Cleaning out the attic

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Our attic was overflowing. I didn’t see this as a problem, but my husband said our attic isn’t made for that kind of storage. What?

I guess our attic will accommodate a small amount of our stuff, but couldn’t handle the job we (well, me really – Shawn and Noah are happy getting rid of everything) were asking it to do. The way I saw it, if there was room for it, I could put it there. Apparently the weight of all my junk on top of our house is something to consider.

I finally talked myself into cleaning it up and clearing it out.  We had at least 22 plastic totes in the attic, not including any Christmas decorations, luggage, bags of other clothes not in totes, paint, pictures, wreathes, etc. It was full.

So, I mentioned to Noah that it would be a good summer project for us, putting it on my “to-do-sometime list.” Noah had it on his short list of things to do – as soon as possible. His summer list included finishing an enormous Lego set he bought around Christmas time but hadn’t found the time to complete, finishing “Mockingjay” – the third book in the Hunger Games series (loved this series!) , and a duct tape project . We were having breakfast Friday and I mentioned that since we didn’t have any commitments that day, it might be a good day to get started on something from his list. Surprisingly, he chose the attic. Which meant I was also choosing the attic.

For much of the weekend and this week as well, we have been up there, sweating and lifting, carrying boxes and dusty things up and down the stairs.  I sorted through lots of things, some from my high school days, some from our wedding, lots from Noah’s early years, and a bunch of stuff of my mom’s. In the middle of this, I found a lot of our things ruined. Candles – melted. Sweaters – weird stains.  Any craft project that involved hot glue – fallen apart. White things – yellowed.

*While I wish I would have thought to take a before-picture of the stuff in the attic, this is the mountain of stuff we are getting rid of that is now in the spare bedroom…*

I tried to clean some of it up. I put a sheet, a blanket, and a couple of pillow shams in the washer to see what would happen, hoping they would come out looking like new.

Later that evening, I remembered the things in the washer. I went to get them out and was bummed by what I saw. All over the inside of my washer was some weird substance that resembled damp clumps of that stuff you put in the bottom of hamster cages. And some netting I didn’t recognize. Through the process of elimination, I realized that a few hours before it had been a blanket.

Not only was the blanket destroyed, it also had potential of destroying my new washer. Let me give a bit of background here – We just bought a washer a few weeks ago, after a washer we owned for around 3 years broke due to no fault of our own, with no warranty and no help from Whirlpool (even after a scathing email complete with a frowny face). Shawn used a Shop-Vac to suck all of the grossness  out of the washer last night. I am washing a test load right now as I write this, hoping the machine comes out of this alive.

God kind of spoke to me about this ratty old blanket, the melted candles, and the yellowed things from my attic that I thought were so important. By holding on to things I couldn’t let go of, not only was it not helpful, it was potentially harmful.

Things from my past that I wish I had done differently and other things I knew I had done my way that went against what God wanted for me.  I know these things aren’t good, but there was a part of me that would still think about them and not want to give them up entirely. I wasn’t giving these things an active place in my life, in my symbolic living room, but I was holding on to them, giving them value by storing them in my heart and mind. Whether it was remembering fondly things that make God sad, or beating myself up over things that have been forgiven, neither belong in my attic. Not only would it do harm to me by keeping them there, it has potential to do harm to others as well. Kind of like the harm that could come to my washer.

In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul warns the Christians in Philippi about this sort of thing –

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

He is calling for an attic overhaul of sorts. If we have things in our minds and hearts that don’t fit into his neatly separated storage containers – true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy – toss it.  It doesn’t belong. In verse 9 he tells us that by doing this, and following his example as he follows the example of Christ, we can have the peace of God. Boy do I want that peace.

God will gladly help us clean out those thoughts, and we can start fresh with our newly acquired Apostle Paul Storage System. And to keep it clean, when we start to have a thought that we know isn’t God-approved – we need to get rid of it. Storing it isn’t an option if we want God’s peace. So glad He is happy to help.

On a side note, my washer just dinged, and I checked – it’s working great! Shew !

Oh, also I am having a yard sale this Saturday. Stop by!

 

6/15/2013

About Jen Chapman

She is a wife to Shawn for 19 years and counting, and a mom to Noah, and together they live out their story in their tiny town of Barboursville, WV. She is a freelance writer and a blogger at girlmeetsgrace.com. She has a slightly dangerous addiction to cheese and a love of all things pink, and has no fewer than three books with her at any given time. She has seen God’s grace redeem her big-time and wants everyone to know it and experience it for themselves. She wants more than anything to give praise and honor to Jesus, and point people to Him.

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