I have a wonderful sister. She’s four years younger than me. (We have an awesome brother in between us too.) She lives here in Athens with me and we are great friends. Though we share many values and love many of the same things…we are definitely different when it comes to organizing. Me….the organizer from birth and she…well let’s just say she won’t ever have a blog named “Neat & Pretty”. We shared a room for a good portion of our lives. We have many fond memories during those years of living in the same quarters. I remember us falling asleep while listening to my favorite love song on my cassette player (different songs depending on what boy I was in love with that year). I remember her stealing my clothes and pretending she’d left a note for me asking for permission. I remember me making her rub my back and promising to rub hers but falling asleep before it was her turn. Ok…maybe those aren’t all fond memories for both of us. 🙂 She likes to tell people about how I traumatized her as a child with my organizing.
Little sisters get hand me downs. It’s just the way things go. And our relationship was no exception. When I was tired of a purse, a notebook or a junky toy…I would ask my sister if she wanted it before I threw it out, She ALWAYS said yes. She didn’t always need what I was handing down. She didn’t really care. She just said yes. So, every few months when I was in a mood to clean our shared room, I would “help” her clean out her desk. This meant getting a big trash bag and me pulling things out of her desk and inquiring about their use. “Do you play with this toy?” “Why do you have this used journal?” “Do you really need 5 pencils without lead?” Little by little we would purge a trash bag out of our room and move back into the regular routine of life.
My sister will tell this story rather dramatically and even suggest that I traumatized her with these “clean up sessions”. I would suggest that I was keeping her from turning into a hoarder. But the greater thing to learn from this sisterly love lesson is that when we give our unwanted stuff to others it doesn’t always help them. We might be weighing them down more than we realize. Maybe your friend will take all your kids clothing hand me downs but maybe she doesn’t actually want or need them. Your generosity is actually turning into a problem for her. Consider carefully what you do with things that are leaving your home. Make sure they are going to the right place where they will be loved and not create bitter feelings.