Declutter Holiday!

This post was originally published January 19, 2015.

This weekend, we went visit my parents in East Tennessee. My dad retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and they live just outside the Oak Ridge city limits. Now, as you may recall from previous posts, Oak Ridge is the location of the nearest Holiday Bureau! So you know what that means … DONATION TIME!

We have been gathering toys, holiday decorations, stuffed animals, and so forth for several months now with the anticipation of taking them to the Holiday Bureau. We had two plastic totes of Christmas ornaments, a black plastic bag of more Christmas ornaments, two small Christmas trees, a plastic tote of holiday lights and yard decorations, a black plastic bag of stuffed animals, a plastic tote completely filled with my Groovy Girls, a plastic tote of my daughter toys, several holiday-themed tins (the kind popcorn comes in), and an eight-place setting of holiday tableware, including serving bowl, salt and peppers shakers, sugar and creamer, and a butter dish. (There are probably some other things that I am forgetting.)

When we loaded the car, it was literally stuffed with the donations! The trunk was full, we packed things around my daughter in the backseat, and I had to hold our suitcase on my lap because there was no room for it anywhere else. My husband was the only one who had a little room, since he was driving.

I had planned to take pictures of the giant pile of stuff that we were donating, but I forgot before we loaded it into the car. We arrived at the Holiday Bureau, I was so excited, that I forgot again, but take my word for it – it was a lot of stuff. The folks at the Holiday Bureau were so helpful unloading everything, and so nice and sweet, assuring me that my Groovy Girls would make some little girl very happy, and that all our donations were much appreciated. It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t recommend the Holiday Bureau enough. They do wonderful work in the community!

After dropping off the donations, we spent a lovely weekend with my parents. I have made a resolution to myself to get all the stuff that my parents have been “holding onto for me” out of their house. They have plenty of room, and their house is quite large, but I am a grown woman and there is no reason why my clutter should be cluttering their house! My mom told me that there were six boxes in the basement of my stuff, so I spent Saturday afternoon going through them. The boxes included letters from friends that I have lost touch with (or sadly don’t even remember!), newspaper clippings, school awards, schoolwork, high school memorabilia, college memorabilia, and old bills and cancelled checks from the early 90s. I also found a pristine $2 bill, postcards from Yugoslavia from the 1970s (with stamps), and a cool “friendship sheet” from my pen-pal days as a kid. (Friendship sheets were so neat, for those of you who probably don’t know what they are. You started the sheet, sent it to a pen-pal, they sent it to one of their other pen-pals, and so on, until it was full. Then the last person sent it back to you. My friendship sheet had been to Denmark, England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Spain, and several states, before coming home to me.)

To deal with the boxes, I made four piles – shred, recycle, trash, and keep. At the end of the afternoon, there were only two and a half small boxes left. I packed them up neatly, and put them back in my parents’ basement for now. We don’t yet have a place to put them at our house until we clear out some more stuff. My plans are to scrapbook the newspaper clippings, ticket stubs that I saved, memorabilia, and that kind of thing. Some of the things, I am not sure what to do with, and others I will likely get rid of when I go through them again.

On Sunday, we went to a wonderful service at the First Methodist Church in Oak Ridge, where we also ran into some friends from when I was a kid. Then we spent the afternoon playing board games before heading home. It was a wonderful weekend, in which I got to do many of my favorite things – spend time with my family, play board games, and declutter.

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