stair baskets

Where do you put your junk that you’re not ready to deal with?

Several years ago a friend mentioned she used baskets on her stairs for her kids so that throughout the day as she passed something one of her kids needed to put away, she could drop it into their basket to be emptied later. We adopted the plan as well and it’s mostly served us well.

In fact, each afternoon, emptying stair baskets is a chore that should be attended to before dinner. True to form, each child deals with this in their own way. By 4:30, some baskets are overflowing….blankets, books, art supplies, shoes…spilling over into another. Some baskets remain pretty empty regularly with not much to deal with late in the afternoon.

stair baskets

Emptying the baskets is also pretty indicative of each child’s personality. Some kids just use their baskets as a place of storage. Certain items have come to live there basically because they just don’t know where to put them or they are just too lazy think through how to store them. One child is very thorough, always putting the stuff away in it’s correct place and not stopping until it’s empty. Another child, regularly just empties her basket right on top of the bench in the music room assuming, I guess, that I’ll only see the empty basket and move on….that maybe I won’t realize that all of her junk hasn’t really been dealt with.

All of the stair basket nonsense that has become a regular rhythm of our day has me thinking.  How do I process my junk? Where do I put it? I’m a lot like my kids. I have stair baskets in my heart and my mind. I can drop stuff in there to deal with later because I don’t know what to do with it or just want to avoid the cleaning up.

Some days I find myself a lot like my little one who empties her basket just around the corner, making a mess in another room. When I’m stressed about something, it can just explode somewhere on somebody making a mess of another heart. Sometimes I’m really thorough; I know just how to deal with the items, and have energy to deal with everything. Many days I let my basket fill to the brim until I can really set aside time to put everything back- having my junk spill onto my people because that’s life, right?


I’m reminded of how the Lord wants to enter into this process. He’s with me when I don’t know what to do with my junk. He’s the sorter of my heart. He’s the one who promises to give wisdom when it’s lacking. But do I regularly come to him? Am I making the time to bring everything to him and ask him “what do I do with this?” I sometimes want a quick fix. I want to just dump it and move on, check off that I’ve met with him like checking off a chore, but when I do that I totally miss the point.

Oh, that I would always prioritize this time. That I’d see it as a deep need and benefit to my heart, not just an act of an orderly day. What a good God to look at all my junk and say….

“You are loved. You, I sing and rejoice over. You, I choose to gently mold and shape. I know where all of this stuff goes. I know you can’t reach all the places it needs to go. Let me carry it for you because it’s heavy and you’re weak. I’m with you in this.”


Some days my kids’ baskets are so full they really can’t do it all alone. They really don’t know where everything goes. Some days they just need my encouragement and reminders to keep going. Sometimes just my presence and kind tone are enough to help them push through. But it’s their work to do. The junk doesn’t magically disappear. They need to learn to deal with each item.

And I do too. I need to sort and process and bring my junk to the Lord. Ask him to carry what is heavy. Ask him to show me what to leave behind. Unlike me, he’s always kind and patient. He’s not surprised when the basket is full again, and it’s time to get to work.

Go to him. Let him help. Let him carry. Let him love and lead you in it. He’s good. And he loves you.

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