Salvation Army donations
As I’ve been unpacking and sorting boxes, I have come to realize that I hold onto things far beyond their usefulness. My mother grew up in the years following the Great Depression and was certainly trained to reuse things and not to waste anything. This translated in saving YEARS worth of magazines that ‘One Day’ she would reread. That day never came. And now, I wonder if I don’t have some of the same ‘Great Depression’ tendencies, on a much smaller scale albeit. So, I question the usefulness of each item as I unpack and try to find new homes for things as we settle into our new house. I, too, detest wasting anything that still has life remaining. We are consistent contributors to Salvation Army and Goodwill, for sure. I always have a current box of donation items waiting in the wings until it is full enough to drop off.
These are the questions I must continually ask myself –
“Is this currently serving a purpose in my home?”
“Will I likely use it in the next year?”
“Could someone else use this more often than I do?”
“Would I miss it if it were gone?”
Last December we moved 1,000 miles so I am very familiar with having to make these tough choices. And sometimes they are difficult because we cling to our possessions so tightly, it seems. I’ve grilled myself as to why this is lately and have only come up with the notion that I love deeply, but perhaps that love and affection is often misplaced on things or memories.
Take, for instance, a recent sorting of cards, letters and kids’ artwork … Some of the cards and letters are so special to me, especially since some of the senders have passed on. Those will be placed in the scrapbook, however, some of the senders I had to pause even to recall WHO they were! But, I saved every card from select years apparently. Fortunately, most I tossed.
I have a solution to coral all these fond memories. I am making a scrapbook for each child that will contain all of their precious artwork. This way, we can look back on their treasures easily, instead of them getting buried in an old file, where no one will see them. (Eventually, these albums will be theirs to keep.)
I’m making scrapbooks for old letters and cards as well. For years I have struggled with what to do with these sentimental artifacts, so I am very excited about getting these organized in a format we all can enjoy! As I sat on the floor rereading old letters I sent to my husband over a decade ago, I realized what treasures these will be to look back on. They were personal, of course, but yield a glimpse of the stage our relationship was in at the time and document our deep and enduring love for one another. Those are the treasures to keep! I think our children will even enjoy reading them after we’re gone.
Some decisions as we sift and sort are easy ones to make! (such as the iridescent marbles I saved in a gallon size ziploc!) That’s an easy one! I don’t need them. In fact, those may be the very marbles I am losing on a daily basis! Maybe it’s time to donate those to charity! Haha! As much as we have parted with over the last year in preparation for our move and then facing the harsh reality that not nearly everything we thought would fit in our 26 foot Uhaul with a trailer attached! We left a lot behind with our neighbor! (Bow Flex, antique table, and the list is nearly endless) In the end, there is not a single item that I can say we miss! As painful as the process of organizing may be, the end result will be far more rewarding!
The above picture is not even all of what we’ve donated post-move! I counted 25 boxes for the first home pick up and this was the second pick up, which also included an artificial tree and two toy Christmas trains. (My younger two are 16 and 17.) The Salvation Army worker asked if the trains were operational. To which I acknowledged they were. He smiled and said, “Oh, wow, these are going to make some children very happy!” 🙂 The satisfaction in knowing that something that would have been collecting dust in our storage room would provide enjoyment to others is very rewarding.
I can think more clearly without clutter. As a full time homemaker, fewer items in our house means less work for me to keep up with those things! Please do not think we are minimalists because we are far from that. My ‘Girl Scout mentality’ (Be prepared!) does not allow for sparse living. However, I am quick to toss items in the donation box if I have no use for them.
The flip side to organizing is being extremely selective about what we bring into our home! I have been asking myself ‘Do I really need this? Where will I use it?’ more and more. And then most times I find myself placing it back on the store shelf. Just because it’s cute or may be useful does not mean it needs to come home with you. That is a lesson for us all. Americans are great consumers, but maybe we should consume a little less.
For some reason, my husband and son love bringing home fliers, business cards, little newspapers. This is needless clutter! Unless you’re actually going to use this information, don’t let it stay. And certainly, don’t allow it to accumulate in piles around the house. This is why I open the mail over top of the trash can. I toss or shred it and only keep what I must. Paper clutter multiplies while we’re sleeping. We must be watchful and vigilant! 🙂
Happy Organizing and may your home be a place of rest and peace always!