Decluttering During Lent- Frivolous Or From The Heart?

I am beginning my journey of 40 Days 40 Bags today. Each day during Lent, you fill a bag of stuff from your home, and you get rid of it. Simple, yet effective. But… is this truly about Lent? Or is it just some selfish excuse to do some home-improvement projects?

lenten cleaning projects frivolous or from the heart- square

One of my favorite scriptures! <3

As I’ve already mentioned this year in my post about 40 Days 40 Bags, I am going to be working on decluttering my house this Lent. I am very excited to get this project underway! You can follow my progress on Instagram, and join in with your pictures on Instagram and Facebook using hashtag: #40bagsin40days

So I’ve actually heard some controversy about these types of “Lenten Cleaning” projects. It is just a frivolous home project masquerading as a Lenten project? I don’t think so, and here’s my reasoning:

We Are Called To Be Simple People

The Bible specifically asks us not to be attached to our Earthly possessions. Think about people in Biblical times. They had waaaaaaaay less stuff than we have now-a-days. Do you think Jesus was just talking to them when he asks us to be less attached to stuff? Certainly not. We’re all being called to a simpler lifestyle.

We Have More Stuff Than Ever Before

Stuff is a burden. It just is. There’s no such thing as owning things that don’t take time and energy. Everything has to be dusted, maintained, organized, stored, etc. Take some time to consider this: There has not been 1 point in History yet where people owned the amount of things that we do today without having help in the home. For the most part, you were either poor and you has 2 dresses- your regular dress and Sunday dress, OR you have tons of clothes but they were cleaned and maintained by servants. So this era of “stuff” with no help in the home is uncharted territory. I think that’s why we’re seeing so much struggling. It’s clearly an area that needs attention.

Stuff Keeps Us From God’s Callings In Our Lives

The more time and energy we spend on our stuff, the less we have left for what God is calling us to do. How many of us find ourselves saying things like “We can’t have more kids- we don’t have the space (or money)” or “We couldn’t possibly move again- it’s such a hassle.” Or even “I don’t have time to work on that service project- how can I when my own house is in need of so much attention?” When we’re free of our earthly burdens, we’re more ready for whatever God wants us to do.

It Directly Connects To Almsgiving

You fill 40 bags with stuff, you get rid of them. In some cases, what you’re getting rid of may just be trash. In other cases, these things are donations. Donations=Almsgiving. Unfortunately, sometimes when we come across “nice stuff”, our first thought is to sell it, or hoard it incase we “need” it later. I would actually discourage that during this project for 2 reasons: 1. it takes longer to get it out of your house when you’re selling it and 2. it defeats the “almsgiving” portion of the project. I’ll insert a little disclaimer here to say there will certainly be exceptions to this generalization. Make your own judgement call. Read more of my thoughts about this here. 

You Can Get Kids Involved

Kids should be taught to declutter from an early age. When we only do it secretly for them behind their backs, they’re missing out on a vital skill they will need as adults: discernment when it comes to earthly possessions. Plus, it’s a much more tangible concept for a child to donate some of their old toys to other than it is when mom and dad write a check and drop in in the mail to someone.

Better “Lenten Cleaning” Than “Spring Cleaning”

During Lent, we focus on getting ourselves ready for Easter through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving… why not get our houses ready as well? What a great gift to our family to provide them with a peaceful and joyful home for Easter! And for those of us who hate cleaning and organizing, it’s certainly a sacrifice to get it all done. And we can totally pray and offer it all up as we chug along.

It’s A Personal Problem

Wow, so this Catholic Icing lady has a lot of thoughts about decluttering, huh? Well, yes. I really do. Because it’s been a real struggle of mine. And I could probably have an entire blog devoted to freeing yourself from stuff, because it’s an area that I really struggle in and work at daily.

So ya. Some of us have a serious problem with stuff. And for those of us that do, God is definitely calling us to a different lifestyle. So it is a Lenten thing.

Please don’t judge if you’re an organizational wizard. We all struggle in different areas. If you don’t feel that God is calling you to declutter your house for Lent, then by all means, try to find what God is calling you to do. But don’t knock the decluttering. <3

Further Reading

My friend Amy actually wrote an ebook on Biblical Decluttering that was a big inspiration to me in my battle with stuff. I highly suggest it- it’s free for her subscribers: Get It Here (I also totally recommend reading Raising Arrows all the time- Amy is not only a friend, but a big inspiration to me in many areas!)

Another friend of mine also runs a blog that is devoted to helping slobs recover their homes. Dana’s faith is important to her, and she considers her blog a ministry to homemakers. Total bonus: she’s hilarious. If you struggle in this area, her blog is a must read: A Slob Comes Clean

Ready to get started? Me, too! Check out my free printables to help you on your Lenten cleaning journey here:

40 days 40 bags printable for lent

lenten cleaning plan printable

Find all of my resources for Lent here

How do you feel? Can decluttering be from the heart? Share in the comments!

Comments

  1. love the posts this week, very inspiring! 😉 And I get it on the decluttering, I am with you, I have read the controversy on it too…who are we to judge people’s intentions? Good luck with it!

  2. I love this idea. It gives the cleaning purpose and makes it more meaningful. I say it’s a win-win. We get to realize just how much frivolous and unnecessary items we have in our home, we get to share with others items they may in fact need, and we get to focus on trimming down to what is truly important rather than just keeping stuff to have it in the house. I hope I’m making sense. I’ll be implementing this idea myself today and including my family (yes, kids, let’s do this!). Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello Lacy,
    Thank you for this post. What you wrote under the headings: We are Called to be Simple People,We Have More Stuff Than Ever Before, and Stuff Keeps us from God’s Callings in Our Lives especially resonates with me. It’s nice to be talking about this and helps spur me to action!! Thank you!

  4. Lacy, have you seen Blessed by Less by Susan V. Vogt? She did the Lenten practice of decluttering and found it was spiritual decluttering too.

  5. I have been working on decluttering for the past year. We have donated bags and bags and boxes and boxes of “stuff” to local charities, where I sincerely hope people in need can use it. It has been eye-opening to me to realize how much money and time have been wrapped up in all this stuff that we don’t really need/use. I feel much more peaceful and centered and GRATEFUL for the blessings I do have without all the clutter. Please keep posting about your decluttering journey!

  6. Kimberly says:

    I get that Lent is not about “getting things done” but for me anyway, finishing things is so very difficult. I’ve found that my sacrifice has been in cleaning the last little corner, putting that last item away, scrubbing that one little last spot in the floor (truly things I tend to be slothful about normally). People who critique others’ Lenten promises may need to work on a virtue of their own lol! While I admit that the thrill of cleaner spaces has been wonderful, my body feels the aches and pains and my mind the strain of what do I do with THIS …I’m hoping my temperance and perseverance is being polished right alongside these 40bags projects!

  7. Love this! I have found that our physical space affects our spiritual life. I have always been able to connect with God through prayer and praise, but recently I have run into several stumbling blocks. I realized it’s not a lack of my desire or God’s grace: it’s my home being so disorganized! It’s affecting my relationships with family and my ability to be in tune with the Holy Spirit. Lenten Cleaning is a much more important topic than we know!

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