There are plenty of things in our house that need to be sorted through and discarded or given away, but there are times when it’s just as well we don’t get rid of things too quickly.

For example, there’s the surgical boot I clumped around in some years back after I broke my right foot and ankle when I stepped in a hole. I remember hearing someone who was wearing a similar contraption say he planned to toss his boot into the trash as soon as he was done using it. That seemed like a reasonable plan, but I put mine into a garbage bag and stored it in the same bedroom closet where I put my crutches.

They actually came in handy when my niece injured her ankle some time back. I first delivered a cane and the crutches and later she asked if, by chance, I still had the surgical boot. I did and she used that too.

When the boot and crutches were returned, I stored them in the closet once again.

I used the crutches a little bit after I stumbled over my shoe a few days after Thanksgiving and injured my left foot while lurching around and trying to stay upright. The pain didn’t seem too bad at first, but after a sleepless night with a throbbing foot, I decided I’d better get it checked out. An x-ray showed it wasn’t broken, likely just sprained and I was given a surgical shoe and advised to take over- the-counter medication for the pain and inflammation.

Somehow that rather obvious solution had not crossed my mind.

Anyway, I hunted up a bottle of ibuprofen when I got home and took one. The bottle had likely been around for a couple of years or more.

"Hopefully it still has some kick," I told my next-younger sister when she came for supper that night.

"Hopefully," she said, although she sounded rather doubtful.

Anyway, it did seem to help and I used the boot for awhile.

The week I injured my foot seemed to be a big week for accidents in our family. One of my great-nieces totaled her car and my sister received a call from her younger daughter saying she had fallen off a chair and broken her right arm, which was not a great situation with a toddler running around. My sister made a trip out to spend a night and provide some assistance.

By the time Christmas arrived we were all doing OK. My niece was on the mend and I was getting around all right in regular shoes despite an occasional twinge.

Then came my next-younger sister’s mishap on her cellar stairs the Saturday after Christmas.

I brought my crutches and my mother’s cane to her house that night. The following day she asked if I still had the boot and was it for a right foot. Out came the boot again and she strapped it on so she’d have some support when we took her to Urgent Care to find out what the damages were.

Before she left there she’d had her foot and ankle x-rayed and the people there had given her a new surgical boot and given her some instructions on getting around with crutches.

After she was settled at home, my youngest sister and I took headed home with my old boot in tow. I put it and the left-footed surgical shoe into a trash bag and stored it in my closet.

They might come in handy again someday.

Donna Thompson is the trends editor of the Times Telegram. Email her at donna@timestelegram.com or call her at 315-866-2220.