Several years ago, I wrote an article entitled ‘Shared Blessings’ and in light of the state of our economy today, I think some of that article needs repeating.


As a nation, we have been greatly blessed over the years of our lives to accumulate lots of stuff – and there comes a point when we need to get rid of some of that said ‘stuff’.
         
After helping several elderly folks clear out their homes as they prepare to move into senior apartments, assisted living and nursing homes, I realized I just have too much!
        
I have made it my goal for this new year to spend just 20 minutes a day cleaning out something in my house. Now a lot of you might say, "What the heck can you get done in just 20 minutes? I can’t get anything done in just 20 minutes!"
       
Do you talk on the phone? Text? Watch a mindless television program? Flip though a magazine? Read a chapter in that new book you just bought? Of course you do. And it all takes just about 20 minutes.
     
I have found I can do quite a lot in a short length of time if I just focus on the task at hand. (I tend to get distracted a lot.) I can type out several articles for this paper, I can answer a couple of e-mails, and I can do some of the prep-work required to get this paper ready for the printer. And, I can clean something in 20 minutes. A sink full of dishes, a kitchen towel drawer, a shelf in the bathroom, empty a small tote, or clean one shelf in a kitchen cupboard. I really can get a lot accomplished in just 20 minutes. I’ve started to set the kitchen timer to keep myself on task.
   
The next item of business is, "Now what do I do with the stuff I don’t want it or need it any more?" I sort as I go, pitching anything that is broken, stained or badly worn. Dump time!
      
My goal this year is to donate what I don’t need.  I’m sick of being a procrastinator.

I don’t usually have garage sales, although I love going to them. I’ve only been involved in a couple of them over the years and I had to haul everything about 30 miles, set it up, and haul home what didn’t sell. It’s just a whole lot easier for me to just donate thing I don’t need or want any more.
       
I now have a blue plastic tote sitting in a closet to hold the donations.  As I find things I don’t need any more, I put them in the tote, whether it be it an item of clothing, a set of bowls, pots, pans, whatever it happens to be. And when the tote is full, off it goes! My ‘blessings’ will be shared with someone else.  And best of all, my kids won’t have to deal with the excess on down the road.
       
Years ago, when I wrote the original piece, a friend of a friend had shared that she was gifting her excess blessings to a battered women’s shelter.  They help women and children start over again in an apartment or home, and sadly, too many times, they left with just the clothes on their backs. They have nothing and need everything!
     
This little here gal packed bedding, kitchen items, toys and clothing in plastic totes and donated the tote and the contents. It’s a wonderful way to start off the New Year and share your blessings  at the same time.
                      
Give it a try and enjoy the results!
                                                                    
–Till next month,
Paula


Paula Vogelgesang, the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory. Email her at pennywise@gwtc.netPlease be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.