Editors note: this article is from the Life’s a Jungle! message by Nancy C. Anderson and Tonya Ruiz, who speak and write as the Cheetah Chicks.®

How many items in your home are broken, outdated, or worthless?  Is your home like mine? We had oodles of items we didn’t need. For instance, we had accumulated 12 years of Auto Club books.  We should have thrown the outdated ones away when we got the new ones, but did we?  No!  However, during a 15-minute spurt of de-cluttering, I tackled one bookshelf and bravely threw the outdated books in the recycle trash bin. I felt so free!   

Holding on to worthless things?

In South Africa, there are colonies of termites that build towers large enough for a man to stand in, but in Southern California, these critters are doing the opposite by tearing down structures. Our house was due to be treated by the Termite Squad and they asked us to put protective bags around all the food and medicines so the poison, meant to kill the bugs, didn’t kill us.

I secured the food and moved on to our medicine cabinet where I found a surprise.  Our son, Nick, is 21 years old, 6’5” tall, and weighs 210 lbs, so why did I still have liquid INFANT Tylenol??? Its label read, “Effective for children up to 35 pounds.  Nick would have to drink a six-pack. But he’d better not use it at all because it expired 18 years ago!  I should have thrown it out during the ‘80’so I made up for lost time and tossed various pills and elixirs.  When it comes to medicines, if you’re in doubt, throw it out!

If it’s a stray, throw it away!

Sometimes we hold onto things because they are part of a set. We keep thinking that the other part will magically appear and the two shall become one again.  Trust me that usually doesn’t happen, I have a cute sock, with an embroidered picture of Minnie Mouse, that has been patiently waiting for her better half to show up—for 5 years. What should I do with Minnie? Kick her to the curb!

No matter what you promise yourself, you are not going to give a makeover to that single earring by turning it into a pin.  Be honest—toss it. Magical thinking will get you nowhere. My darling husband, Ron, is a bit of a packrat. He’s also an optimist, so he keeps hoping that one day he’ll find a bunch of keys that will miraculously fit the locks he’s stockpiled. Never gonna happen!  Here’s the Cheetah Chicks’ rule on this sort of thing: If it’s a stray, throw it away. Oh, and here’s another handy-hint: When you throw out clutter, use dark trash bags, not see-through ones. Otherwise, family members may “rescue” things!

Toss out spiritual clutter

Our spiritual hut may need a spring-cleaning too. What do we need to throw out of our hearts? Envy? Pride? Bitterness? Unhealthy desires? I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I was holding onto a grudge against a longtime acquaintance, and every time I saw her, my resentment grew.  It got to the point where my heart raced and my stomach tightened each time I thought about her. Until one day, I made a decision to forgive her.  She didn’t ask for forgiveness, and had never even apologized, but I asked the Lord to help me let go of the anger and bitterness.  I threw away my resentment and gained peace of mind.

Hebrew 12:1 tells is to “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us.”  The good news is; if we repent and ask God to forgive us, He throws those things into the sea of forgetfulness. Then, after we are free of burdens that hold us back and weigh us down, we are able to venture out in new directions and live an abundant life with a clutter free heart.

Nancy C. Anderson writes and speaks with her best friend, Tonya Ruiz, as the Cheetah Chicks.®   They travel coast-to-coast teaching at Christian women’s events and  have been featured, individually, through national media including The 700 Club, Montel, FamilyLife Today, Moody’s Midday Connection, Coral Ridge Ministries, and Today’s Christian Woman.  For more information and instructions on how to join their Cheetah Chicks Club, go to: www.CheetahChicks.com.