The Undercurrent: A new year’s resolution we’re keeping by giving away

[Editor's Note: I'll provide a monthly update of our progress and a list of items at the end of this column.]

When my husband, Dan, and I sat down recently to talk about our goals for the year, one thing kept coming up — we’ve got way too much stuff in our house. We want to get rid of the clutter and keep trying to simplify our lives. So we came up with the following goal:

Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones

Every day we will give away one of our possessions. That can be averaged out, of course, but the goal is that we give away 365 items by the end of this year.

That may sound like a lot, but so far we haven’t had any trouble staying on track. Cleaning out and organizing our drawers and closets for the new year produced boxes of stuff — clothes that don’t fit, items we received for Christmas but probably won’t ever use, things we thought we needed but really don’t.

I have to say I feel ashamed every time I do some “weeding out” and see the bounty of possessions we have. And I know we’re not alone in this American consumer-driven culture.

We have been taking our unwanted but still usable possessions in good condition to the Methodist Thrift Store, my favorite retailer in town. This store does so much good for the community, raising money to help economically disadvantaged or people experiencing a hardship pay their utilities and other bills (recipients have to fill out a form to qualify). It’s staffed with volunteers whose names I’ve come to know. I look forward to going in and seeing a friendly face.

Many days the store is crammed with shoppers — young mothers with children, students, young couples just starting out, seniors on a fixed income and people like me who just like to hunt for a great deal. For a few dollars, you can save money and help someone, too.

Of course, some of the things I’ve taken to the store are items I’ve bought there because I thought they were such a great deal — only to find that I didn’t use or need them when I got them home. So back they go. Call it purposeful repurposing.

With January now behind us, Dan and I not only are on track with our goal of giving, but so far are way ahead. How can it be that two people accumulate so much? Why is it so difficult to part with possessions sometimes? How many feathers does a nest really need? We’ve come to the conclusion that less really is more.

Our criteria for keeping or giving away something is that if we don’t use a possession, or if we don’t love it, or if it doesn’t have sentimental value, it goes. Why keep it?

So the boxes and bags of stuff will continue trickling out of our house this year. Giving away 365 items should be pretty painless and hopefully will help others. This is a rare new year’s resolution — one we know we’ll be able to keep.

Kathryn Jones is the editor of the Glen Rose Current.

Items we’ve given away:

JANUARY

Pair of Brooks Beast running shoes

Khaki shorts

Levi shorts

Green shorts

Levi’s jeans

5 T-shirts

2 pillow shams

4 pans

2 knit tops

Windbreaker

Potato peeler

Sylvania VCR/DVD player

Talavera bowl

Ceramic mixing bowl

Sweater

Silver candlesticks

Wool scarf

6 large shells from Assateague Island, Va.

FEBRUARY

14 books

Mattress pad

A bag of pillow stuffing

12 ladies’ clothing items

Pair of Aerosoles mules

Decorative metal trivet

Black turtleneck dress

Banana Republic wool pants

Large framed calla lily print

Metal box

Wooden stickhorse

MARCH

Women’s red mock turtleneck

Women’s jacket

Two etched glass coasters

7 books

3 glasses

2 women’s shirts

5 pairs new underwear in package

Decorative pillow

Six books

Canada plate

Clay angel

Bracelet watch

Ceramic horned toad

Mouse ears

Comb

2 pairs sunglasses

APRIL

Throw pillow

Fleece muffler

Food processor attachments

2 candles

4 skirts

2 jackets

Keratin shampoo and conditioner

Wine holder

3 fine art framed paintings

2 framed prints

1 black frame with glass

Plate holder

Gold frame

Old framed Japanese print

Vintage suitcase

Hummingbird feeder

Redneck wine glass

Aqua green pot

2 metal Western buttons

Copper horses wall hanger

Pastel picture

2 pair women’s shoes

MAY

2 T-shirts

Sunglasses

Ceramic pot

Plant stand

2 items ladies’ clothing

Japanese framed print

Pair shoes

Glasses case

145 items so far

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to The Undercurrent: A new year’s resolution we’re keeping by giving away

  1. Martha Schoolfield Reply

    February 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Kathryn,
    The Thursday Thrift Store Team appreciates all of your contributions as well as seeing and visiting with you.

    Martha & Team

    • Kathryn Reply

      February 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Thank you so much, Martha! You all are priceless!!

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