spring cleaning messy bed

Spring Cleaning?  Make the most of your donations.

Are the slightly warmer temperatures inspiring you to whip your place into shape?  Are you feeling the need for a thorough clear out?  If you’re anything like me, you can always find something that needs to go.  This round of spring cleaning, spend a little extra time to make the most of your donations.

I think most of us are used to the idea of passing on our gently used items to charity instead of simply tossing them out with the garbage.  It’s understandable that although we no longer need something, someone else may.  Society is also becoming more aware of the need to reuse, recycle and reduce waste to save our ailing planet.

There are many organizations around the world that have been instrumental in making this process extremely easy.  Charities like The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity are just a few of the big names that make donating easy for us.  We can bag it up and drop it off.  But I would like to suggest some ways that, with a little effort, you can increase the impact you personally feel when making those donations.

1. Targeted Giving

By taking time to make targeted donations, I think you can feel even better about where your goods are going.  In addition, you may be more likely to part with items that are high value if you’re certain that they will be put to good use.

What do I mean by targeted giving?

For instance, I had high quality work clothing and shoes that I just couldn’t bear to throw in a collection box.  I did a little googling and found a local charity that works with formerly incarcerated women, helping them back into the workforce.  They have a thrift store specifically for these women needing clothing for interviews and new jobs.  I was happy to turn over everything to them, knowing my items would be put to good use.

Dress for Success is a global non-profit striving to help women achieve economic independence.  You can start with them if you have similar items.

Thinking outside the box can help you figure out where your items will be best used.  Here are some ideas to get you going.

  • Donate old towels and sheets to animal shelters.
  • Local schools and libraries often need books, office supplies or tech equipment.
  • Food items you’re never going to use?  Click on this link to find a food bank near you or check out my article on community fridges.
  • Local pre-schools, day cares and nurseries are usually in need of children’s equipment – high chairs, activity centers, play pens.

This article I found online had an extensive and creative list of places to donate if you need some more help. (sorry international people – the article is geared for the USA)

2. Buy Nothing and Build Community

The Buy Nothing Project is a particularly interesting way to give because it directly connects you to people in your community.  It was founded in 2013 and has become a global force with over 5 million members and communities in over 40 countries.

The gist of the idea is that you join an online community where you post if you have something to give away, need something or want to express gratitude.  No buying, no selling.  The main goal of the project is to build community. 

It grew exponentially on Facebook, and that is still where the bulk of the project transactions happen.  But when I started researching it more, I discovered that they have created their own app and are striving to build and expand their platform.  I personally would prefer to use their platform, but my community is still much larger on Facebook.

“BuyNothing offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people. We believe that communities are more resilient, sustainable, equitable, and joyful when they have functional gift economies.”


3. Too Good to Give Away?  Sell it with kindness.

These days, there are many more ways to sell personal items than the standard garage or yard sale, and most of them are online.  In fact, some people make a living off reselling on platforms like eBay or Shopify.  But it’s also very easy to dabble – just enough to make some extra space at home.  (If you’re interested in reselling online, read this article.)

Spread Some Smiles

A great way to boost your reviews and spread some smiles is to infuse a little kindness.  I have sold a few things on Poshmark and have enjoyed adding some surprises for buyers. 

  1. Wrap the item nicely to make it as presentable as possible – like they would receive it if it were new. 
  2. Enclose a handwritten note of thanks. 
  3. My favorite part – Add in a bonus item.  I don’t always do this – only if I’m certain it would be appropriate.  For instance, I had 2 tennis skirts which were the same size and style for sale.  A woman bought one, and I enclosed the second as a surprise.  It was a big happiness boost when she expressed how excited she was to receive the extra.

Clearing out unused items in your life provides physical space and peace of mind.  I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more satisfying than gazing upon a newly organized, clean closet.  Knowing that the space was made by thoughtfully giving to others is just icing on my closet cake.

Let me know if you have any giving go-tos that work for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *