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Your trash may be someone's treasure
Keep Liberty County Beautiful
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I always start sorting out closets and cabinets at this time of year. I guess I’m trying to follow through on that annual New Year’s resolution to get organized.
“Organized” usually means sorting and reducing the amount of “stuff” I have. I am a packrat. I always have been and I am often afraid I always will be. Obviously, I’m not the only one who needs to attend Disorganized Anonymous meetings because the “get organized” resolution is almost as popular as the “lose weight” one.
At any rate, as I begin the annual process of sorting and purging my overwhelming amount of stuff, I try to keep in mind that many of my items are in excellent shape. Often, the things I do not need are things that could be quite useful to someone else.
I am sure you have that same thought when you are cleaning out closets. Unfortunately, for those of us who are “addicted to stuff,” that thought often slows us down or stops us completely in the clean-up process. It is incomprehensible to us to throw out perfectly good stuff.
The solution is to recycle your stuff by finding an organization, group or even a friend who would benefit from the items you have.
Clothes and shoes are often clutter culprits. I have numerous pieces of clothing that have been hardly worn and could be used by others. I also have a lot of shoes I can’t wear since I realized the bone spurs that trouble me do not jive with high heels or even flats.
The Manna House, Goodwill and local shelters can always benefit from donated clothing and shoes in good condition. Good condition means not stained, torn or worn looking.
If you have clothes from another era (read: out of fashion), find a vintage store that can re-sell them.
The point is, don’t automatically toss your items in the trash. Find a good home for your strays. If your stuff is in good shape, there probably is someone out there who would love to have it. We tend to buy too much stuff and then we tend to throw too much stuff away. My husband will vouch for the fact that I have been one of the worst offenders when it comes to buying too much over the years.
It is true, but I’m much better now. I did not have to go to rehab to cure my problem, however I did buy a tiny two-seater car with no back seat and virtually nonexistent trunk. I can still shop, but I can’t buy more than I can haul home. Who would have thought a car could help me learn how to “reduce” as part of the “reduce-reuse-recycle” pledge? Whatever works for you, right?
The last thing to remember is that while you are sorting, go on and load up all those things — such as ink cartridges, old cell phones and electronics — that you have been meaning to recycle. Just think how much extra storage room you will have. We are currently collecting phone books for recycling and we will have a Recycle It! Fair in February to collect so many of those miscellaneous items I just mentioned.
So start sorting now. You can count all the stuff that you donate and recycle toward both of those infamous resolutions: get organized and lose weight (because at least your house will have lost the weight of all that stuff).

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
• Through Feb. 15, telephone book recycling. Several drop-off locations for phone books and large catalogs will be available around the county. For more information, contact Keep Liberty County Beautiful at 368-4888 or
• Through Feb. 11, live oak photo competition and exhibit. Entry information available at and
• Jan. 29 at noon: Progress Through People Luncheon. The discussion topic will be the value of urban forestry for businesses. For information, call 368-4888 or 368-4445.

Swida is the executive director of Keep Liberty County Beautiful. For more information, contact her at 368-4888 or
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