We’re down to Holy Week and I haven’t done a total clean sweep of all the hidden places in our home, but I have found stuff I didn’t know we still had and put them in 3 categories:

* How many puzzles should one home have for a rainy day? Probably a dozen is overkill. I chose to let go of 3. That leaves us 9 for the next pandemic and covers several ability levels for visiting puzzle aficionados.
* Likewise, how many Bingo supplies are sufficient for one household if you’re not a Church or retirement home. Probably 75 cards are too many since we can’t fit that many people in our house anyway.
* I saved many crayons and markers for visiting kids, but who uses colored pencils anymore? I sharpened the dead ones and am giving about 20 away.
* And what refrigerator isn’t enhanced by magnetic letters and numbers? I already know how to count and spell so all of the above went to the recycling center that accepts toys for young kids.             (Click photos to enlarge.)

2. TRUE JUNK: But then there’s the true junk that I couldn’t imagine anyone could use. Think Single Use Plastics (SUPS) that aren’t accepted in curbside recycling, old sunglasses, plastic baby bottles from the 1970’s with no liners or nipples, old clothes and swaths of cloth, extra canning jars, even empty toothpaste and hair gel tubes, and wait – especially the dreaded Styrofoam. Well, our newly opened Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub said they accepted these items – even Styrofoam! I happily unloaded a trunkful of stuff at their warehouse. I did, however, have one temporary setback – they do in fact accept Styrofoam packaging but not food containers. BUT, they plan to also accept even these proverbially unrecyclable items in several months – by July 2021. Apparently, science has developed a new process for melting and refashioning some Styrofoam into new packaging. This centralized all-purpose recycling Hub is a true gift to our community,

3. PAPERS: My intended Holy Week project was to go through my file cabinets and free up papers from previous jobs to make room for the stacks of paper occupying space on top of my desk and file cabinets. It would be a daunting task, but I hoped it would be a holy time of remembering the past and contemplating progress. It was…but because my fervor in sorting Kids’ Stuff and True Junk took so much time, I only got through one file drawer in 2 hours. I was ruthless. I decided not to save any work papers that were over 15 years old unless they were of archival merit. 😉 Luckily papers can go in curbside recycling.

BOTTOM LINE: Recycling should still remain the last resort of a conscientious, earth friendly consumer. But, when reducing consumption, reusing products, repairing things that break, and passing on stuff to those who need it now is not possible, finding responsible recyclers is worth the effort.

1. Hiding stuff, storing it neatly, isn’t a permanent solution.
2. Be thankful for scientists and volunteers who find new ways to solve old problems and reduce environmental pollution.
3. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Giving some toys away is better than hoarding them all. Recycling some stuff is better than just letting it fester in a landfill or the ocean. Refining one file drawer is better than doing none.