I mentioned last week in “Musings on children’s birthday parties” that my plan was to bake my son a Dinosaur Train cake for his first birthday. Now that the cake has been made, I no longer have a need for the train-shaped cake pans.
A small, sentimental part of me thought I might keep the cake pans. My friend Julie and I even came up with more than 25 things I could do with the pans if I decided to keep them — everything from jello and ice molds to flower pots and bird baths. Since my storage space is very limited in my kitchen cupboard, though, I knew keeping them would be difficult.
Before I made my final decision about what to do with the cake pans, I made a pact with myself to see if someone else I know might need them. I put a message up on Twitter and on Facebook to see if any of my friends could use them. I decided that if someone else needed them before me, I would give them away without hesitation.
Seconds after I posted my message on Twitter, I got a response from my friend Nanette saying that her nephew had an upcoming birthday and she would love to make him a train cake. Tomorrow, the cake pans are going to Nanette and they will make an awesome cake for another little boy.
This uncluttering process has me asking the question, “Will someone be able to use this before I do?” about a number of items in my home. I ended up giving a pair of hand-tooled leather boots to a friend because I realized by the time I can wear tight-fitting shoes again (if ever), the boots won’t be in style. If I give them to her, at least she can wear and enjoy them now. I passed along a tent to a friend who regularly goes camping. And, my painting supplies went to a colleague’s wife who is an artist and will use them well before I “find” the time.
This question is best asked of things you’re storing and using extremely infrequently. Check your long-term storage spaces and see if there are things others might be able to use before you do. If so, consider getting these things out of your home and into the arms of someone who could actually use them with regularity.