Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Day I (Almost)Threw Away My Wedding Bouquet

My wedding bouquet was gorgeous.  It was simple, classic and beautiful, with a silky ribbon around the stems, held on by pearl pins.

Emphasis on "was".  Trent's sister hung my bouquet up to dry after the wedding, which I very much appreciated, but it then sat in a vase on our mantel for the next 5 years getting quite crispy and dusty.  Amidst our recent overhaul of our house and ruthless decluttering, Trent and I made a deal that he would throw away my bouquet at some random time unknown to me because I couldn't bring myself to do it and I would throw away his rusty motorcycle sissy bar at some random time unknown to him because he couldn't bring himself to do it.   I held up my end of the deal but, lucky for my bouquet, Trent is forgetful a boy.  It hung around long enough for me to figure out a different plan.   I've made rose jars before for various random flowers Trent has given me (here, here, here), so why would my wedding bouquet deserve less?  I ever so carefully took it apart, put the pearl pins from the stems in the bottom of the jar, added as many rose buds as would fit without them crumpling into dust, and tied the original ribbon around the jar.

It turned out great, but this post is about more than my wedding bouquet's rescue from garbage death.

This is about the fact that I have been so completely thorough and ruthless with decluttering our home and life that...I was about to throw away my wedding bouquet...  

Anyone who knows what a sentimental sap I am knows that that is uncharacteristic of me.  Anyone who has seen the boxes of photos, letters, cards and memorabilia I keep knows that it would take a lot for me to reach that point.   There are a few reasons for this blind and furious desire to get stuff out of here:

1. I visited my sister Sarah in San Antonio a couple times this summer.  The house she lives in is furnished with necessities and decorated in her minimalist, beautiful style.   There is no clutter where she lives.  Everything has a purpose and a place and that's all there is to it.  I left her home inspired to attempt the same with ours.  Less is more...more space, more time not spent cleaning, more peace of mind.

2. We need the space.  It's a simple matter of logistics.  We are about to open our home to one or two kids at a time and we are serious about their rooms being their rooms.   This means that the camping gear and card table that have heretofore lived in the "kid room" closet need to find a new home, either elsewhere in our house or at Goodwill, so that that closet can truly become a kid's closet.  The children in our home need us to help them find self esteem and identity. Having to shove around our stuff to make a bit of room for their own is not going to help with that very important search.

3. There were closets in our house that have held the same junk since we moved in.  If we haven't needed it in four years, we don't need it at all.

4. Trent and I are now sharing 3.5 feet of closet space.  It was 4.5 but the gun safe ate a foot.  We've got our off season and not often worn clothes in our back bedroom closet still, but as for day to day use, 3.5 feet is what we've got.  So that required a major purge of our clothing to get down to what we actually wear regularly.

5. My final reason is the most serious and is why my heart has been in this and not just my logistical head.   Trent and I have recently discussed the possibility of both of us going on a ten day "exposure trip" to Haiti with his employer, Mission Waco, which operates established missions there. In a very small nutshell, now is not the right timing (if there is such thing as "right timing" in God things), not for both of us to go at the same time at least.  So don't be on the lookout for news of a big trip.  But here's the's where my heart went as we had these discussions, as I imagined the impact such a trip would have on me and as I recalled conversations with others about the drastic change of heart they had after similar trips...why does it have to take a ten day exposure to international poverty to get us to tone down our own life?  Why does it take raising several thousand dollars and going on an exciting mission trip to get us to realize the level of excess in our everyday lives?   Why does it take seeing firsthand the hurt and struggle of someone having nothing but the clothes on their back and the scraps they dug out of a garbage heap to make us actually feel grateful for what we take for granted every single day?  WHY?  

When I make the effort to put my mind and heart in the same place that it would be if I had just come home from such an eye opening trip...the clutter we got rid of was just that...clutter. Unneeded. And my 1.75 feet of clothes on a rod seems like ten miles.


  1. I'm so glad you didn't throw it away =) I am a ruthless declutterer as well, and I have thrown away things that I now miss. And none of them were as important as a wedding bouquet!

    1. I am glad too! But I am also glad I figured out a different plan for it so that it is contained and not just out in the open on a shelf anymore.