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Posts Tagged ‘A New Leash on Life’

Some lessons bear repeating.

During a visit with my mom in August, I “rescued” an old jewelry box from her Goodwill bag. I really have no idea how long she’s owned it, but she’s had it for at least as long as she’s had me.

I had plans to do a little renovation (the top arch is hinged and is constantly falling over, which seems to be a constant reminder that it really doesn’t belong there) and maybe repaint the boring brown wood a more exciting color.

I embarked on my last semester of graduate school a week after I returned to Huntsville, and haven’t had time to give the jewelry box much thought.

It hit me last week: I don’t love this item. I love the memories associated with it. When I was growing up, it was a permanent accessory on Mom’s dresser, and each drawer held a different treasure. A tiny gold bracelet that belonged to me when I was a baby. A large, exotic cameo pin. Mom’s class ring.

It was a mysterious treasure chest filled with things I didn’t get to see every day.

Without those items, indeed, without those MOMENTS, it’s just a big wooden box. I don’t even have a good place to put it, much less things to put in it.

Higher purpose time: One of my favorite local animal rescue groups, A New Leash on Life, recently donated $10,000 to Huntsville’s low-income spay/neuter program. The organization’s thrift store, called Market Place, made this donation possible. People donating their gently used goods make the Market Place possible.

As for Mom, she would much rather see her jewelry box sold to help animals than for it to linger on my closet shelf.

And the lesson repeated? Don’t think you have to hold on to things to hold on to memories.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 8: I have this bad habit of decluttering and then leaving the box of decluttered items in the house for weeks, turning it into clutter.

But not this time. I brought last week’s New Year decluttering remnants to the New Leash on Life Marketplace this afternoon. They can sell it faster, and I have a cleaner home office sooner.

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Meet Franz. I bought him for $2 at an estate sale I attended just so I could get a look at the interior of some townhomes in my neighborhood. He looked lonely and in danger of being shipped off to a thrift store with the rest of the unsellables. Franz was hand-sketched in charcoal. He deserved better.

Plus, let’s just admit it, I decorate like a lunatic.

Franz hangs by my desk at home, though he’s not so much inspiration as he is entertainment. I just like him, even though I’m really not sure what sort of animal he is. I’m not even sure how I decided he was German.

I thought of Franz today as I was dropping off a few things at a thrift store, items that were cute and in good shape, but items that I just could not bring myself to love.

I decided a few years ago that open space was my decorating style, and I’ve been decluttering my way to that goal ever since. Gone are the knickknacks that someone else chose for me, the extra set of everyday dishes from my grandmother’s house, the candleholder collection that accumulated after a few people saw me burning candles at a couple of parties.

The things that stay are the things I use and/or simply love. The best part about bringing the rest to a thrift store isn’t the empty space left behind in a closet or on a shelf, but the idea that someone else WILL love these things.

Every item that I give away may become somebody’s Franz. How awesome is that?

My favorite thrift store, by the way, is A New Leash on Life Marketplace at 707 Andrew Jackson Way in Huntsville. It’s a cute little store, filled with a nicer selection than you find in larger thrift stores, and there’s sometimes a couple of adoptable animals there for a visit. A New Leash on Life is a non-profit animal rescue group that houses adoptable animals in approved foster homes.

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