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How Organizing My Garage Helped Me Find the Special Treasures

19 Oct 2020 5:40 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

I’ve been deliberately and intentionally sorting through storage bins in my garage. I have opened every single one and asked myself if the contents were still worth keeping. I will admit that some bins were easier to deal with than others! The easier bins were the ones where the contents were so obviously outdated and obsolete that I laughed out loud when I held the contents in my hands. I enjoyed thinking about the memories, but quickly discarded the items. Other items immediately brought to mind a specific someone who could use the item right now. Of course, there were many items that were appropriate for donating. I sorted what was left, attached new labels to the bins, and re-stacked the keepers at the back of my garage. 

I hesitated looking at the several bins of homeschool books. I wondered if I would be too sentimentally attached to pass along any of them. Much to my surprise, it was easier than I had anticipated. Could it be that the 12 years (yikes!) that had passed since homeschooling my 3 children had indeed created a sufficient buffer to realistically evaluate these wonderful resources? Yes, I’m happy to report, that was indeed the case. I refreshed my selections of books in my living room to match the current reading levels of my grandchildren and put away all the younger ones. I put together a surprise box to send to them in the mail—which they received with excitement today! I dropped off a box of paperback books at the local laundromat.  I selected ones to donate and without guilt tossed the ones that were obviously out of date. I sorted the remaining true treasures into more relevant categories and labeled each bin. And I ended up with several empty bins!

One bin contained my adult son’s key chain collection which he started during his preschool years. As I opened that bin, I again wondered if I could eliminate any. I dumped them all out onto a big table. Immediately I saw several duplicates which could be donated. Then I picked out ones that were broken. I tossed the ones made of plastic that were sticky or yucky. I smiled the whole time remembering how much enjoyment collecting these key chains brought to everyone in the family. When my son was in 5th grade, he even had the opportunity to display them at our local library. Friends, relatives, and even strangers had contributed to this collection.  But it wasn’t necessary to keep every single one. Now I had the opportunity to send the best on to my son. That refreshed collection ended up being just the right amount for a large flat rate postal box, which is currently on its way to Texas.

I almost overlooked 2 bins at the end of a shelf—simply because they had probably been there about 10 years! I am so glad that I took the time to open them. As it turned out, they contained items that belonged to my father that my mother had packed away. Both of my parents have been gone for several years. I was absolutely amazed to find one of the best pictures ever of my dad taken when he had won a city bowling tournament in 1968. What? How did I not know about this? How had I never before seen this picture? Even more amazing was a leather envelope-sized portfolio with his original discharge papers, a letter from President Truman thanking him for his service in WW2, and a letter from General Omar Bradley regarding his veteran benefits. The leather portfolio was engraved in gold with his name on the front and “Presented for Your Discharge and Service Papers – Your Valued Possessions / Christmas 1945 / McGraw Chevrolet” on the back. These must have been given to each employee that served in the military. It looks brand new! Once again, I had never seen this before. Now I am using it to hold my car insurance papers, which is quite the upgrade from my previous plastic folder held together with tape. I will be reminded of his service whenever I look at it. The fact is, if he had not returned safely, I would not be here today.

My plea to you is to open those boxes and bins! Give yourself permission to only keep the best and donate, share, or toss the rest. Find the hidden treasures. And treasure the memories. :)

Originally posted by Olive Wagar at https://www.organizedbyolive.com



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