Friday, September 4, 2009

10 Percent

I have had something weighing on my heart lately, and I think I found a way to feel good about myself and help others in need. It's all about 10%

I have been concerned about how much my family consumes - in all areas of our lives. We eat out too much, we buy too many things and we have been taking less time to enjoy the important things in life. I don't like that I do it, and I don't like the lessons it's teaching my impressionable children. I care about financial future, our planet and people in need - I really, truly do. But my actions have been speaking louder than my words lately.

Today I heard some stories about homeless families in our area. My sister teaches in an inner-city district less than 10 miles from my home. Last year, that school district (just minutes away from my suburban neighborhood) had over 600 homeless children enrolled in its schools.

600 children.

And I sit in my home complaining that I need more storage space because our clothes do not fit into our closets and multiple dressers in the 3 spacious bedrooms (not to mention basement and garage) that we have.

Yet, it's really difficult for me to simply get rid of our things - things that we can (and do) use. So that's where the 10% comes in. I used this technique with Madeline once, while she was cleaning her room. She has too many stuffed animals, yet never wants to part with them. The last time we cleaned her room, I asked her to choose 9 animals to put back in her toy box - and then asked her to select ONE animal to give to charity. We did this until we went through all her animals. She still had tons of toys left, but pulled 10% of her toys to donate to charity. 10% doesn't seem like a lot, yet it's something.

I have decided to put 10% to work in other areas of our home too. Tonight, I tackled Jacob's closet. I pulled 10% of his clothes to give to charity - and he still could go weeks without wearing the same shirt twice! But his closet is less crammed, and I was able to fill almost an entire laundry basket with donations. I will be going through everyone's clothes - as well as our books, toys, media and household items - and giving 10% to someone who truly needs it. I won't miss that 10%, but I am sure it will make a HUGE difference to someone else.

Can you find 10% to give?


  1. This is great motivation for me. Once the girls are settled in school, I plan on minimizing by donating to charity myself!!

    I am almost positive that I will find more than the 10% of our "stuff" to give.

  2. Great idea! I just went through the play room and culled out some stuff. It's crazy how it accumulates. And there is always a birthday around the corner, too. Insanity. Your path to decluttering and sharing sounds great!