Friday, November 20, 2009

One Man's Trash...

I went upstairs this morning with a heavy duty trash bag and opened up my standing dresser to find some rummage to give to the Vietnam Veterans of America.  Groups like the V.V.A. and Purple Heart call us at least once a week in search of our old clothes, books, shes and appliances, and more often than not, we manage to find some stuff for them. 

What's amazing to me is that we never seem to run out of stuff we really no longer want.  My dresser was literally bursting with clothes- it had been a while since I had cleaned it out.  By the time I was done, I had literally stuffed half of the dresser's contents into the bag to be given away. 

I don't know why I was holding onto to probably a dozen sweaters that hadn't been worn in five years or more.  I gave away a couple of perfectly good pair of sweat pants.  There was nothing wrong with them, except for the fact that I haven't worn them in years.  You know the routine... You get a couple of new pair for Christmas, and the old ones suddenly get shoved to the back.

My weight has been known to rise and fall over the years.  That, no doubt explains why I have at least a half-dozen pair of khaki shorts in assorted sizes... Or at least I did.  If I ever get that small again, I'll reward myself with a new pair. 

After I finished with the dresser, I went into my closet and examined the bar that is drooping with shirts and pants.  I suddenly found my enthusiasm waning at the thought of wading through that morass, and immediately decided that chore could wait until the next time - which should be any day now. 

Do you ever wonder whatever happens to all that stuff you give away?  Some of it goes to rummage stores, but much of it - especially the clothing - gets sold in bulk by the pound to be recycled into rags and for other industrial uses.  Ten years ago as a news reporter, I visited Rocky Mount, North Carolina to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, which devastated that town.  As people across the country responded to the disaster, the town was INUNDATED with old clothing. Tractor trailers full of it.  Perhaps five percent of it was used by the townspeople, with the rest piled ceiling-high in a warehouse.  It really became more of a liability than a help. So the next time you want to respond to a disaster, keep that in mind and write a check! 

As for your rummage, save that for the folks at Goodwill and Purple Heart.  I am always more than happy to take a tax write-off for my junk, but I'm even happier to have more room in my dresser and closet! 

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