I think that most of us know what it means to be thankful–the more important issue is, what are we grateful for? Having lots of stuff – the opportunity to pursue getting more stuff? I believe that leads to a never ending pursuit with diminishing returns. That is the road to “never enough” – where contentment is lost, and joy is ever harder to find.
I thought this would be an excellent time to share this challenge with all of YOU.
The Thankful Thread Challenge is a project that invites you to give some of your clothes away. Maybe a lot of them. It’s a call to clear space in your head, your heart, and your home to better pursue enduring contentment. It begs the question, do we have more than enough? And can we give our more away?
My name is Zoë, and I first started The Thankful Thread Challenge with my children three years ago. For several years during the holiday season, in particular, we had been looking at these photos of Where Children Sleep. These simple images ignited questions in my children and myself. Why are we not more content and thankful for what we already have? Why do we keep what we do not need when so many are in need?
Empathy, awareness, and exhaustion from caring for too much stuff spurred a desire in us to give more to those who clearly needed it. There are people all around us in need. So I posed the question to my curious children, “With a thankfulness for what you have, like the clothes you can wear, what would you give to the children in these photos?” Because there are children everywhere in circumstances such as these.
What threads are in your wardrobe that could be better woven into another person’s life? How many useful items are taking up space in your closet (life) that could be more useful to someone else?
To get started on your Thankful Thread Challenge, I’ve provided a framework to guide you.
The Thankful Thread Challenge
Sort through each item in your wardrobe. Pull it all out at once or go through it where it’s stored. Do what works for You. Keep it simple. The Thankful Thread Challenge is not a challenge to create stress.
As you look at each item, ask yourself, “Is this [shirt] adding value to my life?” If the answer is no, then it is taking value away from your life. Any perfectly good item in your home that isn’t directly helping you live a meaningful life, is using your resources and energy to live your life.
In the past, I had four sets of sheets for my bed. I decided I can easily and happily live with two! My only regret, that I do this sooner!
For all those items you’ve chosen to live without happily, box them up and pass them on to a local charity. Many local non-profits will pick up needed clothing.
When we hold onto things we could happily live without, we keep them from being useful to other people.
You have a desire to cultivate gratitude in your family.
Learning to live with fewer articles of clothing can reduce stress.
Having fewer options in the ‘what to wear’ category can be a step off of that road to ‘never enough.’
Some blessings may be burdens in disguise.
It is better (freeing) to give than to keep what you do not need.
Consider this, if we have in abundance, it may be to give in abundance.
Anyplace in your home where you find items made of thread. Your wardrobe, your children’s wardrobe, your pet’s blankets, your bed linens, or your bathroom, shower and kitchen towels. Choose a place that is easiest for you.
As I write this, I wonder how big the pile of extras would be from just 100 of us? Donate those useful threads which could be used by people who need them. And in turn, we would be cultivating more than just an attitude of gratitude.