Helping to De-clutter

hh1Proverbs 31:20 “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

It’s the New Year. A time of simplifying. However, this can mean a very stressful time for many people. Although I love to organize, I know that there are many who do not have that “talent.” This time of year offers a great opportunity to help someone else by helping them to de-clutter their stuff. It may be a room in their house, or just a closet or box. Whatever it is, it may be something that has been hanging over their heads, something they’ve been dreading to do, or are unable to do themselves. If you also want to take this time to de-clutter your own space, check out our June 2008 issue, Closet Clean-up. This article offers great ideas for simplifying your own life this time of year, while at the same time giving to others.

Begin by considering who you can help. Pray about it. Is there a widow at church who could use help cleaning her basement? Is there a mom of four who needs a help getting started on that closet or box of pictures she’s been dreading? Sometimes all it takes is someone else’s presence to motivate us to do things we’ve been putting off. Approach the person you’ve chosen and offer to help them simplify and organize as a way for you to serve them. You may actually get turned down by several people before you find someone willing to accept your help. We are often too prideful to admit that we could use the help of others. It is important, however, to be careful in how you approach someone. Even if you are aware that they are not organized or are untidy, try not to mention that in your approach. Remember, your primary reason for doing this is to serve, and glorify God. I suggest asking the person you’ve considered that you want to serve them by helping them with a project that they’ve been putting off. If she is a busy mom, tell her that you know she may not have time for her own projects and organizing, and you’d like to help her.

After finding someone you can serve, set a date and time that’s convenient for them. You may even set several dates and times in order to get through a larger job. Come prepared with some organizing and de-cluttering tips, which you can find online if you are not an organizational person. Then let them take the lead. Encourage them to make decisions of what to do with their clutter, but allow them to make the decisions on what goes and what stays. Some things have value to a person that we would never understand, so let them have control of that. As I mentioned before, your job may simply be to motivate them to begin their project and get through it. You can gently encourage them to consider why they have been holding onto something. They may not even know anymore, and only have it out of familiarity.

hh2For other people, they may not need help deciding at all! You may choose to serve someone who simply needs assistance moving stuff or taking it to a donation center. Depending on the size of the job, you may need to enlist the help of someone with a truck. Try not to leave the person with the bigger job of cleaning up after the organizational overhaul. Allow yourselves enough time to complete the task, even if it means returning a little later to finish.

Helping people simplify their space and lives can be such a blessing to them. It can often help them to feel more peaceful about other aspects of their lives. But far more important in helping someone is showing them God’s love through our service to them.

Lisa Grimenstein

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