Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Throw Out Fifty Things

Here begins my newest blog: Faith in Books. I will be reviewing a secular book once a week from a Christian faith perspective. I invite your comments and questions, especially if you have read the book. I also hope that you may find one or two of these to be interesting enough to read. I will try to avoid spoilers!

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke
Published by Springboard Press

As I begin this newest blog in the Spring, what better way than to review a book that will definitely help in doing some spring cleaning! This book is not just another physical organizational tool - although it can help in that way. Gail Blanke, who is a motivational coach, focuses you on not only shedding stuff out of your closets and drawers but also getting rid of all that mental junk that we carry around in our heads. That is why I really appreciate this book. Gail understands that cleaning out our garages is only the beginning. What really makes us feel the freest is clearing our minds. She gives real-life stories on both kinds of purging - physical and mental. Then she encourages the reader to begin anew. An even greater benefit to her book is helpful suggestions on where to take your junk rather than filling up the landfills or continuing to harbor all the emotional baggage we carry around with us. Did you know that a place called Cartridge World will actually pay you to take your old ink and toner cartridges? Been thinking that you are just not ready to tackle that new project, send in that manuscript or ask for what you really need? Do it now, Gail encourages. We don't have to be "ready," perfect, or even have to wait. We are more powerful and better equipped that we think (see Chapter 17: Letting Go of Waiting for the Right Moment in the Attacking the Mental Mess section). In addition, you can go to Gail's website and add your own story of what you threw out.

My personal impressions:

I admit that I had a hard time listing stuff I was throwing out - I think I am in the process of getting rid of at least fifty pounds of things. But what I really appreciate is the lack of guilt. That's right - no guilt about getting rid of my Grandmother's china. It won't bring her back, I already have lots of precious memories, I am keeping the things that I really, really love that were hers and I can find someone who will love the china even more than I do (and I may make a few dollars in the process). In addition, I am going to stop saying that I must wait until the time is "right" to submit my ideas for a book on baptism. I will quit trying to make it perfect and just go for it. It is in God's hands, anyway!

How throwing out fifty things speaks to my own Christian Faith:

That brings us to how this book speaks to my own faith as a Christian.  One of the scriptures that I have dealt with on and off over the years is the passage from Luke 18:24. Jesus has instructed the rich young man to go and sell all he has. In the face of the young man's sadness, Jesus proclaims that it is very hard for the rich to enter the kingdom. When I begin to go through my drawers and closets, I realize how very rich I am and how much stuff I have. It feels as though all this stuff has prevented me from fully entering into the kingdom because it weighs me down and has become more important than the gospel in my life. Can anyone else out there relate? When I get rid of the things, I feel so much lighter -- as though I have taken on Jesus' own burden and it is light!

Another scripture that hits me when casting off all the mental mess is also from Luke: Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life....Luke 21:34 NRSV. When you cast off all that mental stuff, you discover how weighed down you've been feeling - or at least that was my own experience. Our mental attitudes can keep us from watchful and ready!

I found several other mental burdens that Gail encourages the reader to cast off to be very helpful for the Christian journey. For example, giving up the idea that you always have to be right and if you are treated unjustly, you must do whatever you can to make sure everyone knows that you are right. However, if you give up trying to be right all the time, you sure can be more forgiving. Just like God is forgiving you.

I highly recommend this book.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims


  1. What an awesome idea for a blog...I'm excited about your new venture and will recommend to all...AND I have lots of things to throw out or give away...starting with clothes...

  2. I really, really, like this blog. You've inspired me to read the book....I've got lots more than 50 things to throw out...does that mean I have to read the book multiple times?? :)

  3. This means a lot to me right now, since I have started the process of de-cluttering my home. I guess I need to consider doing the same to my brain!

    It's funny though, that when I send stuff out, in the trash or as a donation, it seems that more stuff seems to come in to replace it. What's that about?

  4. Love this idea for a book blog and I can't wait to see what you are reading! A move across country will help you declutter, but as I look around I see more. It feels so good to have a place for everything.