No. 853



Do you know what happens when you point a finger at someone? If you will look closely you will see there are three pointing back at you. This is my way of saying that what I am going to share with you in this column will apply as much, or maybe more, to me than anyone else who will read it. I am going to talk with you about getting rid of the clutter in our lives, which will result in having more time to do those things that are more important, because time is one of the most important resources we have.
For me, the awareness of clutter has come about as I find myself battling the time factor due to my wife Viola’s Parkinson’s disease that she has had for the past 17 years. She is a real trooper, and a very strong woman, but the Parkinson’s is beginning to win, as we inevitably knew that it would. Several months ago she went to a local nursing home for physical therapy and it helped some, but soon we found ourselves back home. While I have a wonderful lady who helps care for her during the week, I am her primary care-giver. She is now in Hospice and we take life one day at a time and cherish each moment that we can share together.
The setting where I find myself, and I would not have it any other way, is more pressure on my time than I have ever had in my life. As a busy person with an active lifestyle, I was already committed to so many things that had to continue or I would let others down and I just did not want to do that. Of course, I have to continue to write this column or I am out of business. Our Bookcase for Every Child project has really taken off and we now have 10 projects going in five states, and this requires some of my time. We have a great project in our Lions Club that I am leading and it’s very important that it be successful. My fellow Lions are counting on me.
There are other pressures as well that I won’t take time to list here. Be that as it may, my wife is, and always has been, my first priority and I just try to keep the others going as best I can. Here is the “meat of the coconut” or the rest of the story. All of this means that I must be very efficient or it will swamp me. I pay our bills, buy all the groceries, do the cooking, run the dish washer and washing machine and run our home as best I can. Both of our freezers were full of things and the refrigerator had things in the back of some shelves that had not been cleaned out in months.
One of the first things I did was inventory all the food in the house and made up a chart with 16 different meals that I could prepare. This helped me make up a grocery list each week. I threw away everything that was no longer good, and went about eating or using everything that was good instead of buying more stuff to eat, when there was still plenty on hand. It took two to three weeks but I began to see progress and it was amazing how much better I could function without having to dig through all the clutter every week. In time, I am going through my closet and storage building to do the same thing. About 80 percent of my clothes and shoes I never wear, so I am going to give them to our church food pantry or some other agency where they can be put to good use.
Now, I realize the nature of this column has been personal and everyone’s situation is different, but I just wanted to share the benefits of what I have learned when my time really became a premium. What I learned is that when we don’t get bogged down with all the stuff and junk that serves no useful purpose, we are much better off to get rid of the clutter.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)