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Spring-cleaning, Leaside style – when your stuff has stuff

The arrival of spring brings to mind visions of “spring cleaning,” for me a somewhat dreaded and overwhelming task. Looking for some new inspiration I picked up a copy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, at the Trace Manes Library. The book is described as “a comprehensive, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections”. Kondo’s principle is simple. Put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it.

For the next few weeks I picked up the book when I had some time and energy to spare, opened it to a random topic and followed the instructions. It made a dull task manageable and fun, handling each item sparked a mixture of nostalgia and gratitude, and I had a lot of success letting go. The result? Numerous boxes filled with items to donate and a freshly organized drawer of happy socks!

The next challenge – how to find a good home for my cast-offs – so that my ‘trash’ might support a worthy cause by becoming someone else’s ‘treasure’ rather than ending its life in a landfill. Here are some of my favourites, all local and easily accessible on foot, by car or with the click of a mouse.

Leaside United Church’s Awesome Sale (822 Millwood Rd.) is held each spring and fall. There are 15 departments including: treasures and trinkets; books; clothing; linens; toys; furniture; small appliances; housewares; jewellery and others. Proceeds fund both church and outreach programs.

An Oasis Clothing Collection bin is located on McRae Drive near the tennis courts. Donations support the Oasis Addiction Recovery Society, and items are either given to participants in the programs who cannot afford simple necessities or sold to fund the programs.

Toronto Fire Station 321 supports two worthy causes. Non-perishable food donations to The Daily Bread Food Bank can be made 24 hours a day in the handy bin located outside their front door at 231 McRae Dr. (most local grocery stores also have food donation bins). And at Christmas, The Toronto Firefighters’ Toy Drive collects new unwrapped toys for children of all ages.

The Trace Manes Library accepts donated books/CDs/DVDs, which are then sold with proceeds going towards library programs and services. Items are accepted during branch open hours and must be in very good condition, less than five years old, popular fiction and nonfiction, English or French.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store, 60 Overlea Blvd. at Thorncliffe Park Drive is 100 per cent charity-based and generates funds to support programs and services that help residents in the Thorncliffe Park area. Donated clothing and other goods are efficiently and ethically recycled and sold to offer practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life.

And the Leaside Community Facebook site is a great way to buy, sell or donate items without leaving the comfort of your easy chair. I recently posted two items for a not so computer savvy friend who was moving, and both were picked up within a day. There is often a ‘bidding war,’ so you need to act quickly!

I’m sure many of you have other favourites which deserve mention and I’d love to hear from you so they can be featured. I hope I’ve inspired you to relish your spring cleaning this year. It’s good for the soul – and good for the planet!