A Time to Keep, A Time to Throw Away

Today’s post is based on chapter 11 of my latest book, Newness of Life, recently released on Amazon.  Get your copy this week for only $1.99!

I am a keeper.  Not one to throw away.  I’m so sentimental, it’s hard to let things go.

Yet “there is a time to throw away,” and last year I learned how to make it fun and family-oriented.

Each spring and autumn for the past 10 years, I have sold my children’s clothing at a large consignment sale.  I can’t host a yard sale at my home’s remote location, so I haul everything to town and make several hundred dollars from one weekend of effort.

My in-laws live along a route known as the “100-Mile Yard Sale.”  Last year, my mother-in-law urged me to sell my stuff at her house to increase my profits (the consignment sale retains 30% or more).

We conducted a plan to rid our home of all baby items and old toys, once and for all.  

  • For two weeks in May, my three children and I culled, organized, cleaned, and priced everything to sell.
  • I promised we would split the profits four ways if they cooperated with the best possible attitude.
  • We would hold a sale on Memorial Day weekend and on Labor Day weekend, then send all the remainders to the autumn consignment sale. Nothing would return home, because the consignment sale leftovers are donated.
  • They agreed to help load items in the car, set up items at the sale, man the sales tables, and pack everything away.
  • I promised to take them shopping for whatever they wanted right after the sales closed. I encouraged them to dream about what they’d purchase with their hard-earned cash.

The plan in motion

  • On Memorial Day, torrential rain made a yard sale impossible, so we changed it to a “porch sale.” Amazingly, we made $250 despite the weather.  After the sale we went straight to Game Stop and Target, where my boys purchased Xbox games, and my daughter chose new shoes and accessories.  I bought pretty wall hangings from an antique store.
  • On Labor Day, my daughter baked brownies to increase our profits.  She felt so grown-up selling people her baked goods. We made $400 profit.  I bought another vacuum cleaner for the upstairs level of our home.  My daughter bought the Lego Friends Mall, and my boys saved their money for the purchase of their first IPhones.
  • At the consignment sale in October, we made $350, which went toward family Christmas presents.  About $150 in unsold items were donated to the mentor partnership program, and it felt good to give some of our stuff away to help those in need.

The takeaways

  • Teamwork is important.  Everyone felt valued in this process.  All of us knew we needed each other to make the sales successful.  We made $1,000 by working as a team!
  • Family time is fun.  Working for a common goal, visiting with the in-laws, and shopping together built lasting memories.
  • Hard work pays off.  We have a less-cluttered home, new things to enjoy, and the satisfaction of doing a good job.  We all received tangible rewards for our efforts.
  • A time to throw away is good.  It taught us valuable lessons and helped others in need.  It taught my children how to run a yard sale from start-to-finish, a life skill they will need in the future.

I love this practical verse, because it gives me newness of life in my home and in my less-cluttered heart.  It shows me that keeping is good, and sometimes, throwing away can be even better.


Questions for reflection: (please comment below)

How does our story inspire you to seize a time to throw away?

How might your throwing-away bless someone else?


Study Guides

Here are links to free resources that will help you in the online Bible study or your personal study of Newness of Life:

Newness of Life Worksheets

Online Bible Study Reading Plan


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There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him.  We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.

I look forward to hearing how God is working in your current life season.  I hope you will join in the fun and discussion on the online Bible study.

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27 thoughts on “A Time to Keep, A Time to Throw Away

  1. This made me smile, Sarah. Last December, I sold old games and TONS of books. My house felt a lot less cluttered, and I was able to buy a new artificial Christmas tree, give to refugees, and also take my family out to a fancy restaurant we normally would never spend the money on. Great experience.

  2. I love making decluttering teamwork. My hubby and I did that a few years ago with all our books. We had enough to fill several libraries so we decided it was time to just keep a select few and bring the rest to a used book store. We made several hundred dollars and more importantly we were free of all that clutter. What a fun bonding experience you had together as a family!

    1. Used books…yes, I love those sales TOO much, but they are a great place to find giveaways of like-new books for my blog, so I won’t stop going anytime soon!

  3. Sarah, as I read this I’m in the midst of a huge ‘throw away’ frenzy as I sort through lots of old papers in my home office. It’s such a daunting task but your words have inspired me to keep going. Thank you!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

  4. These are great tips for how to declutter as a family! My family moved a lot, so we basically just did it every time we moved. Haha 🙂

  5. Yes! I LOVE this, I feel so inspired reading this. I love the way you involved your family and they enjoyed getting something they really wanted afterwards. A great way to have family time. Thanks!

  6. I actually love selling or donating stuff. I find it so freeing! But there are always things I hold onto. 🙂
    I love your success and how you involved your kids!

  7. I love rooting through stuff, tossing the junk, bringing the good stuff to a little swap shop or thrift store. We were never meant to haul around so very many possessions, were we …

    1. Linda, I love beautiful things, and by what I can tell from your blog, you do too. Everything in moderation though…Now when I shop for decor, I look at a pretty thing and either say, “That’s nice but I don’t need it,” or I might say, “Since I truly adore this item, it belongs in my collection, but something else must go.” This helps me enjoy beauty without going overboard.

  8. Such a good plan. I love how you’re teaching your kids to hold things lightly. Out of our three kids we have two who are fairly balanced and one who will save a gum wrapper if it’s tied to a memory. Bless her. We’ve moved so much that I get excited when something breaks. One less thing to pack. 🙂 Happy Friday from your #FridayFive friend.

    1. I am like your gum-wrapper saver when it’s any piece of paper tied to a memory…so sentimental re: paper. I will check out your post, thanks for your comment!

  9. Awesome way to teach your kids teamwork, and get a huge task done for your household at the same time! I bet they were pleased with the results!

  10. i tend to keep clothing longer than is stylist, so it becomes more of a charitable contribution than a way to save money. I need to institute the one-in-one-out rule and actually stick with it!!

  11. I am so inspired! I hate hosting yard sales, but my kids think it is the greatest. It is definitely time to throw away at my house! Thanks for linking up!

    1. Hi Kelly, I am glad my MIL offered to host the yard sale, because it’s not my cup of tea either. Still, it’s a good way to make some cash and teach the kiddos valuable lessons. Always glad to link up with you!

  12. I am soooo bad at getting rid of things, but I have these friends…they love me and have lived life with me… who are really good at it. They sorta are forcing me to work through this potential hoarding issue with gentle (sometimes not so gentle) admonition. 🙂 Actually, I have an amazingly organized friend who came right in my mess and showed me HOW to organize and keep and throw away and give away and it has been so freeing! I love that you take the time to do the yard sale. I haven’t gotten that brave yet! One step at a time though.
    🙂 Blessings,

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