We have cracked the 1000 item mark with our outgoing items. It is an incredibly freeing feeling to know that we are now 1000+ things lighter than we were at the start of the year. Sometimes I look around and can’t believe that we have got rid of that much stuff – we still have so much. Too much. Recently Little Fearse and I were watching a video of her as a 3 month old. She thought it was hilarious and wanted to watch it over and over. Eventually I started looking around in the background at our living room. I was stunned by how much stuff and mess and clutter there was in the background. I suddenly realised how far we have come. It’s like watching your child grow. You know she’s growing, but you don’t see it on a daily basis. I needed that reminder that we’re doing well, really well, in our battle against stuff.
As I’ve mentioned before I get a kick out of finding the perfect home for something, over just getting rid of it on mass to one place. Our local Salvos shop seems to be full of incredibly narky volunteers who pick through our donations, rejecting any number of things; books, CDs, DVDs, sporting goods. The list of what they will take seems limited (and limiting if you happen to shop there, which I do). I have no interest in donating stuff just to get rid of it if it is not useful or wanted. I know that everything I donate is saleable. I wouldn’t donate it otherwise.
FB has been a valuable resource in finding new homes for old belongings, as has Freecycle. Here are some of the places I have found for things we had decided to remove from our homes and our lives:
- A friend who is a drama teacher put out a call on FB for drama costumes brand new department he was starting up. This was the perfect place to donate that Taco Bell Sombrero I’ve been storing for no purpose for 7 years, in addition to some suits, dresses, heels, hats and props. This was a really fun cause to collect for.
- Another friend posted on FB that she was collecting for maternity bags for refugee women. These were designed to be given to them when they sought maternal health services as an incentive for expectant mothers to connect with medical professionals. I went through all of Little Fearse’s new born baby clothes and donated many of these (we always had far too many), as well as unopened creams and lotions, bibs, singlets, a small stash of cloth nappies, newborn hats and booties, wraps and tiny little socks.
- We passed on many of the clothes Little Fearse has just grown out of to a friend who has two children in size 1 clothing. We are given huge amounts of clothes for Little Fearse every Christmas and birthday – a sometimes overwhelming amount. She will sometimes wear something only once. Sometimes not at all. When I’m packing away each size of clothing I try to find new homes for many of the items she has rarely worn. We don’t need that many clothes for a future child and it’s great to know it’s going to tide someone else over for a little while longer.
- Through Freecycle I found a pet rescue organisation who were happy to take my half used bag of kitty litter as well as the old tins of food, medications (that were not out of date), litter tray, food bowls and cat toys from my beautiful cat who passed away two years ago. It was really wonderful seeing these things go to a new home. Yes, we may have a cat again one day, but we don’t need to store this stuff ‘just in case’, when they are useful to someone now.
- Through Freecycle I was also able to donate a huge pile of Hawaiian costumes to a woman who was about to have a Hawaiian party. She was then going to donate them to a child care centre.
- A gorgeous student teacher, about to embark on her career as a teacher was thrilled to take my old teaching text books.
- Our classroom was very happy to receive a donation of a huge pile of old house and garden magazine for craft and art projects.
- I posted a photo of all the books I had managed to cull from my shelves (a blog entry yet to come) on FB and had friends from far and wide pick and choose what they wanted. A great excuse to catch up with many people.
- Our school library was thrilled to accept some recent Young Adult fiction I’d picked up to read when teaching Grade 5/6.
- A tall friend (I’m tall, too) was happy to accept my donation of 11 pairs of winter leggings in extra tall. We have to stick together!
- St Kilda Mums put out a call on FB for toiletries and jewellery for Mums in Fiji and I had the opportunity to explore the bathroom cupboard for a second time this year and my jewellery box for the first time this year and posted off a box of goodies.
- A grass roots refugee support group that has popped up on FB was the perfect place to pass on kitchen goods, bedding, cleaning products (we had excess of some things), more of Little Fearse’s toys and baby clothes.
- Freecyle led us to the perfect new home for our old ski wear and my parents cross country skis – to a young family who are planning a first ski trip.
At the start of the year I think that I would have been too overwhelmed by the whole process to find such a huge array of homes for our things. It’s the process we have gone through this year that has allowed us to become more patient about how we get rid of things and where we take them. It’s not as easy and it’s not as fast, but it’s definitely more satisfying.
[For those of you not following along on our FB page, our Garage Sale encouraged us to find new homes for 144 items. Some of them were sold, some of them ended up going to St Vinnes, some way Freecycled but best of all were all the things we dragged out of our back shed (previously destined for hard rubbish) that we put on the curb for free. Six rickety dining chairs, an Ikea bookshelf missing its shelves, a plastic bathroom caddy that had a definite lean and two very crappy kinky hoses were all picked up by various customers and browsers on the day. We were stoked. We made $90 on the day, but that pleasure was definitely overshadowed by keeping so many items out of landfill, including many vintage electronics that would be otherwise very difficult to move on (and people paid for those!). ]
It doesn’t take much to satisfy a simple year Mama.