"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Donate to Local Thrift Store or Shelter

The project:
Donate some of our belongings to the local thrift store that benefits various shelters in the area.

90 minutes including going through belongings with our children (THAT will slow anyone down), sorting clothes, and delivery

Why bother?
While the media continues to holler about the tough times the world is experiencing, we do, indeed, continue to live in a age of plenty, in a society of too much, and, in most cases, homes too too small to continue collecting stuff, whether useful or not. Go ahead - argue the point. But look around you first. Are you online? Are you sitting at your OWN computer? In your OWN home? Did you eat well tonight? Perhaps far too well? Do your closets contain more than a week's worth of clothes? How about your children's collections of books and toys, not to mention your own collection. Honestly, unless we're living on the streets out of a shopping carts, or in shelters, or in a home housing several families, we're still living in plenty despite economic struggles relative to our recent pasts.

Our kids recently received some clothes from friends. Before going through the new things, the kids and I went through their closets and drawers, pulling out stained, torn and incredibly worn things, clothes they'd grown out of or which, for whatever reason, they didn't like anymore. They received new things one-for-one. While I did not receive new items, my collection of clothing, however simple, has grown. It seemed only fair (and logical) that I should go through my things as well. I went through my clothes, but also my bookshelves and kitchen, plus the garage.

One of the girls saw a shirt I handed off.

"Mom! I thought you liked that shirt with the flowers on it!"

"I do. But I don't have room for everything I like. I don't have room for everything I want. So, I have to make choices, just like you're making choices. I chose to keep the things I like even better. Someone else will like this shirt, too."

Is it wasteful to give up things that are not yet worn to the nubbins? Perhaps, if you're throwing them away. I don't think so, however, when we donate them to someone else who may be able to use them. (Ratty clothes, worn clothes, stained clothes, however, find their way to the recycling and trash bins.)

Worth it?
Yes - I feel a bit more relieved now that our clothes can more easily be put away, and the house feels slightly less cluttered. I'm fairly certain we could do a better job in the future.

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