Bags and boxes of stuff waiting to be delivered to Goodwill this weekend.
Last post I wrote about breaking down your goals to keep from getting overwhelmed. Well, I'm finding that to be really true lately. My goal of getting all our crap outta the basement is a little too big even broken down into the categories of my stuff, son's stuff, husbands stuff and our stuff. Basically, I'm finding what works is to go down into the basement grab one item and do one of three things: take a photo to sell it, put it in a bag to donate or find it a new home. If I decide to sell it I take photos, write up a Craig's List Ad and put the item on the shelves in our bedroom as it waits to be purchased. It makes our bedroom a little crowded, but it's better mentally for me to not put anything back in the basement once I bring it up. If I decide to donate it, I have some bags lined up by the back door to take to our local Goodwill: one bag for clothes, one for household stuff, and one for miscellaneous items. This really helps Goodwill when sorting out your items and for me when tracking what I can deduct for taxes. The last action of finding it a new home is usually the hardest and can create a snowball effect you might not expect. Not that that is bad thing, but it can make the process a bit more time consuming.
For instance, I grabbed a Rubbermaid tub marked "Office Supplies" off the basement storage shelves today and while sorting out the pens, paper clips and envelopes I realized we already had way too many of these items out aready. Which got me to going through all of our pens to see which ones still worked, tossing those that didn't and keeping only the ones we like. Then I moved onto the huge supply of pencils we have dividing them in half to keep and half to donate. I moved on to emptying out our little basket where we keep rubber bands removing all the laundromat tokens, screws, paperclips and misc. debris I found in there. Basically, that one little tub of office supplies had me cleaning out drawers and shelves all morning. The stumbling block came when I went to find out where I could donate all these still usable items to. First, I found TerraCycle who has lots of recycling programs, but mainly for organizations, businesses and schools. They also had no way to search if there is a drop off near you. Next, I found I could send them to African children in need through Develop Africa, but they really want you to donate the money to ship the items as well which makes perfect sense, but we're trying to save not spend. Closer to home I found a shelter that list that they would take the pencils and pens on their website, but give you no information on how to drop off these items or whom to contact. In the end I decided to put a free ad up on CL and set them all out in a bag on my front steps. The bag was gone within an hour which is great, but I can only hope someone is putting the supplies to good use and not just tossing what they don't need into the garbage. All things considered I'm counting it as a success for the day.
It's only a small success getting rid of one bag of things we no longer need when we have a whole basement full, but a small success a day can add up to a very successful week. It's really the movement towards the goal that I'm finding is important to me. Instead of having a giant list of what I accomplished each day I'm simply asking myself if I worked towards our goal of living smaller and if the answer is "yes" than that's the real accomplishment.