I’m now 11 days into Lent and have carefully looked into hiding places in 2 of the bedrooms. I’ve found 2 expected giveaways, 2 surprises, and 1 disappointment.

1. Trivia:
In a storage dresser I found miscellaneous items like an extra sewing kit, fancy gloves and purses that I have no use for. I put them in my Give-Away box. There were also misc. potential gifts (like candles) in case I need to give an emergency gift to someone or the house loses electricity.
2. Children’s Coats: In the back of our clothes closet I had stored 4 children’s winter jackets and a mink cap. I knew I stored them here, but I suppose I saved them just in case our own kids needed them. Well, our kids are now adults and even our grandchildren would be too old for these items This stimulated a giant guilt trip in me because the temperature was hitting single digits and we had over a foot of snow – unusual for Kentucky. There certainly were kids who could have used these items this past week and even previous winters. I immediately took them to the St. Vincent de Paul Donation Center. Waiting for the donation truck might be too late for some cold child. The mink hat? …Well, somebody will get lucky.

1. Curtains:
I had forgotten that I stored 6 sets of old curtains under our bed. I have no need for them, but how do I get them to someone who could use them. Sure, I could take them to a thrift store, but I wanted a more personal connection. I decided to post them for free on Next Door which covers my neighborhood. Within minutes of my post, I got a response from someone who wanted all of them. They picked them up this morning.
2. Area rug: I was also surprised to find a 5’x9’ area rug under another bed. It was faded and had some stains so I didn’t feel it was worthy of donating to someone else. Maybe I could use it to insulate the back of a closet? But then a better idea occurred to me.
I had heard that animal shelters accept old towels. Maybe a rug would also be acceptable. Well, some do and some don’t. After a bunch of googling and waiting on hold I finally found an ASPCA shelter a half hour away that could use it. Yea! Done.

Two file boxes of papers: While I was playing hide and seek in the bedroom closets, I found two large boxes filled with papers from a job my husband had 18 years ago with The Institute for Peace and Justice. I figured I could release these papers from their hiding place and allotted several hours the next day to prune through obsolete papers. The Director, Kathy McGinnis, who is based in St. Louis said she already had the important papers archived and gave her OK to recycle the contents. BUT… my husband had not. So, in the interest of marital harmony, I’ll let him sort through this stuff when he has time – maybe 18 years from now 😉 .

1. “Just in case” excuse: It’s tempting to hold on to some items because some day/one day I might want to use x. I’m trying to move toward a “Does someone need this now” scenario. Example: One day we might have a grandchild visiting from Singapore for Christmas (where it’s always warm) who needs a winter jacket. There are too many “ifs” to justify keeping these coats now.
2. Humility: In some circles people think I’m the “Queen of giving stuff away.” Seeing how much stuff is hidden in our closets or under beds after a decade of pruning is humbling.

What’s hiding in your closets or under your bed?