Last month I began cleaning out the basement by removing mildewed items from a cabinet. This month I moved to the next room over, where I've been slowly emptying a large catch-all closet. I've spent one day each week removing things, cleaning anything that could be salvaged, and getting rid of the things we don't need any more.
Last week it was all about the board games. Most of them hadn't been played in years. I wiped all the cardboard down with a damp rag dipped in bleach water, made sure all the pieces were there, and taped the broken boxes back together. I took a large bag of things to the St. Vincent de Paul store and emailed a friend who volunteers at a school in the city, asking if she'd like to come look at what I had. She would. The next day she came and left with a banana box full of games, as well as a produce bag of small toys and trinkets that would be good for student incentives.
Yesterday I returned to the job and pulled more things out of the closet. When I was finished I'd removed two boxes of mixed toy parts, a box of old video games, a bucket of cars and trucks, a stack of large baskets, and several sets of luggage. This time I brought everything up to the kitchen sink to clean them, then I laid the things out to dry. When I was done one entire corner of the kitchen floor had toys drying on top of beach towels. A hard-sided train case (part of a matched set of luggage I got for a wedding present) was hanging upside down on the widow seat. The other two pieces of the set were standing on their sides in the laundry room.
The video games were piled on the kitchen table so Son Donald could go through them. He didn't want any of them, but called a friend to come get a nice big stack, and sent a text to a work associate to see if he wanted some of the others. My friend got another email asking if she wanted more trinkets. This morning I nestled the pieces of luggage together and put them in my car, along with a box of miscellaneous items. When I was out today I dropped them off at the thrift store. If I keep donating things at this rate, they'll probably start calling me by name!
The only things left in the 10-foot long closet are the folding chairs we pull out at the holidays, and the luggage we use when we travel. The rest of the area is bare. I'm determined not to fill the closet up again, although we'll see what happens next time I have something I don't know what to do with.