With Christmas usually comes presents – at least for those of us with enough discretionary income to buy and receive gifts. This is usually a joyous exchange. As I opened the presents given to me last week, I was happy to receive them but also realized that some of the gifts meant I no longer needed the older household items that these newer ones would replace.

For example, we had many relatives staying with us over Christmas. Fortunately, I had just enough bedding and towels, for everyone. But…I also received a new bedspread, sheets, and towels. After the guests departed and I washed everything, I realized that storage space for the old and the new would be cramped.
Aha! The perfect solution is to donate the duplicate older ones to a homeless shelter or a place like Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, or the Salvation Army.

As I reviewed other “extra” items I had around the house, I realized that there were a number of other things I hadn’t needed in awhile – extra kitchen gadgets, cloth napkins, sweaters, etc. This prompted gathering up the most obvious duplicate items and a trip to a local thrift store. I took a beautiful but older comforter, 4 bath towels, a shower curtain,    11 cloth napkins, some warm undergarments, plus a radio, and some kitchen supplies.

It certainly didn’t clean out our home of all the extras, but I thought these were items that families in need could use during the winter.

As regular readers know, I often use the 6 weeks of Lent to prune my home of no longer needed items. I’m still surprised that after years of decluttering, I still find many things that I’ve been storing for some day, one day. I plan to diligently continue this practice during the upcoming Lent since with age comes less need for as many clothes, supplies, and toys for visiting children. But, for now focusing on balancing what has come in with letting go of items they replace, feels right.

Did you receive any gifts that allow you to release current items to those who need them?

BONUS: A neighbor (Louise) also gave me some non-paper “paper towels.” She cut and trimmed some absorbent cloth and packaged them like a roll of paper towels, but – they are washable. Wow! I don’t know if an item like this can be bought in a store, but they sure look prettier than the rags I store in the bathroom to wipe up spills. They also reduce my need for paper-paper towels since they are reusable.