Travel Tuesday will be taking a hiatus while I work toward transforming the cluttered spaces in my home into minimalist islands of tranquility. Today we took out our first load of donations, which packed the entire Jeep. The back seat has been taken out so that should give you some idea of the volume of items here. As I was cataloging the items for our tax write-offs next year, I counted 117 household items, 63 pieces of men’s clothing, 36 pieces of women’s clothing (I did a major purge last year), and 20 magazines. This doesn’t even include the three bags of books we sold to Half Price Books in the morning or the two bags of clothing my daughter took to the local consignment shop.
It was important to us to try to donate to local organizations, but many no longer take donations in kind, so we donated the clothing, decorative, and most of the household items to the closest Goodwill. Our local animal shelter where my daughter used to volunteer takes towels and blankets for the cats and dogs to sleep on or be bathed with, so we took a giant box and full trash bag to them. Last year I cancelled all but one magazine subscription for each of us. We take the magazines every month or two to the local library for their book sale, as they prefer only near-current issues. Even though we only subscribe to two magazines, we have two or three gift or free subscriptions which just keep coming. By donating them every month or so I never get bogged down; I only keep the current month’s issue of Cleveland magazine and my husband gets rid of his weekly Sports Illustrated just as soon as he has finished reading it cover to cover.
Several years ago we needed to re-insulate our attic. This meant taking everything out of it, and once we took it out we had absolutely no desire to put it back. When I first looked up there I couldn’t believe my eyes. Due to the access point be very difficult to traverse, my husband was usually the one to take items up for storage, so I had no idea how packed it had become. I remember laying in bed that night, feeling that the items above me were literally weighing me down.
The crazy thing was, much of what was up there was our kids’ toys and clothes, but I had constantly given items away as they outgrew them! I couldn’t believe they ever had that many toys, or that I had ever had any reason to save the little red patent leather shoes my daughter wore just a few times as an infant. In the end, after advertising on Craigslist, in our local newspaper, and with signs all around the neighborhood, we got rid of an astonishing amount of stuff and had $1300 more in our bank account. Most importantly, we have just one item left stored in our attic: a closet door that we don’t use but plan to leave for any future homeowners.
We considered having a garage sale after this clean-out as well–and we may still–but I strongly believe in donating items that are life necessities. By this I mean food, clothing, and shelter, and blankets count as an integral part of shelter in my book. So even if we decide to have the garage sale, I feel great about donating the clothing and household items we dropped off today. I know there will be much more to donate, but first I want to see what can be sold so the money can be used for more Travel Tuesday post material!
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