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What to keep - and what to throw away?

It's time to tackle the cupboard again, writes Sally Claydon 


Sally ClaydonI’ve previously written about the Girls’ Brigade (GB) cupboard and the highs and lows of its generally unloved and uncared for state. The trouble was that it was shared between various different ministries of the church – GB, toddler group and youth club - all vying for storage space and access to shared resources. Added to this was the unexpected ‘joy’ of various items generously donated ‘in case they come in handy’. 

But something’s happened… a brand new set of storage units has been installed along one side of our main hall and the best news is that each ministry is to have its own cupboard.

Hooray - our GB group gets its very own space to store everything. It’s fabulous - floor to ceiling shelves, nice and deep, plenty of room for all our bits and bobs.

Except now, of course, we have the dreaded task of transferring everything from the old shared cupboard to the new one. It’s a good opportunity to have a clear out and instigate a new system. Except therein lies the problem - what to keep and what to throw away. 

We have a ‘history’ box full of memories. Photographs, certificates and trophies proudly won. As we celebrate 120 years of GB around the world this year it’s been good to have access to old uniforms and badges and to remember we’re part of a great story.

Then we have a box full of resources relating to GB’s old badge system. Tried and tested methods, ideas and photocopiable sheets. We have a brilliant new badge programme now though, with a week to week guide for leaders covering a wide range of topics. We don’t really need the old stuff anymore. It served its purpose well, but we’ve modernised and moved on, we could probably throw away the whole box and not really miss a thing.

Our library of books is surely worth keeping? I hate throwing books away. However on closer inspection I realise a number of the books haven’t been referred to for years. With the internet we have ideas for games, crafts and visual aids at the touch of a button. Maybe we’ll just weed them and keep a few.

The uniform box needs a sort out now that we have our lovely new kitwear – and maybe we’ll try out a new system where the parents order what they need direct from GB.

The week to week resources like sports equipment and craft supplies will move to the new cupboard too – it’ll be good to sort through everything, throwing away old felt-tips and repairing leaky beanbags.

It’s made me think that every day of our lives we have the opportunity to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Precious memories and positive legacies from our past are worth hanging on to, while hurts, habits and negative labels can, and should, be dealt with and discarded. 


Sally Claydon is Girls’ Brigade team leader at 1st Hawkwell group and a GB Development Worker in London, based at Hawkwell Baptist Church, Rochford, Essex. She is writing a regular column about the Girls’ Brigade for The Baptist Times

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