This is the season when many of us are starting to declutter, especially after the long winter and the even longer Covid shut down. I began with my sock drawer. You have to start somewhere, and I always think the smaller the better. That little drawer had been so stuffed I can’t remember ever seeing the bottom of it. Lately, I’ve been unable to recycle my supply, always drawing off the top which of course are the ones most recently washed. As what often happens in these projects, one thing lead to another, one drawer lead to another, and, then the closet and before I knew it, the floor was covered with piles of clothes and the day was nearly over.

There were a couple of things that kept me going all throughout a pretty nice Pittsburgh weather day (besides my attention intensity disorder). The first was a notice I’d received to donate my pre-loved clothing items to a young friend Taylor Couch’s new business, Style for Good. Taylor and her partner Sara as style enthusiasts help clients develop sustainable habits of style that support their mental health and the world. Their motto – Feel good. Look good. For good!  

So rather than tossing items into a trash bag–they are my treasures, not trash, I carefully filled shopping bags with color coordinated items that gave me much pleasure when I wore them. I noted how much fun it was to let go of them, imagining what Taylor and Sara might come up with using some of my treasures as raw materials for their creative imaginations.

As my project was winding down, I began looking at the notes and greeting cards that I had tucked in the back of the sock drawer. I wasn’t surprised to find those items there. It’s an old habit of mine when I have something that seems too important to throw away, I place it there out of sight/out of mind. One envelope marked “new furniture fund” contained a couple of bills, one a currency from another country where I must have traveled, and the other a US $100 bill.

I have no memory of the person I was when I did this, but I’m sure it was one of the mes I used to be. 
The most precious discovery of all turned out to be the dozens of greeting cards I do remember placing there throughout the years. Signed cards with personal messages from friends and family members, grandchildren now grown up, most others now deceased. The occasions they celebrated were birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s or Mother’s days, or thank you notes in appreciation for something I’d done. Reaching for the “sacred tissues” as we call them in my women’s group, I was nearly overcome by gratitude for the energy of love still emanating from these reminders of my past relationships–messages treasured more now than when I’d received them and placed them there.     

It’s springtime, Pittsburgh! Time to refresh your closets. Donate your preloved clothes in-person April 10-11, then shop online in our curated Swap Shop starting April 19. Proceeds benefit Big Storm Performance Collaborative and local thrift shop partners.