The other day was Trash-out day. And, as always happens during my long hours cleaning and organizing an estate, I get philosophical.

Organizing estate sales bears close resemblance to, well, life. When you first enter the house with your client and gaze over the little piles of clutter here and there, glance through their cabinets, look under the beds, and do a split-second appraisal of the furniture you think, “This is manageable. No sweat”. (Your client is thinking the same thing, by the way. Their gratefulness and your willingness to tackle the estate combine to put you on par with the divine.) This level of denial is tantamount to doing the pregnant walk through Toys R Us and saying “This is going to be a breeze. And such fun, too!”

Life won’t be mocked like that.

And, of course, this sale did what they all do, it exploded. But that’s life, right?


I mean, seriously, just when life seems manageable, God declares a Trash-out day. Oh yea, it’s all fun and games until the cabinets get emptied out.

Like life, progress can be a messy business.

Like life, progress can be a messy business.

The above picture was taken during the throes of a Trash-out day. As the name implies, this is when I troll through each room with a huge, heavy duty contractor’s trash bag (I go through a whole box, sometimes) and throw away everything that doesn’t have a prayer of selling. (The pile in the middle of the floor is waiting to be hauled off by Third with his new, big, beefy truck.)

Trash-out day is liberating.

Trash-out day is when the vision for the layout of the sale starts to emerge.

Trash-out day would be darn near Nirvana if the house didn’t explode in the process.

Welcome to my glamorous world.


It seem counterintuitive that getting rid of all the trash would leave such chaos behind, but it does. The house has to be rearranged and reorganized for the sale. This takes work, and lots of it. And most of it isn’t real fun.

God has to do more than a few Trash-out days with me. And, like this estate, when He purges I predictably explode and then wonder, “Where did that come from?”  He knew what was lurking in the cabinets and under the beds. He sees the vision of what things could be. He knows about true liberation.

Me? I just want Nirvana, or something equally easy and user-friendly. Purge me if You have to, but let’s not get all messy about it.

Too often I think God is going to handle my life like a cursory meet-the-client-assess-the-house meeting. Too often I minimize the piles and the overstuffed cabinets all the while thinking, “I can handle this. No sweat”. I am repeatedly (willfully?) unaware of the fact that once He starts purging, it’s going to be a big nasty mess before I get put back together again.

And that is how I repeatedly go into each sale, doe-eyed and oblivious, which borders on pathological since the scenario hasn’t changed…ever. But as I slog though the debris of the explosions and try to put an estate back in order, I reminded myself that God is doing much the same in me. And that, plus copious amounts of caffeine, make Trash-out day better than Nirvana.

Nirvana needs a maid.

Nirvana needs a maid.