Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ The First Fruits

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

I was holding two pitchers: One was a really nice Tupperware in great shape with a tight, functioning lid. The other was a yellow, stained pitcher with no lid and handle that threatened to crack down the seam but was still holding. Which to declutter? The phrase “the first fruits” popped into my head. I knew the reference, but I had to look up the quote from the Bible. It is from Psalms 3:9: “Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase.”

This quote is referring to tithing (giving money to the church). What did it have to decluttering? I realized that most people would probably keep the nicer pitcher and give the shabbier one to the thrift store. But I’m not afraid of the stained yellow pitcher, and it sure would look tacky and undesirable at the thrift store. The other pitcher would feel like a real find. I decided that since I would continue to use the cruddy pitcher, and I only needed one pitcher, I would give the better one, the first fruit, to the thrift store.

I used this same thinking when I was looking at our junk towels, which we use by the front door when it rains or to towel off the dogs after a bath. I have too many of these. Our church has a ministry where the women provide toiletries and the use of towels for homeless women to shower once a week. Some of my junky towels are really junky, and some are just not my current bathroom towels. I decided to donate the better towels, the first fruits, to the shower ministry. After all, these are already downtrodden women; they don’t need a threadbare towel with a tear in it to make them feel even worse about their circumstances. The dogs, on the other hand, couldn’t care less what I towel them off with. (In fact, they’d prefer never to have a bath again.)

I know that decluttering one item a day allows us to think through what we’re getting rid of, where it should go, etc. Here’s another way to look at the picture: If you have two similar items, should you give or keep the first fruit?

Today’s Declutter Item

Some of the items that I donated to the school up the street or recycled when I decluttered my  stationery drawers recently.

My Gratitude List

  • Something that made me glad ~ Liam is riding off to university right now with the all but one of the last work that needs handing in for the end of semester. Hooray!
  • Something Awesome ~ Friends you do favours for and then they do them in return.
  • Something to be grateful for ~ All the wonderful applications available for free on the internet.
  • Something that made me happy ~ Chatting with my mum and dad on the phone today. I can’t imagine them ever getting old even though they are 72 & 76 this year.
  • Something I found fascinating ~ How some flavours work together and some just don’t. God bless the people who thought to put dates and caramel together that tart I had yesterday was scrumptious.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. How about caramel and chocolate? Mmmm. I ate that combo yesterday in Ghiradelli Square.

    Cindy, I appreciate this attitude of ‘first fruits’ and I will think about it as I declutter this summer. In the same manner, I chose to dispose of an old pair of shoes instead of sending them to Goodwill. If I won’t wear them anymore , I doubt anyone else would either.

    • That is a way to make sure trash doesn’t end up at Goodwill. I hate it when people send nasty, broken things rather than useful goods.

    • You never know Willow, what is one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. I drop my stuff off at the thrift store personally and if I am in doubt of anything I am giving them I ask them is it of use to them (could they sell it) if they say yes I leave it if they say no I take it home to put in my trash rather than it costing them dumping fees.

    • Willow, I just have to ask – did you eat caramel and chocolate IN Ghiradelli Square, or did you eat a caramel and chocolate Ghiradelli square?! Where I live, we can only manage the second one!

  2. I could not have put it better myself!! On a recent tidy of my wardrobe i decided i did not need 4 pairs of jeans. Two pairs were a little ‘worn’ but extremly comfortable and two pairs were in really good condition. I donated the really good jeans that were in good condition, my reasoning was that the worn ones would not have made it out onto the rail, and if they did i for sure would not have bought them, so why would anyone else?! However the ones in good condition would definetly be worth the price label that goes on them. I love jeans but like to keep my look up to date, so i figured that by the time my worn ones could no longer be worn, it would be time to update my look! Win-win!!

    Off now to tackle the linen cupboard, and apply the ‘first fruits’!!
    Sharron x

  3. Hi Cindy,

    you got it here! Keeping the nicest one of your multiples isn’t always the way to go. For numerous reasons I think, even beyond charity:
    Waste – while you might still use something (up) or wear it (out) to others it would be trash right away.
    Money – sometimes the nicer ones still could be sold. (of course that counts for donations too. The better the pieces you donate, the better for the organization you donated to.)
    Giving yourself permission to get what you really want … later – I assume if the nicer pitcher had been the pitcher of your dreams, you would not have had a second thought about which one to get rid of. Keeping the bad one, there will come the day when it breaks and you are free to get a new one without a bad conscience. (Kind of like Sharron’s jeans)

  4. “The pitcher of my dreams”… do you suppose there could be such a thing? I did have one I really liked that looked just like the one in the old Koolaide commericials but without the smiley face. (Probably only familiar to US readers of a certain age.) I reached for it, the whole shelf tilted, and it crashed down like the heavy, high quality glass pitcher it was. It chipped edge of the counter top, dented the floor in two places, and shattered from one end of the kitchen clear into the other room. Even the “perfect” pitcher might not be so perfect under some circumstances. You can bet that my yucky yellow pitcher wouldn’t have chipped granite, dented wood, or shattered like a bomb went off inside of it.

    • Hi Cindy,
      it is one thing to loose the pitcher it’s another for it to damage things on the way out. That must have really made your day! 🙁

    • Cindy – if the seam gives in your yellow pitcher, though, you might have a big sticky mess to clean up 🙂 That thought alone would make me carry it with both hands. LOL

      That sounds like a horrific mess with the big glass pitcher. I have a thing about broken glass. I can’t just sweep it up, I have to wipe the whole floor with damp paper towels in case there are little pieces that escape the broom. Then I have to do it all over again in case I missed a spot. I used to worry when my kids were small and went barefoot a lot. Now I worry because I have two cats that seem to get into all of the trouble there is to get into.

  5. okay, so then I guess that was more the pitcher of your nightmares than the pitcher of your dreams. At least in retrospect … however, if you ever get tired of the yellow, kool-aid could help with that 😉
    (I remember it from my highschool exchange time more as a chemical weapon than a suitable drink, but that might just be my outsider perspective. However, it did stain everything.)

    • Funny! I’m not a big fan of Kool Aide either, and you’re right, it could help with the color of the pitcher. My more conservative, less wild girl wants to *dye her blond hair* with Kool Aide this summer. Blue! I told her she could as long as she got her hairstylist’s approval in advance. (Maybe not my best decision since Katie started dying her own hair when she was about 12 – but not with Kool Aide.) Clara’s getting her hair super short tomorrow, so I guess if it all goes wrong, it will grow out quickly. Frankly I’m hoping she’ll just forget about it.

  6. Given all the sugar you add to that stuff, you could probably die and style at the same time with Kool Aide. Groovy … okay, this conversation is not really helping my paper sorting and decluttering that I just restarted after a couple of days out of town. But it sure keeps my spirit up.

    • This isn’t helping you focus, but after our last exchange, I googled “Can you dye your hair with Kool Aide?” The answer was yes, and I quote “This is how girls in prison color their hair.” Great! You use it without sugar “otherwise it makes a sticky mess and attracts bees,” and you have to leave it on for hours; one site even recommended leaving it overnight. Can you imagine?? If she does it, I’ll get Colleen to post pictures. We could categorize it under decluttering the pantry, although I’d have to start out by buying Kool Aide, so that’s not really decluttering.

      Ok, now I have to make a BIG trip to the thrift store with at least one reluctant kid in tow, and you’re supposed to be working.

      • LOL, I do remember the ad for Kool Aide and the glass pitcher with the smiley face. However, my thrifty healthy Mommy would not 1) purchase it; or 2) let us drink it (aha, I remember sneaking a drink of the stuff when offered some at a friends b-day party and thought it was yucky anyway!).

        Cindy, if your daughter has to leave that stuff on her hair overnight, even if she has something over her head to protect the pillow case, I still suggest putting some of those ‘old towels’ on top of her pillow just to keep the ‘color’ from staining the linens (does anyone know if Kool Aide stains wash out?)…I’m sure your doggies won’t mind ‘sharing’. hee hee. Or maybe your daughter wants her pillow case blue?

      • You might have to declutter some pillow shams and sheets if she were to leave the Kool Aide in overnight. 😕

  7. *chuckle*
    yeah, I should be working. And I actually am. But fortunately not for too long anymore. Over here it’s kind of bedtime (no kool aide on my head though overnight, promise)

  8. Interesting thoughts! I watched a tv program some time ago about what people send to charity shops, you wouldn’t believe some of the rubbish they receive! It made me think ‘ would someone actually buy this?’ before I put anything in a charity bag.

  9. That is a brilliant way of seeing things. I love this !

  10. Regarding KoolAid, I use it to dye my wool fiber and yarn. Just pop a bowl of the unsweetened stuff maybe made double strength if you want into the microwave and cook it for up to 9 minutes until the color is gone and voila! You have dyed fiber!

    Colleen, I don’t usually just throw things away but those shoes were beyond use. I had quit wearing them because they were so uncomfortable. When I asked my husband if I should put them in the give away bag, he just gave me that look, you know the one that means ‘you’re kidding, right?’

    • Oh yes Willow, I know the look. My husband is famous for the look. In fact his “look” can be down right scary at times.

  11. Calico ginger

    Cindy, this is a great post and you are a really good writer!

  12. I like the sentiment behind this, which is to give something of value to someone less fortunate.

    However, in our area, it’s often the well-heeled who go to thrift shops and get the bargain. Therefore, I am not keen on keeping my old stuff and giving the best away to fund their lifestyle! I wouldn’t donate the old one either, since it wasn’t in good condition. I’d use the old one until it broke, and then have the other one as back-up (natural decluttering).

    To me, the towel situation is different, because I know those on the receiving end are in true need, and it would be a kindness, as Cindy pointed out, to provide my best for those ladies. I see this as more of a donation than decluttering.

    Just my two cents’ worth 🙂

    • Well said Jo – I appreciated the post but I didn’t follow giving away the better item and keeping the older worn one. won’t you just need to replace the old one sooner with something new when it wears out? why not keep the better one you already have and then you won’t need a replacement so quickly? i also like to keep things of beauty around. the old item seems not as uplifting.
      I totally agree with the towel idea though- that is indeed a kindness!

      • Hi Jo & Jessiejack,
        I understand the generosity behind this concept but in my case I would keep what is right for me and donate what I no longer want. Being as I have given away so much good still useable, sellable stuff to my local thrift store over the last four years I don’t think I need to be giving them my better stuff over my not so good stuff. I would, if in the case that the older more used item was my favourite and I liked the newer one less but I have no desire to speed up Natural Progression decluttering. I only take to the thrift store items that I feel they can use and any unusual items I am not sure they can sell I ask them about before taking them from my car. Any items like that come home with me and I find another avenue to give them away through. Anything to shabby that no-one would want goes in the bin.

    • Interesting. I would say the shoppers at my favorite thrift store are a big range of people, and who you see there depends a lot on whether it’s during the day, evening, or on the weekend.

      It didn’t occur to me to save one pitcher until the other broke. I’ve had it for so many years, I suspect it maybe a “heirloom.”

  13. Grace from Brazil

    What a beautiful challenge! It is so much easier for me to give away the older, less liked item. I don’t know how I missed this post as I read it everyday. I WISH I had read it when you wrote it! I was gathtering some things a few days ago to send with a work team down to a small town on the Amazon River. ( I live near there but could not go on the trip because of a sick daughter) I wanted to send the pastor’s wife some goodies. I FINALLY parted with 4 much-loved matching mugs ( I wrote about them some months ago saying I had too many of them but could not part with them but lo and behold I have. I kept 4 but could let 4 go, knowing that they would like them.) I gathered some towels as well. Yes, they were in good condition, but in the back of my mind I wished that I had bought her new ones. : ( So thanks for the challenge to keep thinking of giving our first fruits always. Oh, on the subject of pitchers. I have two glass ones I use all the time for juice. One got broken a couple of days ago by a friend and I did not even care one bit. It feels nice to have fewer things.

    • Hi Grace,
      it sounds like you gave from the heart both both those items. Giving new is not necessary when you have perfectly good used items to offer. You still help someone out and don’t put pressure on supply and demand. It was a great way to happily give those mug away that you didn’t think you could part with. Well done!

  14. Grace from Brazil

    Something my 17 year old daughter said recently also puts this in perspective. She stated quite wisely, “There is greater virtue in giving away something that you really want to keep.” Let us be virtuous women!

  15. Grace, You may have written my favorite responses to any post, ever. How lovely you and your daughter are. -Cindy


  1. […] removed two towels, which I mentioned in my post The First Fruits […]

  2. […] comment came from Grace in Brazil in response the Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ First Fruits. It is short but sweet so I have cut and pasted it here rather than add a link. ~ Something my 17 […]