It is well known that organization and keeping one’s environment tidy help support a healthy lifestyle. Knowing where we put our keys or being able to wipe down our countertops with ease are simple ways to reduce stress and stave off sickness. It’s easy to collect things; tchotchkes; magnets; stuff. With places like the Dollar Store and the generosity of the previous months’ holidays, we may have accumulated a heap of “stuff” that is now taking over our tables, a bed in the guest room or a closet.
With this second weekend of January, 2011 approaching, why not take some time to evaluate your stuff to reclaim valuable “real estate” in your home and create an orderly, streamlined home that’s shipshape, reflecting good taste, conscientious frugality and civility.
First thing is first, get out the big garbage bags and look for items that are broken, dirty or spotted beyond repair. These items need to get out of your house, now! Unless you are absolutely resolute in separating these items out and giving them to local recycling venues (educational supply warehouses, artist co-ops, scrap yards, etc.), you have to consider just loading up garbage bags and tossing this tier of stuff away. Sending stuff into the landfill may make a lasting impression on how you perceive consumerism and consumption, but I digress.
The next round involves making choices; do you keep A and leave B? Do you give A and B away? For every new toy my kids received this year, we gave one to the Foster and Adoptive Parents Association. Choose organizations that could use your things; children’s clothing would obviously be appropriate for foster care; books for a library; too many coloring books and crayons? An aftercare program would greatly appreciate and have use for your extra art supplies.
Is your pantry bursting with food that wasn’t eaten and probably shouldn’t be eaten by a family of four or five? Look in your local white pages or online for a food kitchen at which to donate your food. Those couple of family-size bags of chips will go a long way to make lunch for several lucky people.
Heidi Aspen Rhoades