Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Cleaning with New Eyes

--by HPotter, posted May 28, 2006
I can't really throw stuff out. Call me a packrat or blame on my parents who grew up with very little and instilled the idea of keeping everything, I simply can't throw stuff out. Now you can imagine what packing up my apartment was like after living there for three years. We didn't grow through the annual purging process typical of college students, instead my possessions simply grew over the years.

Finally the time came, it was time to pack up and move all my stuff... across the continent. You can imagine that space was somewhat of a constraint on what I could keep. As I watched my roomate pack up within a day, either throwing stuff out or packing it up, I couldn't follow suit. The environmentalist in me could never throw away paper, it always had to be recycled, and now how could I just throw away knicknacks?

Smile cards were the answer. Someone had posted a message that buying something is not always needed and I must say I agree. Armed with a stack of smile cards, my stuff was divided into three piles: to take home, to give away and a much smaller trash.

Cleaning has taken on new meaning. I used to think that it was absurd that my mom kept gifts that we never used to give to other people. I used think that that was being cheap. But now my perspective has changed. She wasn't giving the gifts to friend in lieu of buying them something, but rather was giving them to people who had use for them.

Now my old Archies are going to a shelter for women and children, unopened candles and frames will be left randomly for people to find. Spring cleaning can be a drag, but now it has new meaning. What others may see as trash, I see as a treasure that has the potential to light up someone's face. The challenge: finding the right person to give it to. It takes more effort and thought than simply throwing something away, but I can already imagine the joy that will be shared from this small tokens.
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Readers Comments

Kelly wrote: Check out -- these groups are the best for giving ! And perhaps you'll see the perfect item for someone you know in need.
Chelsey wrote: great idea! im a bit of a pack rat myself because i always think that maybe someday ill need whatever it is i want to get rid of.. but giving the stuff away helps people who may need it NOW. :)
ps harry potter rocks!
Mindy wrote: Check out -- it's a really fun way to give things away!!
ReneƩ Rose wrote: I love the story & i am a pack rat as well. I've done this a few times usually finding the person in need before finding what i have to help them. I also give a lot to the salvation army and homeless shelters. what you have done and are doing is a wonderful thing:)
one question though.. What are Archies?
HPotter wrote: Archies are comic books (not the graphics novels of the likes of Batman, etc), but a comic book series about 6 highschoolers with one names Archie.

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