I began this big job over our Christmas break from school. I needed to shred or recycle an impressive amount of paper from my files. I have one cabinet that has two 36” long lateral file drawers, plus a standard two-drawer file cabinet. Then, there are two Container Store plastic tubs, with materials for my book project. These probably contain as much as the file cabinet. Ugh! I’ve been collecting all this paper for twenty, thirty years. Nobody needs all this stuff. And so, I ordered a couple more books on Audible, and binge-watched something loud on Netflix, and I sorted, and recycled, and did tons of shredding. Better for me to do this now, than to leave a mental amount of paper behind for my kids to go through after I kick.
Actually, since mom passed, I have been thinking about my own mortality, and it feels good to take responsibility for my stuff. To acknowledge that one day, someone will have to clean up after me. I want to lighten the load. And, in general, I want to travel lighter, leave smaller footprints. I am not a Buddhist, but I do believe that we are weighed down by our possessions, our attachment to things.
I have way too many books. That’s the job I will start next, if I ever finish shredding. Seems like I'm always wrecking the house. It doesn't take much effort in a place this small. I will make four piles: donate to school, to store and keep, to take with, and to donate or freecycle, back out into the world. There are a number of possible new homes for used books. Better World Books or Books4Cause
Books for Cause is similar to BWB, in that they are for-profit, sell some books to finance operations, donate others, etc. But they accept pretty much anything, and whatever they can't use, they send out for recycling. Best part of all though, is they pick up!
To help provide support and encouragement to those in jail, I can donate certain books to Books Through Bars. This organization accepts most types of books and gives them to prisoners who are seeking books within the state. The organization is specifically looking for history books focusing on African American, Latin and Native American cultures, social science books, learning world languages and other how-to style books. Paperback books are the most acceptable form for this organization, since most prisons do not accept hardcover books.
I have always donated a lot of stuff to Housing Works. They help to support homeless HIV+ people. It's local, and I can walk there with a wheelie cart, or drive by with a car load.
The New York City Opera Thrift Shop As Margaret wrote when we were searching for places to donate clothing to, “They aren't a women's shelter, but nobody's perfect, and they have been going through hard times lately. And they also pick up, by appointment!”
I will probably donate my excess clothing to the Ali Forney Center, and Sylvia's Place, to help LGBTQ youth. But I am not up to the clothes closet yet. Back to the shredder I go. One thing for sure in this apartment, I must finish one project before I begin another.