Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Nissan 5765 - April 13, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

One Man's Treasure - One Man's Trash
by Raizel Foner

It is still not too late to combine your final cleaning with weeding through your possessions. Things you no longer need because you already have so/too many of them — small tablecloths, for example, or things that require too much of an investment in their upkeep (handwash or dry-clean-only clothing for children) or items that are physically outgrown - - trousers, dresses, bikes, or mentally outgrown — toys, books, can be passed along to friends, neighbors, relatives or gemachs to enjoy.

Add to the give-away list gifts received that just aren't your taste or size (and remember, of course, to remove the gift card). Household furnishings that you've benefitted from for years but that you are tiring of (what a rich generation we live in!) should not be thrown away. Pass them along to someone else who'll use those curtains, pictures or sofa cover to add a new look to their own apartment.

My oldest daughter had a relatively expensive bookbag which we bought her when she started high school. Now that she's long graduated and the next daughter won't be going to high school for a number of years, should we hold on to the bookbag and let it occupy needed space? My opinion is that if we think of others who could get use out of something that we're not using, let them have it. And perhaps, in merit of our generosity, when we need something, Hashem will arrange for us to get it. Besides, styles do change and what an older child was thrilled with, a younger child might disdain a few years from now. As a mother of a nice size family with limited space, my motto is, "Keep what you need and quickly dispose of what you don't." [Ed. At the gemach, they say: When in doubt - throw it out!]

The "Things that Have Seen Better Days" category, but which you are hanging on to for sentimental reasons, can benefit from an outsider's critical review. Sometimes, their eyes can see more clearly that what's taking up room in your closets is in pretty awful condition.

Mom once sewed me a baby quilt, combining squares from Grandma's rose blanket, her own summer dress which she wore during my childhood, and pieces from my wedding gown. A number of my children warmed themselves with that baby quilt and, you guessed it, the thing was starting to look tattered.

"Get rid of it," Mom advised.

"But it's got THREE GENERATIONS worth in it!" I pleaded.

Mom held up the quilt. "Here, take a picture," she said. So now I've got a photo of Mom holding the quilt, and it sure does take up less room.

A variation of this idea I've heard of is to write in a notebook a description of the (worn and torn) item: size, dimensions, color, design, material and from whom it was received, and then toss out the item. The notebook takes up far less room than the listed items.

The advantage of transferring time or space consuming possessions from your house, aside from the chessed of giving to others, is the extra room you'll have in your home and the freedom from `extras' which clutter our lives.

Now, onto a more controversial topic: getting rid of our children's treasures/trash. Of course, we're not going to take Shevi's most beloved doll, but what about those tiny pieces of plaything that always seem to be drifting into every corner of the house? A mother gets awfully tired of picking up those stray cards from various games time and again.

This year I finally gathered up all the cards and put them in a giveaway bag. We probably haven't played with those cards in years, but it seems like every week I'd be picking up a few from the floor and stuffing them back into their box.

Be sure not to throw away toys in a punitive way, and don't go too overboard, totally cleaning out every trinket and toy. School projects from years back can be discreetly made to disappear as well. If you're too tenderhearted to throw away your child's very own artwork, well, you can always send it to Grandma - or describe it in that notebook we mentioned before.

And when you get too many notebooks, you can eventually toss them away, too.


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