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New Carpet (or An Opportunity to Declutter)

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September 10, 2012 by Stephen

Last week our church replaced the carpet in several parts of our building, including our church office. The whole process of installing the carpet only took two days. It was amazing – four guys removed all the old carpet and put down new carpet in our preschool classrooms, adult classrooms, two hallways, our music suite, and our church office area. The process of preparing for the new carpet took much longer. And the process of restoring things back to normal is still ongoing. During this process, I’ve had time to reflect on some things, especially as I was preparing for the new carpet and as I finish putting things back in place.

In order for my office to get new carpet I had to pack up my office first. That might not sound like a big deal, but I have four bookcases and two desks – all completely full of books and other stuff. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to having to pack things up. However, this did provide an opportunity to declutter some more of my office (and hopefully, life). I decluttered some (my filing cabinet and one of the desks) before I left for my sabbatical in June. That was helpful and hopeful – helpful because it meant less to do; hopeful because I knew it could be done and I would feel good after doing it.

I was able to get it all done in time. My office now has new carpet. And, I’ve almost got everything back in place. Throughout the process, I’ve learned a few things that I want to share here – (mainly so I don’t forget them).

1) It’s a good idea to declutter every once in awhile. I love books. I love music. I love to be prepared for just about anything. All these things are good, but they can also tend to create clutter – and lots of it! I took getting new carpet as an opportunity to put some things away. Some things I gave to others who might use them,some things went into the trash or recycling, and some things went into storage. In doing this, my office now looks more inviting to come hang out in and I have things on the shelves and in the drawers that I actually use.

2) This process has brought me to the realization that if my office is this cluttered, then my life is probably cluttered also. This was reinforced as I reviewed/prepared a presentation I gave on Saturday. The presentation was on social media. The temptation with social media is to try and do too much and be too connected. I have found that I tend to do the same in life. If I have the discipline to declutter the things in my life, I can focus more on the things I am passionate about and pursue my dreams and use my imagination more fully. (My friend Josh has a great post that delves further into this idea on his blog. Check it out here.)

3) A final observation is that change is good. It may not always be easy or what we want, but it is good to have to look at things with a fresh outlook. I feel good about my new decluttered office/life. I enjoyed finding things I had forgotten I had – old academic papers, books I hadn’t read in a awhile, encouraging notes, etc. I also enjoyed getting rid of some junk – stuff I don’t need anymore or that doesn’t fit with where I am in my journey right now.

I’m excited about life right now! Decuttering will be good for me – as a minister, in my relationship with God, and in my relationships with my family and friends.

Here’s my advice to you – get some new carpet in your life!

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