Almost every week we get a little envelope with a bag in our mailbox. This envelope has some kind of charity listed on the front, with a plea for donations of knick knacks, clothing, what have you to help the vets, the children, the starving of the world. This week, in true Fly Lady fashion, I am trying my best to fling, and I find myself gleefully shoving stuff in the bag that has been cluttering up my world:
A random lunchbox thingie I got at a work function years ago-
Clothes that my 5 year old has outgrown and my 4 year old nephew doesn’t want, –
Old VHS tapes of dubious viewing quality, by which I mean I’m not really sure they even CAN be viewed anymore-
Various ugly sweaters that are no longer required since I moved from New England oh, you know, 5 YEARS AGO.
I try to think that I am doing these people a service, because for the most part, the stuff I am giving them is not broken or destroyed. It’s just old, ugly, and unwanted. I try to put on my happy environmental thinking cap and dream about how my old clothes will be re-used by the poor, recycled into a new circle of life, and how joyful somebody will feel when they pick up my lunch box thingie and cry, “This is JUST what I’ve been looking for! And to think, only 99cents! What a bargain!” and they will leave filled with contentment and pride at being frugal and lucky at the same time.
I TRY to think like this, but whenever I do, I just feel like a fraud. Because mainly, I’m just relieved that somebody else is willing to come to my house and relieve me of all my crap. Seriously, when they pick it up in their prim white van, I want to giggle maniacally and say, “Suckers! It’s just junk, junk, JUNK!”
Yes, I know. I’m evil.
I also have this bizarre desire to follow some of that junk, to see just exactly where it lands. Do people buy old and tired stuff? I will admit to frequenting a thrift shop when my son was little, and I got some killer deals on the kind of clothes people give up but don’t necessarily wear out–kids shoes barely worn, dress sweaters, and lots and lots of kid’s coats (we did live in New England, after all). I do have hope that the clothes at least will find a decent home. But what about the rest of the stuff? Where do old car seats, worn out stuffed animals, and broken TVs go? Is there some mythical home in the country for all of our stuff? Or is that just another name for a landfill?
I suppose I could alleviate some of my guilt for dumping stuff on these charities by actually frequenting their thrift stores, and trying my best to find a true treasure. But chances are, I’d just pick something up that, in the end, would just find it’s way back to the dusty shelf to die a second hand death.
Anybody else have this weird donation guilt? Any thoughts of the what, where, and why of charity donation? Anybody else get so giddy with the sound of the charity bag and the thought that somebody will COME TO YOUR DOOR TO TAKE IT ALL AWAY you start tossing stuff with such fervor that your husband has to tell you to stop already because we actually DO need some of those things?
Allrighty. I guess it’s just me then.