Apr 17

How I helped 17 stray pets get warm with a 30-minute closet cleaning.


If I’d known how good it feels to give to the local animal shelter –

I would have done this years ago!

I’m talking about towels…and the 17 extras stuffed in my closet. I knew we had more than we needed.  I knew one of these days I’d get it organized. Unfortunately, it took two major events…one being a loss…to finally do it.

I’m writing this so you don’t need the same kick I did.

It took Mom and the master bath to get started.

Between my mother’s passing and our bathroom re-model, I had to face ‘stuff’ I didn’t even know existed.

My mother, down-sized to a studio apartment in assisted living, still managed to hang onto eight pairs of scissors and four staplers.  After 24 years in the same home, our small bathroom contained duplicates (even triplicates) of things like soaps, boxes of Band Aids and nail clippers.

Notice the terms “studio apartment” and “small bathroom.” This should tell you we don’t live big. Yet even limited storage holds lots of “stuff.” (Who knew there was so much room?) And why didn’t I see some of these things before I purchased more?

Sorting through Mom’s possessions took two days and our ‘new’ bathroom now contains about half as many things as the ‘old’ one did.

What an awakening…and as a result…17 shelter pets got some comfort. (Donated during a rainy December made it feel even better!)

It starts with opening the closet door.

Needless to say, I’m not a shopper. Houses with 3-car garages stuffed to the ceiling make me cringe. We park both cars in our garage and yes; the third bay does have some stuff.  But there’s still room to walk around!

It’s just that now I’m looking at my home (and life) differently. Finding so many extra things in my bath room perked my interest in the rest of the house. What other surprises did we have stashed away?

As it turned out, the towel closet had plenty.

“But I know I’ll use it sometime!”

Eliminating towels is tough. Here’s the psychology…

The ones in good shape will eventually get used. Faded or ratty ones, too ugly for Good Will and Salvation Army, can be used as rags – just not yet! So you hold on to all of them and over time…they find their way to the deepest, darkest corners only to be forgotten.

Once I started sorting, it took the space of a queen-sized bed to get them all laid out.  What a surprise!

We still had two from a wedding gift – never used. Then there were the odd sizes, odd colors, and leftovers from who knows where. As the ‘donation’ pile mounted, I had to start a second one. I’m still amazed at how many extras I had.

Helping others is the best gift to yourself.

Some of the towels were easy to let go. Ones received as presents were harder because it felt disloyal. The other hurdle was the belief I’d use them ‘some day.’

Thinking about who stands to benefit makes it easy. Shelter animals don’t care if the towels are new, knobby or frayed. They just want to be warm…especially in December.The surprise is how less stuff can feel so good.

Being organized is freedom! Knowing what you do own puts you in control…and that’s priceless.

Now I can’t wait to get to the pantry!

P.S. Need some help getting started? Check in with Andrea Brundage of Simple Organized Solutions for tips on how to make life easier. 


BecauseWomenCare is an interactive site for women who care for others and women on their own. Our goal is to offer information and resources to help women to stay in control of their busy lives and get the most out of each day. Visit our website at www.BecauseWomenCare.Com 

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1 comment

    • Maureen on May 9, 2017 at 9:24 am
    • Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s a win-win situation – we get a more organized space while homeless pets get a soft bed.

    You’ve inspired me to take a look at my own linen closet – as well as other overstuffed storage areas. There are so many groups who could use items I no longer use or need.

    It’s never too late for Spring Cleaning!!!

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