Cory, my 18-year- old son, was not feeling well. Within minutes it turned into full-blown food poisoning. And when I say full-blown, well… you get the picture. When things finally began to calm down he was able to explain what he had eaten. He had found a bottle of red, snow-cone syrup in the back of our pantry, added it to a drink, and an hour later was very sick. I was mortified knowing the syrup had to be over a decade old. I knew it was up there, outdated, yet continued to hang on to it. I literally made Cory sick. Talk about toxic sludge!

Many of you are new readers to my blog and don’t necessarily know me or my background. I am a cancer survivor who has bounced back from a series of surgeries, chemo, and radiation. (You can read more about that here, here, and here.) I’ve had one recent, almost scary, setback… but am now mentally and physically ready to do more than just survive cancer.

I want strength joy, vitality, purpose, significance, productivity, and energy. Just that!

I want a FULL, healthy life… releasing anything weighing me down in EVERY area. Dealing with the clutter in my home has become an ongoing object lesson I’ve been applying to dealing with “my stuff” in all aspects of life: thoughts, health, weight, faith, marriage, family, friendships, finances, emotions… to name a few.

Bottom line: You have to deal with your stuff or your stuff will deal with you.

And by stuff, I mean the clutter of life in every area, starting with (I believe) our thought life, our mindset.

I know I keep writing about this, BUT I just can’t seem to leave the topic. The battle really is between our ears, in our thoughts. We HAVE to change our way of thinking to truly change our lives.

Recently, a blog reader made the connection of holding on to clutter as having a poverty mentality. The term has stuck with me as I’ve tried to discern the meaning and application to my own life.

When I think of a poverty mentality, these phrases come to mind:

  • Hanging onto or clinging to ‘stuff’
  • Hoarding, possibly because of feeling undeserving
  • Opposite of an abundant life
  • Opposite of living in the present moment
  • Worried my needs won’t be met in the future

A poor mindset will keep us trapped, unable to release to all God has for us. It goes right along with limiting beliefs, or things we tell ourselves that inevitably keep us stuck.

Well, you can probably guess what I’ve been working on cleaning out this week.

The pantry!

I’ve completely let it go for years as evidenced by the snow-cone-toxic-sludge. I’m halfway done and have thrown out 3 full garbage bags!

Can we pause a moment and talk about spices? I threw out over 25 outdated spices.


WHY have I not dealt with this? And by outdated, I mean OUTDATED! I’m talking 2007 outdated! It seems I just keep buying new spices for current recipes without tossing the old ones.

I had baking soda with an expired date. A new one is only .79 cents. JUST REPLACE IT … even if it’s not all the way used up!

Poverty mentality!

I had five fajita seasoning packets from several years ago. My family did not like the taste of it when I used one of them, but instead of throwing the remaining 5 out, I hung onto them for…???  For what?  I knew I would never use them again. I’m pretty sure they were less than a dollar each.

Poverty mentality.

Back to those darn spices… I took a sharpie and wrote the expiration date on top of the lids of any spices I kept. This brilliant-rocket-science decision came to me after quite a bit of time was spent trying to find the microscopic date on each label. And speaking of microscopic, did you know if you tap the home button three times quickly on an iPhone, it brings up a magnifying lens? You’re welcome!

As you continue dealing with your stuff in the deep, hidden places of life, keep asking God to do a new work in you. What needs to be thrown out? Are you merely surviving (poverty mentality) or are you living a full-blown, abundant life?

And… one more thing about those spices…

Now that I’ve decluttered them, I’m ready to organize them. How do you guys organize your spices? I’d love to hear what has worked for you!