I struggle to fit the awkwardly shaped dishes inside each other, one square with little handles inside a smooth round bowl. As I attempt to stack the dishes to return them to the shelf, it slips, shooting across the counter and crashing to the floor, shattering into 100 pieces. The kids come running to the kitchen.
“What happened?” questions the three year old.
“Uh oh!” shouts the baby, his favorite catch phrase.
“Mom broke another dish.” declares the 5 year old.
“GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!” I yell as they cluster, bare footed, and enter to gawk at my mistake, begging to implant shards of glass in their feet.
What Did We Do?
I’m not mad at them, I’m frustrated at myself.
I take a deep breath, sigh and begin to clean up the mess.
“Well, I didn’t need it anyway.”
That’s the thing, I didn’t need it anyway. It didn’t fit because there were too many dishes in their in the first place. Dishes I use maybe once a year. Dishes I was given or collected, but simply added to the stack rather than to replace another one. Too much stuff, everywhere, there is too much stuff.
Recently a friend came over to my house and while I was showing her something in my basement, she looked at me and said, “Girl, you need to purge.” She was right. I do.
But for whatever reason, I struggle. It’s not like I am a post World War survivor, remembering hard times and keeping the washed Styrofoam boards that come under ground beef from the super market. But still, All. The. Things.
To Sell or To Donate?
I have on several occasions cleared out my closet and donated it to Goodwill. But since having kids the time, energy and desire to do that is just never there. I start to clear things out to donate and then feel guilty for not being more frugal and first trying to sell it online or at consignment shops.
The constant updates on Facebook sale groups makes me feel obligated to try that route first. It seems like so many people are successful doing it. It makes me think, “Let me just take a picture of that.” But when no one has claimed it in 5 minutes with a backlog of “line” comments, I feel as though I failed. But rather than give it away, I think we should save it and have a garage sale (I have never held a garage sale).
I asked recently what other friends do with the outgrown kid’s clothes because for me, it’s overwhelming. One person suggested just giving it away, which again, seems obvious. But then I feel guilt for not having already given it away.
The battle rages on.
Making a Commitment
So for clarity and peace of mind I have committed to clearing the stuff out. I am setting a challenge for myself of 100 bags. It might be one room at a time, one drawer at a time, and one step at a time, but for all of our sake, it must go. And go away with no mental anguish or guilt. We have been blessed and given much, we need very little. I want to give it to others in need.
So I have compiled a list of places that take donations, of all kinds, but mostly what you might find if you’re knee deep in toddlers and wedding gifts you never use (the wedding gifts, not the toddlers). If minimalist is the least likely verb to describe you and you are feeling overwhelmed by endless mountains of things too, I invite you to join my challenge. Whether it’s 100 grocery bags or garbage bags, let’s lighten the load.
Places To Donate
Life Network/Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center. Baby items like pacifiers, nail clippers, burp cloths, diapers, wipes, diaper bags, strollers, snugglies, crib sheets, washcloths, children’s books, maternity clothes
Restore Innocence. Feminine hygiene products, towels, wash clothes, sheets, bedding, pillows
Partner’s in Housing. Womens clothing, linens, towels, blankets, pots and pans, dishes glassware, cutlery, small furniture, paper products, unopened toiletries, seasonal decorations
SKSF/Adult Services. Vinyl or leather chairs/sofas, craft items, exercise balls, puzzles/board games, musical instruments, sporting equipment
SKSF/Zach’s Place .(Youth 5-21).Middle school educational games, sensory toys, vinyl or leather chairs/couch, markers, colored pencils, pens, paint, kids fishing poles, bike helmets, sports equipment
Women’s Resource Agency. Womens business dress, suits, skirts, slacks, etc. Hand bags, shoes, cocktail dresses, special occasion dresses.
Vietnam Veteran’s of America. (And they will pick it up!) All clothing, household-dishes, silverware, small kitchen appliances, rugs, jewelry, cosmetics, art and frames, toys, electronics-monitors, cameras, game stations, books, exercise equipment, weight benches, sporting equipment, tools.
Discover Goodwill. Takes most all donations including large furniture and vehicles