Cleaning Up 2015 – Pack Away, Throw Away and Put on Display

Cleaning Up - PinterestUgh. It’s time for that most dreaded of holiday tasks … cleaning up the Christmas mess.

Decorations will be carefully packed away to be used next year. Some old things past their usefulness will be thrown away. And then there are special gifts holding such meaning that they are put on display for everyone to enjoy.

Fortunately for me, this task is not so bad this year. I cleverly combined the “recovering from surgery on my ankle” excuse with the ever-popular “We won’t be home at Christmas” excuse and did no decorating.

We celebrated early with my immediate family before hitting the road for Grandma’s house, so this is exactly all of the decorating I did:

Table Decorations

Cleaning up won’t be quite the chore of past years. But thinking through 2015, it feels like we need to do the same things to clean up and be ready for what 2016 will bring. Let’s look back at the year and see what we need to pack away, throw away and put on display.


Let’s pack away things that are only useful for a season. These can be thoughts, attitudes, habits or physical things having a specific time and purpose in our life, and will be needed again in the future.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiates 3:1 (ESV)

This is really hard to admit, but over the last year, I’ve gained back a good chunk of the 93 pounds I lost a few years back. Recovering first from injury and then from surgery, starting a new business that involved hours of sitting at the computer and using it all as an excuse to eat poorly have combined to undo much of the hard work I did. It’s embarrassing because my weight loss journey was very public and celebrated.

But for now, I need to pack away my skinny clothes. I’ve resisted it in hopes of some quick miracle that would allow me to wear the stylish outfits again this season, but I know the instant miracle won’t come.

It’s time to pack away the unrealistic hope of the quick fix and do the hard work all over.

I’m confident I’ll need the skinny clothes again one day, but for now, they need to be packed away.


There are two kinds of things to be thrown away. They could be things that we never should have had in the first place … bad habits, unhealthy attitudes or wasteful practices. Or they could be good things that had a specific purpose but are no longer needed.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.   Philippians 3:8 (ESV)

I’m throwing away my helicopter parenting. I’ve spent the better part of the last 20 years helping one or the other of my kids with math and science homework (I knew that engineering degree would come in handy!), even re-learning differential equations earlier this year so I could help my son through one of his college classes.

I’ve checked grades online sometimes daily, stayed on top of homework and project due dates and pestered them about studying for tests. But this last semester, my son’s classes went beyond where I could help. And guess what we found out?

We’ve raised a smart, responsible young man capable of figuring it out on his own.

Who knew? He made the best grades of his life and is on the Dean’s List! While helicopter parenting gets a bad rap and some people completely over-do it, in our case, staying closely involved with my kids is one reason we have two young adults who are well on their way to happy, productive lives.

But it’s over now. Time (admittedly a little past time) to throw it away and watch them shine on their own.


Some things are so valuable, so treasured, so meaningful, they need to be put on display. They’ve been the bright spots in the year, the ones that give us strength to live in today and hope for the future.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”  1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

By far, the things to put on display from 2015 are the new friendships I’ve made through starting Do A New Thing. Online communities that have encouraged me to keep going and provided much needed help and information. Clients who have quickly become friends. And one sweet lady I met when I was hundreds of miles from home but turned out to live just a few miles down the road from me.

These people have truly been gifts to me from a gracious Father.

So that’s how I’m cleaning up 2015 and getting ready for 2016. The new year will bring new things to be packed away, thrown away or put on display when this time rolls around again.

CLeaning Up 2015RESOURCE

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What things are you going to pack away, throw away or put on display this year?

Linking up with Ember Grey at #GratefulHeart, Krista Q at #MeetUpMonday, Abby McDonald at #RaRaLinkup,  Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Deb Wolf at #FaithandFriends and Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus

24 thoughts on “Cleaning Up 2015 – Pack Away, Throw Away and Put on Display”

  1. Oh Christa, I got a lump in my throat reading this. It’s like your words reached somewhere deep down to a place I’d tucked away all year. Thinking about what to pack away…wow. There are some things I need to realize were just for a time, pack them away neatly, and find peace in moving forward this year. I cannot thank you enough for this post. It’s EXACTLY what I needed this morning. Many blessings to you:)

    • Oh sweet Kristine … how you have blessed ME this morning!! I’m praying for you, my friend. Those things that are packed away can always be brought back out again if needed. But there is freedom in not keeping so much clutter … physical, emotional and spiritual … hanging around.

  2. Looking forward to packing away some of my negative thoughts and habits! Thanks so much, Christa, you are a beautiful encourager!

  3. Great ideas, as always, Christa. Thanks for kick starting my end-of-year to-do list. It’s good to think about some of the mental and spiritual things to ‘wrap up’ and be done with to make space for the new things God wants for us in 2016.

  4. I literally packed up and throw away many physical things last week and it also helped me to clear out my mind of habits and feelings I needed to leave behind as we moved forward. This year I need to put God on display more and all He is doing in my life instead of just putting my life on display.

    • Great thoughts, Sarah. I love your emphasis on putting God on display. Not only do others see what we put on display, but we see them more often as well.

  5. I’m with Kim and Sarah, I’ve been doing a little year end review and thinking about what worked and didn’t work last year. This year, I’m tossing out negative thoughts & habits and springing into 2016 – hopeful, positive, and focused full of faith in all that God will do this year!

    Great article Christa! Thank you!! 🙂

  6. This post is so great! I’ve been reflecting on these exact things over the past few days in my quiet time and praying for strength to do it all as I go along throughout the year. I too am needing to pack up those skinny clothes (but hopeful to pull them back out after a few months of hard work!), I need to throw away some lazy habits for sure, and put on display the amazing blessings that God is consistently fulfilling in my life! Thanks so much for this awesome post!

  7. We are in a similar place. I am sorting through things, trying to figure out what to do with them. Although, I must admit, it would be a bit easier for me to do the hard work to get rid of the weight than to put aside the helicopter parenting. I am a work in progress 🙂

  8. Christa, thank you for your honesty here. It is so important to take time to evaluate each of the tasks you mention here and see what habits or mindsets need to be thrown away or just put away for a season. We are still visiting family, but I look forward to doing more of this in the coming weeks. Wishing you a blessed New Year!

  9. What a great post Christa, I like how you tied our end of the year duties to our new year responsibilities. Thank you for sharing this at Sitting Among Friends. Look forward to reading more posts Wednesday.

  10. What a great way to remember those three things!! There are definitely some things I’ll be throwing away this year… Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. It helps al the rest of us do the same in the New Year. #dancewithJesus

    • Throwing away is probably the hardest of the three. It amazes me how tight we hold on to practices and habits that are just not good for us!

  11. This my first time seeing this sight.
    It is great. Throwing away is the hardest. Especially the things of the flesh. That’s my focus for the future.


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