Archive for ◊ November, 2012 ◊

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• Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

When you open a closet at your church, do things fall out? Are there items in your storage areas that go back decades? Do you look the other way when you go through the Sunday School area (embarrassed by the nasty old crayons and array of half used papers)?

Let’s face it – every person – and every organization, needs to do fall/spring cleanings. Oh, sure, no doubt your church has yard cleanup days. And you might have a team that dusts and picks up. But – honestly – when is the last time your church has really done a thorough cleaning and sorting?

The congregation needs to step up and decide what to go with the 30-year old, moth eaten altar clothes, those gnarly kitchen pot holders, that clock that runs slow and – at this time of year – those unusable pieces of holiday decorations.

Here are some thoughts:
As with any church project, you should probably first form – sigh – A TEAM to coordinate the work. It could be an existing team (like the Stewards) or perhaps assemble a dedicate group of people who are willing to paw through half burned candles and ratty old Nativity costumes. Have the team organize an all church workday; like in January.
When ready – divide and conquer. Decide what needs to be done – gather the troops – give them coffee and a doughnut – present a motivational pep talk – and then hand out trash bags. A large portion of what you uncover will go directly into those trash bags. However, there will need to be judgement calls, which must start with the presumed “owners” of those assets. Sunday School room clean out? You’d better have a CE person there. Choir robes and sheet music? Be sure either the choir director or a choir member is on hand. The mess in the kitchen? Your women’s group might want to have a say in this area. Office clutter? Perhaps leave this area to the pastor or the church secretary.
And those deep dark closets that are piled high with dusty boxes? Now that’s a treasure hunt that will evoke lots of opinions and ideas.

One man’s junk is another’s treasure…
• Recycling is a rewarding way to get rid of church items. Another church might be grateful to receive your cartons of used sheet music. The Deacon’s old communion cups could go a long way in helping another congregation. Old office equipment might be gratefully accepted by area non-profits.

• Free – take it! Allowing church members to simply take things is a satisfying concept. If it’s a choice between a trash bin and a new home, of course – take it. Be sure that multiple people don’t want the same freebies (no fighting over who gets the tablecloths). If several people want the same items, have a drawing.

• Yard sale – this is a great way to get rid of extra church possessions (if your congregation has the time and energy). Or – consider donating your yard sale items to another church’s or non-profit’s upcoming yard sale.

• Keep/Continue to Store – Of course this is a logical thing to do, but consider: “Will those items only be thrown out in 10 years when there is another clean up day?”

• Sell. That’s a difficult route to take. How do you establish a price, who coordinates the sales, how do you market your items? And – does selling (versus donating and recycling) impact any core church values. The decision to sell versus donating needs to be decide ahead of time.

Done? A success? Church looking better? Cleaner? Well done!

Now that you’re all experts in cleaning out closets, perhaps it’s time to take on your own home attics or basements.

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