“Hey Baby, I like a woman with some junk in the trunk.” Whoa! Okay no…that’s a different blog.
This tip refers to what to do with all that perfectly-good-but-no-longer-needed-by-you stuff filling up your closets, basements and garages. It’s time to give yourself some breathing room and those old clothes and household items a new home and second lives as useful items.
There are many great organizations out there that rely on the money they raise by selling your cast-offs to support programs and services for those in need. Yes, that ugly sweater Aunt Millie made you that never fit could actually help pay for schoolbooks for a needy child, drug and alcohol counseling for an addict, a prosthetic limb for a disabled veteran, or auto mechanic training for a homeless man trying to re-enter mainstream society. I think Aunt Millie would be thrilled, though she never has to know if you don’t tell her. In any case, I’m sure she never intended to give you a burden as a gift, so you shouldn’t allow it to become one out of a sense of misplaced guilt. You should feel guilty about selfishly keeping it hidden away in the closet collecting dust when it could be a vehicle for rehabilitation for someone less fortunate.
The best part of all is that the charities will do most of the heavy lifting for you once you get your stuff out to the curb. They are so grateful for your generosity that they will come pick up your donation, and you don’t even have to be there when they do. And if that weren’t enough, not only do you get to save your gas, your time and your back, you may even get a tax break out of the whole deal. They will leave you a tax deductible receipt for your donation.
There are several super simple options for scheduling a pickup:
- Call their pick up line (these are usually provided on their website or in those mailers sent to your home that you throw in the trash without reading).
- Visit their website to schedule a one-time pick-up or to get on their call list so that they will call you whenever they plan to have a truck in your neighborhood. Don’t worry, you usually get at least a week or two advance notice. If you don’t have anything ready to donate when they call, no sweat, but if you have been procrastinating about cleaning out your closet, sometimes knowing someone is ready to haul away all those hidden “treasures” is just the kick in the pants you need to start digging.
- You can register for FREE on one of the great websites offering free donation pickups for multiple charities in your area. A couple examples are www.gooddonor.org and www.donationtown.org. Both sites offer advice on decluttering, preparing for pick-up, what types of items they accept for donation, and a list of their charity partners. You can either schedule your pickup by date or by a specific charity.
There are even some charities that will take those ratty old holey jeans, paint-splattered T-shirts, and dusty stuffed animals to use in filler for dog beds for rescue animals or insulation for home-building projects. Not only is this another fabulous way to give new life to your once-loved items but it is a green use of available resources. Contact your local recycling center to find out if there’s an organization in your area who needs this type of donation.
Once you create all that great new space in your decluttered closets and storage areas, commit to the in/out rule: each time you buy something new, give something old away to keep things in balance. Or in other words, every time you pick up a new purchase, pick up the phone to schedule a pick-up.