I’ve never observed Lent and can’t say that I’m particularly keen on voluntary deprivation for 40 days. However, when a friend challenged me to give up an item for each day, be it clothing, a book, CD, to others, I thought it the perfect opportunity to have a clear out.
I can find it difficult to part with items and having to clear my desk of 9 years during this time showed me that it’s not just at home that I hold onto things I’m sure I’ll ‘need’ at some stage; you know like my quit smoking planner from 2013!
The first few days of the challenge were a breeze, I was having some plastering done at home so needed to clear out the bedroom. As the days went on it became more of a struggle, being unable to part with any more clothes, I turned my attention to books, CDs, videotapes- yes you read right, kitchen utensils, make up.
Where did this stuff go I hear you ask. I’m sure we are all beginning to appreciate that nothing is really binned, something also ends up somewhere, often in landfill. Well I used our local authority recycling service for fabrics, books. I donated to mobile libraries; I feel less guilty about still not having returned the books that I’ve borrowed now! I donated to charity shops; I was little reluctant as some seem so inundated with donations that they can be choosy as to what they will take. I came across one on my way to work who couldn’t have been any more appreciative of what I gave them including a garden light and an oil painting. I listed nail polish on Olio, it’s not only for sharing foods, not before one of my bestie’s had first dibs mind.
The most random item that I parted with was a pair of boxer shorts, new, still in their packaging, that I found at the back of my wardrobe. I packed them in my work bag with the intention of donating to the ever grateful charity shop, when I spotted a homeless man sat at the train station. I apologised in advance if I was going to cause any offence but explained that I had a pair of unworn boxer shorts if he’d like them. He nodded and I handed them to him. As I carried on to work, it occurred to me that I’d never thought about what the homeless do for clean underwear. It’s something that I take for granted on a daily basis.
The 40 days brought home that there will always be someone who can reuse what we no longer need, even my quit smoking planner can be recycled. We can become so preoccupied with what we have in our homes that we can lose sight of those outside who go without. For the food that we are too full to eat someone will be hungry for, The clothes that we think are worn could meet another being warm. I feel like I cheated Lent, as whilst I observed the 40 days, it didn’t feel that there was much sacrifice involved. In fact it made me realise just how much I still have.