Spring cleaning is my favorite time of the year. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s a time when people take a look at what’s cluttering up their closets, cupboards, garages and attics and assess whether they need to hold onto things. Many people gather up the clothes they haven’t worn in years, the books they've read a thousand times, the toys that their kids have grown out of, and don’t hesitate to donate them to places that serve families in need in our community. However, for some of us, letting go of usable or like-new items can be the hardest. We imagine that someday, somewhere at some point someone will want or need these items, we’ll start/complete the project that we bought all of those supplies for, we’ll lose/gain that weight, or we’ll finally try those more exotic foods that are in the back of our pantry. Sound familiar? Then read on!
I have been facing the same dilemma for four years now: how do I make my home office into, well, an office? Recently, I asked a friend and organizing expert to help me with this task. The problem was that I had lots of great, usable items, and no space to move in my office. Everything from barely used prom dresses to school supplies and books. I hired her specifically to create a system of organization that allowed me to use my office for creative writing, college studies, sewing, scrapbooking and just maybe an impromptu guest room. After three hours, we had moved throughout my house and garage, come up with a general plan and not moved once single item. Why? Because before we could dig into the piles, I had to answer one question: do I need this? It seems simple, but it’s what we ask ourselves all throughout spring cleaning. The most enlightening moment was when my friend said “Ask yourself, ‘Could someone else be loving this?’ Because everything that clutters up your house is taking space from your life, sucking energy from your being.”
I had never considered that the great things that were simply sitting in my spaces were causing me stress just by being there, but they were. And unloved? Yes, they were being neglected, unused, just gathering dust where they could be making someone happy. In fact, if I gathered these items and brought them down to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, they could make a world of difference to families struggling through hard times. Suddenly, the decisions were simple. I wasn’t giving up good things; I was passing along happiness and tools for success. By donating my unloved items, I was giving another family in my community the opportunity to achieve their dreams. So, when you’re clearing out your house this spring, think of the joy you could be spreading through our community and you might just renew your soul.
Submitted by Tarah Frost, Donation Drive Coordinator at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.