Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recycling Love

As I have been going through the boxes of cards and letters saved for me from the time I was born, to the ones I have kept throughout my life, it has felt somewhat like an archeological excavation. Previously, it seemed sac religious to dispose of these items. Now, not so much!

But what to do with forty years of valentines, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases and the miscellaneous I love you’s shared with my dearest friend, my husband? I began by sorting the best of the best out, sorted through those again, then divided them up by event. I saved maybe a dozen of each event for each of us. This past Valentine's Day, we “shopped” our old cards and recycled our love. This is the ultimate in green giving, the best of recycling. We are saving trees, saving gas and probably saving in ways we don't even know about. Weird? Maybe, but there again I'm thinking, not so much.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy receiving cards and letters sent to me, and I will continue to send them to others. But, I'll use more of the cards I receive for bookmarks in cookbooks, books I am reading, and to jot down notes. I just won't be keeping them forever, and you don't have to either.

How about recycling all cards? My mother-in-law once sent the Christmas cards she received back to the senders the following year. It had something to do with using construction paper, covering areas where the sender had written anything, and wrapping the construction paper around the card to form an envelope. She only heard from one person who noticed, and she sends out and receives an extraordinary number of cards. Sounds like a lot of trouble to me, but you could send a delightful card back and forth to the same person, as in, Happy Birthday, and backatcha, again and again. Gives a whole new meaning to re-gifting.

Be creative, be green, simplify, or whatever you want to call it, but STOP the madness of saving all of these cards! I am now wondering what my friend Phyllis is going to do with the monthly anniversary cards she and her husband share each month. Yes, each month; yes, she saves them, and this has been going on for more than twenty years! Sweet remembrances, but I am having a difficult time picturing twelve times the anniversary cards. And I thought it looked like every Hallmark shops worst nightmare when I sorted through my cards and had them covering my entire family room.

Saving special memories is something we all do in one way or another. Getting rid of the collection of memories in our attics and under our beds is another thing. Be green, follow my lead and move on. Enjoy the cards, but I am here to tell you, there are no Hallmark SWAT teams! Well, if there are, they didn't burst into my house. So will I regret what I have disposed of, I’m thinking, not so much! Will my family miss going through my detritus? Again, not so much. And to all those people who think there may be money left in some of those cards, not so much!
3D recycle symbol courtesy of Chris Potter

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Pony Tale

When my niece was in high school, over ten years ago, she donated her long ponytail to the Locks of Love non-profit organization. Locks of Love take the donated ponytails and create wigs for financially disadvantaged children who have lost their hair. Being someone who wore ponytails and braids as a child, once I heard about Locks of Love, I wished I could have donated mine when I had my last pony cut forty years ago.

I was going through boxes recently, as I move forward in the quest to downsize my life, and guess what I found? Lo and behold, a plastic bag with two, count ‘em two, ponytails. Since I am getting rid of things left and right these days, these two ponytails do not need to continue to follow me into my future. I really did not want to throw them away, though. Searching the Internet I found Locks of Love is still going strong. I looked at the criteria for hair donation, and it was noted that hair cut years ago was acceptable. Yay! And, all ponytails or braids must be at least ten inches long. I measured mine and I had one at eleven and a half inches and one at fifteen inches. Yay, again!

 If you know me, or have seen my picture on this website, you will know I have very short hair. Most of the time it is two inches or shorter. I know I will never grow my hair long again, but I have an opportunity I thought would never come my way. While these two ponytails will not follow me into my future, they will be the future for a child in need.

Downsizing has pointed me in many interesting directions as I seek to donate, sell, shred, and garbage, the belongings of my life. Locks of Love is just one of the many options I have found. By getting the moving process started, even before we know where we are moving, I have the opportunity to take the time to go through everything. Taking this time has allowed me to find appropriate homes for many items. If I hadn't been taking this time, I more than likely would have tossed many items, including ponytails, while in a rush to pack. I would have missed out on a chance to improve the life of someone else in a very special way.

Ponytail photo courtesy of Corey Holmes