Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.
We woke up one Saturday morning with nothing on the calendar, so decided to have a de-cluttering day. I looked everywhere and knew there were a lot of things that were ready to go bless another family. At 8:30 we made sure everyone was up and dressed, and as they ate breakfast, I told them the plan. “Today is de-cluttering day! Today we are going to all work together to get rid of the things we do not need.” Then I outlined the rules for them, and with great excitement and enthusiasm, I put the incentives on our white board.
If (as a family) we get rid of 100 items, we would get dessert with lunch.
If we gave away 200 items, we could go out for ice cream one night this week.
If we gave away 300 items, the family could go out to eat for dinner.
If we gave away 400 items, we could have dinner out, with dessert!
Trash did not count in the numbers. Every item had to go through the dining room for mom to make sure it was suitable to give away. Every item was to be tallied on a note pad kept in the dining room. Everyone got straight to work. My oldest daughter emptied her truck and turned down the seats to hold the loot. My middle daughter got the trash bags and boxes ready. My youngest daughter got the laundry baskets to use to transport stuff from the rooms to the dining room.
It did not take long for the excitement to build as the kids discussed the “poor children” who would love to get their toys that they no longer cherished but were still in terrific shape. They joyfully brought out some little dolls that were always underfoot, but rarely appreciated. They brought out clothes that were outgrown, and made room in their drawers for the things they needed in there. Around lunchtime the truck was FULL. Our item count was very close to 300. Over lunch the kids discussed the progress so far and were excitedly planning when we would go out to ice cream. They the question came up about “What if we hit 500 items?” That got the excitement growing again and after lunch everyone got back in gear. We were all getting pretty tired by then, but kept saying: look for one more thing, keep going! Almost to 400! Soon, we were all in the garage and the number neared 500. Anne Mary declared that 500 items should be a family movie night with POPCORN! “YES!” everyone shouted! The excitement built as the 499th item was in the box. Then, they started talking about donating their winter coats, shoes, umbrellas, and one another’s clothes.
I am ashamed to say we could probably do this over and over again and still have too much stuff, but I was excited to see the family pull together with a common goal and a lot of fun. We know others will be blessed by what we gave away. The children do take care of their things and they are usually in very good shape when they have outgrown them. Think about how your family could be a blessing to others today. Perhaps you could set a goal for each person to give away five things, or ten things. Make it a fun challenge and celebrate each act of generosity. Your family will be blessed!
O Lord, help us to be content, Whatever we possess; Protect us from the foolish lie That “more” brings happiness.
– David Sper