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The GiveAway Project - User Testimonials

Kevin Towell reports from Stroud, Gloucestershire (UK) of a practical and spiritual uplift from giving away his spare belongings:

Part of the Bhuddist philosophy entails non-posessing. Letting thoughts, feelings, perceptions and things come and go as they will without grasping at them. This is the philosophy of "less is more". When one has let go of fear, anger, worry, ambition, lust, greed and all the other junk that gets in the way, what remains is the light at the center of life.

The everyday world in the home (if you are fortunate enough to have a home) is a reflection of the inner world. A home full of unused, unvalued and chaotic posessions is a reflection of inner turmoil and a tendencey to cling onto things that are merely unloved burdens, though they may be of value to others.

Fancy theories aside, sometimes you just have to tidy. About a month ago I was pottering in my junk-filled garage wondering where to put some tat. The shed was full of tat, the attic too. My bedroom/office/workshop was knee deep, and it did not end there. Piles of paperwork and old correspondance were on the dining room table, and the disease was spreading to my parents spaces in our shared house too, causing disharmony and irritation. Chaos reigned.

That day I just freaked, and said to myself it all has to go!!!. That very night I started to put a few things tidy, and for my efforts my grumpy father suggested that it was too late to be doing anything noisy as he had to be up early in the morning. This initial setback strengthened my resolve, so over the next few weeks I made it my mission to painstakingly go through my every single posession and give away everything that was not in use.

I have lived in the same place for many years, and in that time I have been a motorcycle mechanic, a computer fixing/recycling guru and a general scavenger. Stuff just collects. Piles of it. Computers, bits of computers, tools, bits of motorbikes, random stuff that people give me. books, clothes etc etc. All to be sorted out, all to be let go of.

All the real unusable junk has gone to our local recycling facility, but I made a point of giving the usable stuff to whoever could make the best use of it. A spare mobile phone and a laptop computer I gave so Sharon and Jim from my church, a fax machine to a local drama group. A printer to my friend Chris and a stereo system to the chap who runs a local used-car dealership. That was kind of hard to give away as it was many hundreds of pounds when I bought it 10 years ago, but I figured what the hell, all the wires were too untidy so it had to go. Let go, let go.

Two sacks of spare clean clothes I gave away to my homeless friends who come to a drop-in center our church are involved in running. We did a pretend-shop with it, great fun and wonderful to see people wearing and using things which had been idle and unused for so long in my overcrowded life. Books were given away too, along with loads and loads of other stuff. It was a great feeling to give things away to people who wanted or needed them, re-use is the best form of recycling and giving things away as gifts is a fantastic community-building exercise.

In return for one of my unwanted posessions my friend Simon gave me one of his, some unused exercise equipment which was just what I needed myself. Sorting out all my posessions in detail allowed me to re-discover with delight some useful things I thought were lost, and examine in more detail some things which I had never paid much attention too. A digital camera, given to me as "broken" turned out to work fine, despite having been run over by a car. That happened to be exactly what a friend was looking for, so a good home was found for it immediatly.

By sorting and tidying I have been able to give welcome gifts to many people, and for myself I feel a great sense of order, space and freedom now in my home where before I was opressed by clutter and confusion. I can look with joy over vast empty spaces of virgin shelves, draws and cupboards where once there was the desolation of posession. By letting go of my surplus I have helped many others and made an enormous gain in space and freedom, a burden has dropped from my shoulders and my heart.

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