Charity Closet Cleanout
Lily heaved a sigh, and began digging through the depths of the family closet. The Charity Closet was open, and was hosting a donation drive to raise funds. She wanted to donate a lot of her unused clothing, especially as a lot of it were items that didn't even belong to her. “What IS all this stuff still doing here, anyways?” she muttered as she worked, holding up a pair of Christmas Blumaroo earrings, then wrinkling her nose at a rather large pile of Aisha collars, including a Chocolate one and a Ghost one. “I thought Mum dealt with all of this back when we had the fosters here all the time....”
"MUM!" Lily bellowed, tossing aside piles of Usul headbands and a pair of Lenny sandals (Desert ones, to be specific).
"What is it, dear?" Lily's mom poked her head into the room, brow furrowing as she noticed the piles of clothing scattered in all directions.
"Why do we still have all this stuff? We haven't had foster siblings here in AGES. Can we donate it? I mean, there IS that donation drive happening..."
Sighing, Lily's mum pushed aside a pile of Acara collars and tried to sit on the bed. "Lily, love, you know that when we took in foster siblings, that we knew we'd get stuck with a lot of extra accessories and clothing. I know sometimes it makes it harder for you and your cousins and siblings to find things, but that's just the way it works, dear."
"But why?" Lily held up a pair of Christmas Quiggle trousers and rolled her eyes. "Why can't we donate THESE to the drive?"
"Because, dear, those are what are called "paint brush clothes". The closet can hold them, but we can't ever get rid of them. Believe me, there are some things in there I just wish could go to someone else in need. Especially the baby things...." Lily's mum fondled a Baby Acara bib for a brief moment, setting it aside.
"We should ask Granny Hopbobbin about them when we go to the drive. I bet she would find a way to make them usuable..." Lily started eagerly digging through the pile now. "What if we make two piles? One for donating now, and then another one for all these....whatsitcalled....paint brush clothes. That way if Granny figures out a way to use them, we can take them out of here at last!"
Smiling, Lily's mum got up and nodded. "That sounds like a wonderful idea, dear. You go ahead and get started. I'll make us some sandwiches."
As her mum left, Lily stood up and stretched, looking around the room. With a fresh smile, she began to gather all the scattered items, making one large heap. Satisfied, she began to pull items out one by one, sorting them into one of three piles. “Keep, donate....and oh yeah, these Paint Brush clothes,” she muttered to herself as she worked.
Time ticked by quickly at first, helped along by a plate of delicious Purplum and Cheese sandwiches, washed down with Pink Lemonade Slushies. Lily's mum even helped by making sure the clothes were folded nicely, and the accessories like the Acara collars didn't topple the piles.
Lily groaned, struggling to pull out a pile of Robot Grarrl casings, lugging them into the paint brush pile of clothing. “Wow, Mum. These are taking up wayyyyy too much room! I really wish we didn't have to leave them in here once we're done...”
Her mum nodded. “Me too, dear. I love having foster siblings for you, and helping them find forever homes, but I didn't realize just how many old items we have in here....we really should start talking to our fellow Neopians and see what we can do about it. Especially with this donation drive going on.”
As the pair worked, the pile of items to donate grew significantly, with the unusable paint brush clothes getting quite the pile of their own. Both mother and daughter could not believe just how many former foster siblings had been a part of their lives, and both expressed multiple desires to be able to let the clothing get a new life of its own.
By the end of the afternoon, as Lily worked to put away the items she wished to keep, and the ones she knew would get used by other members of her family, Lily became determined to find a way to resolve what she had rapidly declared the “Closet PB Conundrum”. Her mum smiled as she watched her daughter's features light up as she rambled about possible solutions, wondering who all in town would be able to help.
“You've done wonderfully today, my Lily,” her mum said as they worked together to stuff all of the unusuable paint brush items back into the depths of the closet. “Look at all the items we can take down to the Charity Corner drive today!”
“I'm so excited, Mum....the Community Hall is such a wonderful idea and I'm sure there are plenty of Neopians out there who could use it.” Lily folded a few sweaters, storing them away for her brothers to use. “And it would be even bigger if they could use all this other stuff....” she added, motioning to the pile of items stuffed towards the back.
“Oh believe me, Lily, we're going to work on that. It's a problem that I'd never really worried about until now. I always thought I had plenty of room for all of our other clothing and accessories, so why worry about a few dozen fosters' items....I didn't realize that a few dozen here and a few dozen there really added up over the years.” Lily's mum sat down, fanning herself a bit, having grown warm with the effort of finding new places for everything. “I'm so glad I have you around to help me with tasks like this.”
Smiling, both mother and daughter finished up the last of the putting-away, then gathered up armfuls of donatable items and bagging them up to take down to the item drive, looking forward to sharing their ideas and finding a way to make those unusuable paint brush items usuable for all Neopians, especially the ones in need.
As the pair loaded up the bags and prepared to head down to the donation drive, Lily began mentally rehearsing what she would say and what she would ask. She really hoped to be able to make a difference, or at least get 'the ball rolling' as her mum often put it, on finding a use at last for all the clothing and accessories that had belonged to the many foster siblings her mum had housed and cared for over the years.
Lily's mum noticed the look of concentration on her daughter's face, and wisely left her alone as they made their way to where the townsfolks were gathered with armloads and armloads of donatable goods. It was crowded, but everyone looked to be in cheerful moods as they sorted items out, handing them over in batches of five to the staff in charge of collecting all the goods.
“Ready?” Lily's mum asked as she and Lily each gathered up a couple of bags.
“Yep. Let's go make something great happen. Not just with these clothes, but with all the other ones still at home in the closet.” Lily grinned and made her way towards the line at last. After all, that was the whole reason for the task to begin with. Charity, kindness, and helping one another, while at the same time making sure that they shared their own excesses with those who needed them.