Tag Archives: donating

Sorting & Organizing Ideas

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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!

~Amber

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February Purging

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It’s that inspiring time of year to clear out the old to make room for the new!  … Or to simply make space and enjoy less!

We’ve been cleaning out our closets once again, and have come up with three bags to donate, so far.  I get a lot of satisfaction out of giving to those I personally know, however, if I don’t have someone in mind for our discards, my favorite charity is The Salvation Army.  I love their mission statement:

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian
Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission
is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

http://salvationarmyusa.org/usn/

My kids are growing up…the youngest will be 15 this summer!  Unreal.  As children mature, they not only outgrow clothing, but also board games, toys, etc.  Last year, we donated a number of board games to a group of teachers, who meet for a monthly “fun night”.  They really appreciated them, and we were glad to make more space in the closet.

My daughter has been purging her closet and discovering a number of items she no longer wears and a lot of socks she didn’t know she still had!  This means she has recently returned all the pairs she’s borrowed from me!  Thank you, dear!  Mom now has socks.  🙂

We recently had to clear everything out of our coat closet for a little project my husband was working on.  That meant all the coats landed on the couch, the bin of hats & gloves were removed from the shelf, and everything (finally) got picked up off the closet floor! (Isn’t it interesting how such miscellaneous things find their home on closet floors?!)  This was a purging opportunity waiting to happen, friends.  While we didn’t have any coats to part with (as we’ve previously given some to friends), we came up with five extra pairs of gloves and three scarves to donate.  No worries, we still have plenty of winter garb!

From time to time, sorting through kitchen cabinets, linen closets or craft rooms can also turn up possible items for donation.  Maybe you have some books that are no longer of interest?  Perhaps some clothing hanging in your closet is collecting dust?  Maybe you still have your teenage daughter’s Easy Bake Oven, Little Tykes Kitchen Set, dolls, and every toy she ever played with?  (I’m thinking of someone I know right now…)  Haha!  Memories are great, especially if space allows; but sometimes it becomes too much to hold onto.

 Most of us have quite a surplus, so why not get rid of a few things this month?  Consider it your Valentine’s Day gift to a charity.  🙂  They’ll thank you for it, and the tax benefit is an added bonus.

As previously mentioned, I receive great joy from giving!  Another tangible consequence of purging is it helps to simplify our lives and clear our minds.  Let’s face it, life is complicated enough.  Why not pare down some to make your life easier to manage?  It sure sounds like a plan to me!  🙂  What say you?  What have you organized lately?

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”  ~ Luke 6:38 MSG

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