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Compliments of colorblindPICASO via Flickr

For some of you, the following may be a frightening question: have you searched through every single drawer in your hom to ferret out the unwanted, fix the non-working, and donate the rest? Are there some areas in your house at which the idea of de-cluttering leaves you incapacitated?

The old fashioned, the musty, the items with missing parts (and the things that are simply strange) are fodder for the bit barrel. Those items which can be salvaged (or mis-buys that simply never made it into your wardrobe) may be perfect candidates for someone else. In Simple Abundance Breathnach argues we should only keep clothing that we love, and that looks great on us. If we each made a concerted effort to shed what’s unnecessary, others would have as well. Recently I gave several pieces of costume jewelry (remnants of my childhood years) to a colleague for his young daughter. The joy on her face was her gift to me.

Attics, basements, garage crawl spaces, closets, spare rooms, and anything with a drawer are prime candidates for a spring cleaning. Accumulation is the enemy of an ordered house. How many people (who are truly needy) would find joy in your past ‘treasures?’ that fail to amuse you? Taking donation bags to Goodwill (or to the charity of your choice) frees you by giving you the comfort of knowing your items will be put to good use.

Today, start small: tackle one drawer in your kitchen – the feared “junk drawer,” the repository of things unknown. Taking control will give you a feeling of accomplishment and mastery over your personal space. Phone numbers that are haphazardly strewn on crumpled bits of paper can be neatly organized by electronic categorizing, then filing in a tabbed folder. Each year I update my phone manual with new numbers, and delete the ones that I no longer use. Hunting and pecking, misfiling, and spending hours looking for contact information are eliminated.

Organization creates a sense of connection between you and the recipients of your things – a web of outreach that gives in ways you could not have imagined. Giving is a way to be inclusive. When you only have what you need, you then ensure that other people have what they need.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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