Over the course of the previous year, I’ve come to realize a stirring truth: I have so much more than I deserve or need. Growing up middle class, I always knew I was a bit spoiled, but I felt I had a right to my unnecessary objects. My family worked hard, we were blessed, what could I do but enjoy it? The American Dream was my right. Right?
Changes this past year have catapulted me through one of the most meaningful, game-changing spiritual journeys of my young life. I faced a fact that had been nagging at me for years: the stuff does not, will not, cannot give me joy. On top of that, when the eyes of my heart were opened to how my excess compares to the need of so many others, all the stuff started to make me feel kind of sick. Suffocated and selfish and dangerously silly.
Where do you start, though, when every corner of your everyday life is filled with stuff? I started with one of the most cluttered and beloved spots in my home: my closet. For the past year, I’ve made an effort to regularly bag things up from my closet to give away. This week, though, as I reread Crazy Love, I clearly felt that I needed to push myself further. Since last spring, I’ve given a ridiculous amount of clothes away, but my closet remained filled to the brim, so full that my husband’s clothes were relegated to tops shelves, corners, and the closet in the laundry room. I needed to stop holding on to the stuff.
Thus, the 50% Project came about. After praying to make sure I wasn’t coming up with this idea on my own just to make some human gesture of “sacrifice,” I knew that giving away 50% of my clothes was the goal.
I kept the things I actually wear as well as good, classic pieces and put the rest in bags. It wasn’t quite 50%, but as I progressed, the numbers became less important. I let go of things I had been holding onto, I gave my husband back space in his own closet, I set good pieces of clothing aside for someone who could never, ever afford them otherwise.
It’s just clothes. I know that. For me, though, clothes are the earthly object to which I always find myself clinging for self-assurance and happiness. In other words, it was exactly where I needed to start the process of simplifying my life and giving more to others.