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See my Dad there on the left in this 1968 photo? He is proudly wearing his grey wool Loden Brand coat made in Germany with hand crafted leather buttons. Bought it in Canada on a ski trip before he met my Mom…maybe mid to late 1950’s. I inherited it  – OK I acquired it – when my Dad died to have as a sweet memory of him. I wore it a few times on bitter winter days and in spite of the oversized fit, it was comforting to experience a physical memory of  my Dad (excuse me while I get a tissue – OK I’m back) and to remember the exact day of this photo. See also my Grandma and Grandpa Skarie (Nettie and Oscar), and my darling brother being his best and most fun self – odd that I am often “blamed” for being the weird one in the family – haha! I’ve made sure my sis-in-law has seen this pic. Anyway….

Letting go of material things can be hard – clothing, books, knick-knacks, papers, photos, letters – especially when there is a loving and positive memory associated. Anything I keep, as I continue to declutter and downsize, has to be Beautiful, Useful and Meaningful – ideally all three elements in place, but I have kept things that meet 2 out of the 3. Why keep anything that is ugly, sits there and brings a bad memory? Let me come over and help you shred.

This coat was tough to release. For years (decades) I would wear it a day or two then it would hang in my closet, so it could not really meet the Useful criteria. I had it in and out of my car to donate several times – always  bringing it back in. Even once I found this photo and made a few copies, I had a hard time letting it go. Was it Beautiful ? To me of course yes, but it wasn’t really the right kind of coat for me, especially when I had 3 others to choose from that were a much better fit and style. It was indeed Meaningful but more and more, I knew that someone in Rochester on a bitter winter day could really use it – even more meaningful.

60 some years later from Dad’s original purchase, I finally released the coat with love to the Open Door Mission. I tucked a copy of the photo with a note about my Dad on the back and God’s blessings for the new owner.  I no longer have the coat, but I have the memory intact and hopefully someone is warmer because of it.

Is it time for you to release something? Maybe a coat or two? Boots and hats? Winter clothing and boots are on sale right now so maybe as you treat yourself to something you can let go something old. I donated most of my coats late last summer when I was sure I was moving to FL by the Winter – I am still here. I released another wool coat and a very warm hooded parka – kept a lightweight but warm puffy coat (thanks Mom!), one long dress coat with a removable lining, a windbreaker and 2 other spring/summer jackets.

Spring will be here soon – so start your Spring Clean early with your unworn winter stuff! Maybe use Leap Day, 2/29/16 as a Launch Day?! Any winter items you have not worn yet this winter will probably not be worn at all so let someone else use them. Winter items are still needed – it’s easy to forget at this time of year, I know – but can you live with one less coat, pair of boots, sweater, hat, or gloves???!!! My charity of choice for donations is the Open Door Mission in Rochester, NY – what’s yours?

By the way, the ODM always needs food too so since you will be in giving mode, pick up a few extra things on your next shopping trip if you can…ODM list here – ask your local food bank what their specific needs are:

Coffee, Sugar, Butter, Salad Dressing, Condiments, Tea, Drink Mix, Cooking Spray, Ham (frozen), Potatoes, Yams, and Brown Sugar. I bought the full set and spent $28.49, but you could decide what and how much. Drop off any donation at 156 Plymouth Avenue North, Rochester, NY 14608. Thank you!

What is keeping you from letting go?

Oh and check out my Good Day Rochester spot on this topic – Tuesday, 2/23 at 8:20am EST on FoxRochester!

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin

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