Giving Tuesday and the 365 Items in 365 Days "Prize" | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Giving Tuesday and the 365 Items in 365 Days "Prize"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday and the 365 Items in 365 Days "Prize"

Have you heard about Giving Tuesday?  Apparently it's been around for a couple of years, but I only learned about it this year.  Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after American Thanksgiving (and Black Friday and Cyber Monday).  It's a day for people around the world to give back and encourage others to give as well.

You can read more about Giving Tuesday here:

And this video summarizes it really well:

Why am I telling you about Giving Tuesday?  And what does this have to do with the 365 Items in 365 Days decluttering challenge prize?

365 Items in 365 Days Challenge - Prize

You may remember (or you may not) that at the beginning of the 365 Items in 365 Days declutter challenge, I said there would be a prize at the end.  I was intentionally vague about it, but I did say that the value of the prize would be proportionate to how many people joined the challenge.  I encouraged participants to share the challenge with their friends and family, to help them declutter their homes as well.

I really had no idea if people would join in this challenge.  I hoped they would.  But I've run other challenges on the blog in the past and never had many people actively participate, so I wasn't sure.  I figured I'd see what happened and then decide at the end of the year what I'd award as a prize, and how I would award it.

I was clear about one thing though... the greatest "prize" of all would be the incredible feeling of living in a home with less clutter.  And based on comments people have made in the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group, I know this has happened.

Here are just a few things people have said about how the challenge has changed their lives:

  • It feels good to have less stuff to deal with now that the holidays are here
  • We could eat Thanksgiving dinner in our dining room because the table wasn't full of clutter
  • I love the empty space
  • I love giving things to people who will use them (instead of having them clutter up my home)
  • I appreciate my home so much more now that the clutter is gone
  • I feel like my home is twice is big now
  • Every time I walk in my room now I smile instead of cringe

It makes me so happy to know that this challenge has had such a positive impact on people's lives!

Our FB group has become such a supportive and encouraging community.  In the group people have found inspiration and motivation to keep decluttering.  They've felt safe enough to ask questions and have been generous in sharing ideas.  Participants have been vulnerable in sharing both before pictures of their clutter and after pictures of their uncluttered spaces.  I never imagined it would become as wonderful as it has! 

Choosing a Prize Winner - The Dilemma

A few weeks ago when I started to think about how I would choose a winner of the promised prize, I considered several options, all with their own pros and cons.  Some people joined the challenge early and finished early, others joined more recently, and others have been participating all year.  Would it be "fair" to randomly choose someone from all the participants?  Should a prize be awarded based on how many items were decluttered?  Or what percent of a person's house was purged?  Should it be based on who learned the most through the challenge?  There are SO many considerations.

I didn't feel great about any of these options, so I asked the group what they thought.  Here's my post:

I need YOUR help!! Please read :)
This group has grown beyond anything I dreamed of when I started this challenge in January and has become a wonderfully encouraging and supportive community. Thank you all so much for that!
And you've all done such a great job decluttering all year... both the little things and the big (hard) things. I'm so proud of all of you!
As the year draws to a close, I'm looking at different ways to choose a winner. I was kind of vague about that (and what the prize would be - that's still a surprise!), in the introduction to the challenge. I honestly didn't expect this challenge to grow as much as it did, so I didn't really anticipate it being tough to decide on a winner.
I know there have been people who were really active early in the year and others who joined in more recently. There are some who decluttered WAY more than 365 items and others who are still working their way through their homes. There are some who actively participated in group discussions and others who preferred to be remain quiet. Some of you tracked every item that left your home and others gave up counting.
In the spirit of freeing up our lives and homes by having less clutter now than we did at the beginning of the year, I think ALL of these are valid.
So, my question is, how should I choose a winner? Here are a few options but I'm open to other suggestions too:
1. I could randomly select a name from the group members list
2. I could open up a post for anyone in the group to leave a comment and then everyone could "vote" who they think should win (comment could be what they feel most proud of purging or what they gained/learned through this challenge or something else along those lines)
3. I could open up a post for anyone in the group to share a picture that represents their decluttering journey and everyone could "vote"
4. I could randomly select one of the commenters from #2 or #3 above instead of everyone voting.
5. People in the group could nominate (could be privately to me or publicly in the group) someone who they feel deserves to win and we could vote on a short list of those people.
There are pros and cons of all of these. So I'd like your feedback please! This group has really become YOUR group and I want you all to be part of this decision.
Please tell me which of these ideas you like or don't like and why. I'll take all your feedback into account before making a decision.
Thanks everyone!!

The Group's Surprising Response

I was completely floored and tickled to death that nearly everyone who responded didn't even know or remember that there was a prize for this challenge!  Many people said they felt like they'd already won, by having less clutter in their lives.  And they feel rewarded already by seeing what they've accomplished and knowing they can do it.  And several participants said that singling out one person would go against the supportive nature of the group.

As the discussion progressed, one person suggested turning the prize into a donation instead.  Several other people chimed in with support for that idea too and even offered suggestions for places I could donate the prize. 

After more discussion, now much more in favour of a donation instead of a prize, one person made this comment:
How wonderful a gift--from those of us who have too much stuff to those who have so little (including basic shelter, food, & clothes). Many blessings as you sort out your decision.
That comment spoke volumes to me!  And to others in the group too.  So my decision was made.  I would make a donation on behalf of all the participants in the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge to a charity that helps people with less "stuff" than we do.

Giving Tuesday - And Where I Donated the "Prize"

That brings me back to Giving Tuesday!  I'm here today, to officially announce where I chose to give, on behalf of all of you!

Because the participants in this challenge are from ALL over the world, I wanted to choose an organization that helps people internationally.  And I wanted to support a charity that helps meet the basic needs of people... needs that we often take for granted in our cluttered lives.

There are SO many worthy organizations out there, and I couldn't narrow it down to just one... so... I chose 2!

First, I made a $100 donation to Habitat for Humanity's International Housing Program.

I've been impressed with Habitat for Humanity for a long time and I thought they would be a great organization to support, since they are helping build homes for people who really need them.  We are fortunate enough to have homes to live in, and to celebrate that, and the fact that we've been "re-building" our homes in a sense by decluttering them, I chose to give part of the "prize" to Habitat for Humanity.  Plus, many of us donated items to Habitat Re-Stores so it seemed fitting.

Next, I made a $125 donation to World Vision for the following 3 programs:

I chose these 3 World Vision programs because I know many of us purged expired food from our pantries, expired medications from our medicine cabinets, and excess school supplies from our homes.  Giving to these programs kind of helps make up for some of that. 

I know for me, the process of decluttering makes me think more about what I bring into my home, and I am really trying to be less wasteful and more grateful for and content with what we have.  Giving to these World Vision programs helps me keep my "stuff" in perspective.  I hope it helps you do the same!

I also chose these particular programs because they had donor matching in place, so our donation will stretch even further!

Your Turn!

If you feel so inclined, I'd love it if you joined in the giving spirit on Giving Tuesday!  Because I focused on international charities, you may want to support a local cause.  Or you may want to give to an organization that has a connection to your family.

But if all your decluttering this year has made you grateful for your home, your clothing, your food, and everything else in your life, consider finding a way you can give back today.

It doesn't have to be a large amount.  Or even a financial donation.  Maybe you just want to give away more of your items that you've been hanging onto this year, that you really don't need.  It's up to you! 

Thank You!

I can't finish this post without expressing my heartfelt thanks to the people in the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group who suggested changing the prize to a donation!  I am so proud of all the work you've done this year.  And I'm so honoured to have been part of your decluttering journey.  Thank you for being so intrinsically motivated to declutter that you didn't need a prize to keep you going.  Thank you for encouraging each other every step of the way.  And thank you for making this group what it is.

A few people asked if the challenge is over on December 31st.  And if the FB group was going to end.  I'm happy to say "NO!" to both of those!  People joined this challenge all through the year, and we don't need to be bound by a calendar to declutter our homes.  I'll still be here in 2015... posting about decluttering... and encouraging you in the FB group.  Heck, I'm still going to be decluttering my home... 365 days is not enough for some of us :)

So keep going on your decluttering journey!  And join in the spirit of Giving Tuesday! 

What has been the biggest benefit you've seen from decluttering?  If you're giving on Giving Tuesday, where are you giving?

Happy organizing!

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