Day 3: Getting Ready To Donate {Decluttering From A To Z} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 3: Getting Ready To Donate {Decluttering From A To Z}

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 3: Getting Ready To Donate {Decluttering From A To Z}

This month I'm hosting the Decluttering From A To Z challenge.  It's a fun way to help you declutter items in your home that you may not have thought of decluttering.

If you've missed the first two posts you can find them here.

Today we're talking about donations: why it's good to donate, what kinds of things you can donate, where you can donate, and how to make it easy to donate as you declutter.

Why Should I Donate?

As you declutter, you'll come across things you're ready to let go of, but that are in good enough condition that other people can still use them.  If you have friends or family members who you can give things to that's a great option.  It's fun seeing someone else use something that used to be yours.  Young adults moving away from home  or newlyweds just starting out could benefit from your excess furniture, linens, and household items. Families with younger children might appreciate hand-me-down clothes and toys.   

You can also donate those items to local charities, who will pass them on to people in need, or sell them and put the money towards people in need.  If you have a charity that's special to you, you'll feel good knowing your possessions can support their cause.

It can also help you let go when you know your belongings can really benefit someone else.  Instead of something taking up space in your home or collecting dust, give it to someone who will actually use it and appreciate it.

Donating also helps keep items out of landfills, which is good for the environment.  

What Can I Donate?

So what kinds of things can you donate? Here are some commonly donated items:

  • Clothing 
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Household items
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Linens
  • Stuffed animals

Just make sure items are clean and in good working condition.  Think about the people who will benefit from your things and what they would want given to them.  Most charities are run by volunteers and they don't have the resources to fix broken items or get rid of unusable things.  

Where Can I Donate? 

The list of places you can give away your belongings is unlimited!  Here are a few ideas to get you started though:

  • Shelters (battered women, young moms, etc.)
  • Community centers
  • Church-run community programs
  • Youth programs
  • Big Brothers / Big Sisters programs
  • Fire Halls (they give like-new stuffed animals to kids after a fire)
  • Animal shelters (they love linens!)
  • Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores
  • Church rummage sales
  • Salvation Army
  • Value Village
  • Goodwill

Put together a list of charities and organizations in your area and find out what their needs are, as well as what they don't want.  Again, because so many charities have limited resources, don't burden them with items they don't need.

How To Make Donating Easy For Yourself

Some people throw most of their belongings away when they are decluttering because they feel it's too difficult to bother with donating things.  But it doesn't have to be hard.  

Here are a few ways to make it easy to donate:

  • Set up a donation box in a conspicuous place in your home and any time to come across something you want to donate, add it to the box.  Teach everyone in your family to do the same.  When it's full, drop it off wherever you're donating it.  {Update: I created some printable decluttering signs that you can download here}
  • While you're in the midst of decluttering, it's good to have several large bags or empty boxes handy so you can easily add any donate-able items to them as you work.  I usually use clear garbage bags like these with my clients to separate donations from garbage or recycling.
  • Make donating part of your weekly routine.  Find a time in your weekly schedule when you're driving near a donation center and make a point of dropping of donations every week at that time.  You're nearby anyway so it's easy to pull up and drop off a bag or box.
  • Many charities will even pick up donations from your porch or driveway.  In my area the Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline program and the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy both do pick-ups.  It's so easy!   Here's a picture of some of my donations on my porch (they're marked with a D for Diabetes as instructed... we like to use duct tape to mark our bags and "busy" boxes so it's clear... and easy).

What's Next For You?

Here are a few easy steps for you to take today so you're ready when you start decluttering.

  • Gather up some empty boxes or large bags.  Duct tape and a good marker would be helpful too, so you can mark your bags or boxes so they aren't confused with anything else.  
  • Research charities in your organization to find out what kinds of things they need and what they will accept. Compile a list so you have a few options.  
  • Find out if there are charities that will pick up from your home and schedule a pick-up for sometime in early November.

Ready to declutter? Want more decluttering ideas, tips, and inspiration?  Need some motivation and accountability to keep you going?  Here are some ways to get the most out of this challenge:

1.  Sign up to receive my blog posts in your email inbox.  You'll get a new post every day this month with the latest Decluttering From A To Z post.  Once the challenge is over, you'll receive an email whenever a new blog post is published (usually 1-2 times per week).  I share decluttering tips and other organizing tips on the blog.  You can unsubscribe at any time and I won't spam you.  I promise.

2.  Join the 365 Items in 365 Days decluttering challenge!   The Decluttering From A To Z challenge is really a challenge within a challenge.  You can start the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge at any time and declutter whatever you want.  More details here.  There are details in that post about our great Facebook group too.

3.  Check out my 31 Days of Easy Decluttering series.  This was my 31 Days series from 2 years ago and each post gives tips to declutter different items or areas of your home.  If you're focusing on certain areas of your home this month some of the posts may help you out.

4.  Follow my Decluttering/Organizing Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.  This is my most popular board and I share tips there frequently.

Share Your Decluttering Progress!  

I hope these ideas will help you declutter today!  Inspire all of us by sharing your decluttering pictures in any of these places:

What kinds of items have you donated in the past?  What can you donate now?  Where do you like to donate your belongings?

Happy decluttering!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Here are all the posts in this series!