Wednesday, October 21, 2015

De-cluttering Victories

Every now and then, there is a little de-cluttering victory. It could be a closet tackled or a major load taken to recycling, but my personal favorite is the good-home-for-the-odd-item kind of victory. I don’t mean the generic clean-out and the drop-off at Bishop’s Attic or Goodwill; I mean the my-trash-is-really-someone-else’s-treasure kind of transfer.

Years ago, I finally decided the proliferation of water bottles and souvenir soft drink mugs from assorted waterparks, sports events, and Disney Worlds had achieved critical mass. I collected them all up … and took them to an elementary school classroom as rewards for reading. The teacher loved it, and I loved the space vacated and the good deed accomplished.
If things are a step up professionally or particular to women, they might fulfill their mission as donations to Alaska Professional Communicators for the monthly luncheon door prize. I’d forgotten all about one particular donation until Dianne cornered me at a recent lecture. “Barbara,” she said, “I got the witch.” I stared at her long enough for her to realize I had no idea what she was talking about. It had to do with the flying women art I hang from my ceiling, urging me to take flight, I guess. They’re happy and motivating, but I bought one that didn’t have the desired effect. She was kind of creepy, although I’d never thought of her as a witch. After years of sitting in a corner, neglected, she became a donation. Dianne paid for her door prize ticket (win for the organization), she won the ‘witch’ (win for her), and I got satisfaction from engineering the match.

My family in New York had dozens and dozens of board games. We played them when it was too hot and humid and we huddled in the basement trying to stay cool. Since Sophie is the only grandchild, after a while, the board games migrated to our house. But when she turned 13 and the whole family visited for her bat mitzvah, I assembled everyone for the disposition of the no-longer-favorite games. Whatever no one wanted was going to Camp Fire After School.

“You can’t get rid of Candy Land. They don’t even make them with those candies anymore.” “Not Chutes and Ladders!” “Not Careers!” “Not Pooch!” “These old games must be worth a mint on E-Bay!” Those are the cries of confirmed pack rats. So non-rat-Tim snuck out of the room, checked the computer, and reported in: “$3.54 for a mint condition Candy Land.” Oh, they were so well-received at Camp Fire!
But my latest coup has me delirious. Every time I dye my hair, I get a box with a new pair of plastic gloves inside, but I just rinse out one pair and use it over and over again. There are just so many plastic gloves you can use to pick up trash or repair a kayak. At last count, there must have been more than 70 in the bathroom drawer. Mimi to the rescue: “Oh, everyone in the art studio needs plastic gloves when they paint. Want me to take them in?” Hallelujah!
Jazz hands! Jazz hands!

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