Thanksgiving In The Trash?

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

*     *     *     *     *

Can you think of something you’ve disposed of recently? What did it make you thankful for?