Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's Take Out The Trash...Year? by Anna J Stewart

So this is post two in my year-long "I'm going to do this this year" series of blogs. In February, I talked about wanting to travel more, specifically to Scotland (the country of my blood) during the holidays. That was such a fun post to write and it gave me a chance to daydream over the picture of Edinburgh that still makes me sigh. Travel, check.

This month, instead of dreaming and planning, I'm talking about taking action and doing something I've been telling myself I needed to do for, well, probably years. A recent Facebook Post went viral; a post that suggested a 40-days/40 bags. 40 days at this time of year refers, of course, to the Easter season (having been raised Catholic, I can fully relate). A number of my friends were jumping on board. What I really liked about this idea was that instead of "sacrificing" something (let's face it, most of us can't give up anytying for 40 days for Lent. Well, I never could, LOL), this effort strives to have you clean stuff out and donate 40 bags of "stuff" to charity.



I started a few weeks ago (ahead of schedule) and ended up taking about 6 bags (so far) to my friend's office as she's scheduling a charity pickup in April. I will fully admit this wasn't purely altruistic. The same friend had a bed she was giving me and, well, I needed to do some serious cleaning out. Love killing two birds with one stone (in theory <G>). The great thing was, once I got started, I found it difficult to stop.

I don't know about you, but I'm finding the older I get, the easier it is to part with things. Things I never thought I could let go.Maybe it's because I'm not married, don't have kids, and really don't like the idea of leaving a relative with so much crap to go through (my poor cousin). Seeing all this was a definite wake up call. I couldn't believe how much I've accumulated in my life. Definitely time to unload and pass on.

Clothes I hadn't worn in the last 6 months went. Same with shoes. Toys (I'm a collector) went into a separate box, linens, silly doo-hickies (yes, that's a word today), crafting supplies that can go to schools or day care centers. All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about this except now I must address the rather large elephant in my house...books.

I may have hit the wall. Get rid of books?! Aaaak!! Even in this day and age, I'm still a print girl and the idea of giving any away? It almost hurts my heart. But what good are they sitting on a shelf (having already been read), especially if I'm not going to read them again? No good at all. And so, soon, the ASPCA will get a carload (or two or three) of cookbooks, biographies, crime novels, mysteries and, alas, romances. It'll do double good, right? Raise money for charity and give someone some pleasure reading. Yes, that's what I'll have to tell myself. As I go through the, well, let's just say I could give Ikea a run for its money when it comes to bookcases. And boxes. And floorspace...

Um, yeah. I'm a work in progress.  :)

How about you? Anyone else up for the challenge? Even if it's one room, it can make a big difference!

Until next time, happy reading!
~Anna J



USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart currently writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines.  When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions, at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing service for writers. Her next Heartwarming release will be A DAD FOR CHARLIE, book 3 in the Butterfly Harbor series coming in August, 2017. Her brand new release, STRAIGHT TO HIS HEART, a Kindle Worlds novella, is a sweet romance addition to Marina Adair's St. Helena Vineyard series. You can find her online at www.authorannastewart.com.

26 comments:

  1. We live in an apartment with very little storage space, so we're always hauling out a bag or two for Goodwill. :) It's amazing how quickly stuff accumulates! I like having a small space for this reason alone--there isn't room to let it pile up! LOL!

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    1. LOL, you know, it's why those tiny houses are so tempting! I can just imagine how much stuff I could get rid of. :)

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  2. Since the Harlequin Heartwarming books are large print, I keep thinking I'll take the ones I've finished to the retirement home, so people there can enjoy them.

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    1. What a great idea, Heidi! And yes, that's the one thing I hear a lot from readers is how much they appreciate the larger print! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Anna, I absolutely loved this blog and want to give you a big hug for those donations. After talking to some Goodwill workers in our area and finding out how vast their service is and how ALL charities like this, St. Vincent De Paul, the Catholic Charities, Salvation Army help so many people, I decided to use that kind of generosity toward others as part of one of my upcoming Shores of Indian Lake stories. I am terribly guilty of not getting around to "cleaning out" my closets, but like you, I am determined to do it THIS year. Last year I donated all my husband's clothes and things after he died. But my own? And my BOOKS???? OMG. YOU gave me the gumption (love that word, too) to DO IT!

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    1. Awesome, Catherine! Now I'll have to follow suit on the books, LOL. It's like ripping off an arm...but at least others can enjoy them. :) Here's to the charitable season!

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  4. In the 26 years of my marriage, we move on average every 5 to 7 years. My hubby says we have to move to force me to get rid of my junk. So every time we move, I clean out my closets, go through stuff I don't need and donate lots of things. But I've never been able to bring myself to get rid of any books. I'm a book hoarder. I still have the books that I bought from scholastic when I was in grade school. Most of those have found homes in my kindergarten classroom, but the rest are on my shelves and are a bone of contention between the hubby and I. So far, I've won and they remain safely on my shelf. But donating them to a charity might persuade me to go through them....maybe.

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    1. Ah, that might just be my problem! I've only moved a few times (the last time was 30 years ago!). Hmmm...

      and I have my scholastic books, too! One is my all time favorite, a YA book called In Face of Danger, a WWII story. Might have to dig it out and re-read (that one ain't going anywhere!)> :)

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  5. Well, you're speaking my language! It's time for another purge. Last year I heard about a "practice" to do now and again that involved getting rid of 27 items a day for 9 straight days. Why those numbers? No particular reason, but it was a countable job, easy to undertake. And I did it. It felt good for those days, even if it was late at night and I was scrambling to fine items 23 or 26 and the final 27th. I actually did the practice after I'd already cleared out shelves and closets, but I still found items to part with.

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    1. Well, now I have a record to compete against! Congrats on the cleaning out! :)

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  6. Yay you! Each month, the Disabled Veterans do a pick-up in our neighbor. I make a point of having at least one bag for them. Why keep something hanging in your closet that you haven't worn in years, when it would be a treasure to another person.

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    1. Exactly! I have to keep reminding myself of this, Jill. :)

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  7. I'm so impressed with all of you. I really have to do this, but I'm procrastinating. It's on the list.

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    1. At least you have a list, Beth!! That's a start. <3

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  8. Well done Anna. Your post is so inspiring. I really need to get rid of a lot of stuff too. I feel the same way about not wanting a lot of clutter as I've gotten older. But my books? Oh well, I guess I should really think about parting with some of my cherished tomes. I will have to think long and hard about where they will go though. Whomever gets them will definitely have to read and appreciate them.

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    1. The books are the hardest for sure! I also have to remind myself not to put strings on anything. Release and let go...then again, I have to learn that lesson with a lot of things, LOL. :)

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  9. Good for you, Anna! I've spent the last year doing exactly this, and still have a long way to go. I keep looking around and asking myself, 'Why does one person need this much stuff?'.

    Good luck!

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    1. OMG, THIS! Seriously, why do I have all of this? So disheartening. But no more! I now ask myself "do I really need this?" or do I only want. :)

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  10. You have really inspired me, Anna. I took three bags of clothes to Goodwill last week, and I'm sorting through more now. I think it's easier for us "of a certain age" to get rid of things because we know our kids aren't going to want them anyway.
    Cynthia

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  11. Great post Anna. I have a wardrobe full of stuff I really should get rid of. You make me feel quite guilty

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  12. Thanks Anna for reminding us to share the things we are no longer using. I need to get busy again. I've been pretty good lately after cleaning several houses of people who have died. So that inspired me to do the same and save someone a lot of work. LOL

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  13. I did a considerable amount of clearing out earlier this year. In total, I must have donated a dozen large bags of clothing/shoes, and boxes and boxes and boxes of books.

    Your post reminded me to get back to it, since I'm not done!

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  14. I clear out like the dance goes, only backwards. It's supposed to be two steps forward and one step back, right? I go forward one and back two. Sigh.

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  15. Anna, we're on the same page this year. I have filled the back of my car (and it's a volvo wagon) three times with donations. I even parted with a couple boxes of books. Although I will admit that I also packed a couple "saver" boxes filled with some of my favorite books and stowed them in the attic. I keep thinking what if the world crashes and we're left with no TV or internet? I'll need those books, right?

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