The holidays are here. Many of us know that means gifts of new clothing and toys for adults and kids alike. Being a very material based culture, we tend to accumulate and hold on to things for years, even if they are outdated or don’t fit anymore, letting it become untouched clutter.
It can be found in the form of old cell phones, outdated chargers, clothing pushed to the back of a closet and shoes you never really liked in the first place. Is it out of nostalgia? Insecurity? Absolute laziness? For some it’s a disease, but for most of us it’s just something we neglect to address.
Some of us leave clearing out the old to make space for the new to “spring cleaning,” a time to declutter and purge our homes and lives. But that is not enough. We are collecting and replacing all of the time, so instead of a once a year effort, you could be a year round harbinger of order to your home and joy to others in need.
The 5 Ws of Donation
Who and Where?
There are many reputable places to donate to, your first task is to find them. Stick to local donation sites that have a strong background in charity and represent themselves clearly.
Look into what they do with your donations and who they support. Choosing a charity that aligns with your personal leanings will not only benefit something you believe in, but also motivate you to get donating.
When your going through your closets and drawers, the first thing you need to assess is the condition of the items. The term gently used is most often referring to items you could still use or wear but don’t, or things you and your family have grown out of.
This does not include old socks, torn clothing, worn through shoes and broken home goods. The people at the center you donate to have to go through everything that comes in, and giving away subpar goods is just wasting their time.
One way to determine what should go is by turning all of your hangers around at once, and then as you wear things, hang them up the other way. At the end of a set period of time, it becomes obvious what you could live without.
Electronics and knick knacks can go any time you replace or no longer need them, but when it comes to clothes, time your donations with the changing seasons. For example, it’s helpful to donate an older winter coat a bit before the weather gets cold to meet the needs of your chosen donation center.
Beyond the fact that you’ll be able to see everything in your closet and make room for new additions, you are also helping people not as fortunate as you are without asking for or expecting any return.
Your anonymous gift can make the difference by clothing someone in need, or once sold support the funding of local hospitals. The small amount of time it takes to gather and donate the things you don’t need is miniscule compared to the reward of helping others.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Annalise Proctor is an avid blogger with a long-time interest in DIY and green household solutions. Among other publications, she writes cleaning tips and tricks for the Denver Cleaning Service blog.