This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, one of the best holidays of the year. Most people are either traveling (get tips here) or hosting a meal (get tips here). Still, the main purpose of the day is to set aside some intentional time for the purpose of giving thanks. This is a wonderful exercise, as gratitude reminds us of our blessings and renews our joy.
Possessions can serve a helpful role in cultivating gratitude: a souvenir makes us grateful for a wonderful vacation, a handwritten note evokes appreciation for friendship and a dishwasher makes us thankful for modern technology. If you can’t think of something to be thankful for, glance around your home and you will probably come up with an idea or two.
One place you might not think to look is in the trash. After all, the things we throw away or recycle are items we no longer need, use or want. In addition, most people don’t particularly enjoy digging through a trash can for obvious reasons. However, the truth is that even items we no longer want can prompt thankfulness. As a professional organizer, I highly commend the process of shedding anything that isn’t adding value to your life. Nevertheless, as you toss an item into the trash or recycle bin this week, take a moment to give thanks for whatever good thing that object represents. Not sure what I mean? Here are just a few examples:
When You Toss…. Be Thankful For….
Potato peelings Food and nourishment
Broken toys Childhood, and the innocence of this special stage
Grungy sports shoes The opportunity to have been on a team or taken a class
A cracked cell phone Technology and the ability to communicate
Yellowed paperbacks Literacy
An old Christmas card Relationships
Empty boxes The excitement of having received something new
Used medicine bottles Doctors and medical care
Pants that don’t fit Growth and change… and having clothes that do fit
An old textbook Access to education
An old meeting agenda Employment
Bags of leaves Nature’s bounty and beauty
An empty toothpaste tube Teeth and the ability to chew
Junk mail Access to needed items and services
Broken pens or markers Creativity and imagination
A dirty paper coffee cup Warm drinks on cold mornings
Tangled cables and cords Electricity and the devices that require it
Something the dog chewed Pets and the way they enrich our lives
An empty toilet paper roll Sanitary facilities
Cassette tapes Music and the way it touches the soul
Burnt up candles Intimacy and celebratory moments
Empty water bottles Access to clean drinking water
Torn/blurry photos Life
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Can you think of something you’ve disposed of recently? What did it make you thankful for?