed.
Knowing that I will most likely have more cold weather to endure doesn’t remove my desire for some good old-fashioned Spring Cleaning! (Oh, come on! You KNOW you can’t wait to do it, too!—grin) Since I can’t be out in the yard quite yet, I’m focusing on the inside for now.
My idea of Spring Cleaning may be a bit different from most people. I like to look around the house and see what needs to move on out to bless others. Actually, I do this several times a year. My husband has joked that he has had to keep moving in the past not to be included in the clean-out. He’s wrong about that…I need him to help me with getting some of the heavier items out of the house!
I am not a minimalist as far as home decorating goes, but I’m definitely not averse to seeing some “blank spaces” as I look around a room. I’ve had a rule for years that when something comes into the house, something must leave the house. That forces me to make buying decisions very carefully. If something catches my eye, my first thought is, “Where would I put it?” and my second is, “Do I love that more than something I already own?” If not, then it stays in the store.
Sometimes our things move on to friends, sometimes they get sold, but most of the time, they end up at a local charity shop. I love the idea that someone else can make use of these things and be able to purchase them at reasonable prices…all the while creating a benefit for others who are in need.
At the risk of moving this in a political direction, the current state of our economy has created a larger group of people in need of assistance; people who are not content to take government hand-outs, but are having a very difficult time making ends meet. Donating to local charities—whether in cash or in donated goods–means some of your own neighbors may be able to receive additional assistance or even make purchases at prices that are still within their strained budgets without feeling embarrassed or having to do without the things they need.
So here it is…your challenge for the weekend: start going through your cabinets or your closets and start a ‘give-away’ box for a charity in your area. Most of us have more than just the bare necessities and many of us have more than we will ever use. Don’t make this a big deal—just pick one side of your kitchen and clean out those unused pots, pans, dishes, glasses, etc. OR use this as the opportunity to go through your clothes closets and get ready for the upcoming change of season by cleaning out those things you no longer love or that your kids have outgrown.
It’s “not what we give, but what we share…” What will you share this weekend? I think you’ll find you’ll be blessing yourself as well as others nearby!