Okay friends, it’s March! Time to start tackling the spring cleaning full force! To get started, take a look at your house— from your wardrobe to your basement, and ask yourself, “Do I really need all this junk???” And by junk, I am even including all of the extra vintage decorative items and holiday decor that really aren’t life necessities. We fill our homes with so many “things” that we really don’t need, and most of the time the excess items just end up cluttering our minds too. After this last Christmas it seemed to take forever to pack away the decor and I have struggled to organize the basement ever since, so it is time get things under control! I am purging all of the excess this spring! For this great purging, I am focusing on donating to charities. I also want to make sure my donations go to worthy causes so I have been doing some research. Here are some tips for making charitable donations that count. *This post contains affiliate links.
Give “Goods,” Not Garbage
Previously I shared a post on decluttering through donating and selling old items. While I will still probably sell some of my junk online or at a local consignment shop, I have decided to start donating more too. Recently I have been made even more aware of the people in need in my own community (especially children), and I have been trying to figure out the best places to donate that will ensure that the items really will go straight to those individuals.
I am also considering people’s emotional needs when donating. In the past I might have just bagged up a bunch of old clothes or household items that really weren’t in the best condition, but I started to think about how excited someone might be to get a bag of “new” clothes only to find most of the items have holes or are really outdated. I really began to ponder “do unto others” and with that in mind, I am looking at my decluttering process in a whole new light. If I would be embarrassed to send my son to school in a stained shirt, I try to think about how a struggling mother would feel if that is all she had to clothe her child. Instead of donating the ratty clothes, it is better to send gently worn, clean clothing that my son has simply outgrown. Of course there is nothing wrong with also giving some “play clothes” to families with younger children since more than likely they are going to get grass stains on the knees and juice stains on the shirts at some point!
Search For Legitimate Charitable Retail/ Resale Stores
In the last few years I started to donate to local organizations that were run by people I know personally and it gave me peace of mind that the items I donated were truly going to the right places. Many of the larger and more popular charitable organizations have evolved into big profit businesses over the years with very little proceeds going to those in need, so it is important to do some homework first. If you search online and you are bound to find a reputable store or warehouse that will accept donations in your local area. Their primary aim is not to make money, but to sell used items at a reduced price to those people who are struggling to make ends meet. Habitat For Humanity is one furniture warehouse you should look at. Of course, your items will need to be in good condition, so don’t dump off garbage. If you are giving to others, so it is important to be respectful and considerate.
Homeless Support Agencies
From homeless shelters to charities who visit the homeless on the streets, there is much need for clothing, bedding, and domestic household items. Volunteers of America is just one of the charities you should consider, a mission dedicated to end homelessness and bring stability to those whose lives have been thrown into disarray. By your giving, you are doing your part to support this very worthwhile cause by helping those people very much in need.
If you are still wary of about donating to a particular cause or organization, just remember to research online to check a company’s policies or reviews.
If you’re an avid reader, you probably have more books than you know what to do with. Make some room on your shelves and donate to a used bookstore near you, especially those which are affiliated to a particular charity. Some of them also take old newspapers and magazines, so if you are a bit of a hoarder (or as some people say, collector), you can donate those as well.
Schools, Colleges, Daycare Centers
There are all kinds of items that you can donate to your local educational establishments, including books, toys, and computer equipment. Considering that many educational programs are the focus of budget cuts, you may be able to fill gaps in areas where they have difficulty spending. Don’t forget private and Christian schools which may not have extra funds for libraries. They will be thrilled to add educational reading and appropriate fiction books to their classrooms. Art supplies and old musical instruments (if they are in working or reparable order) are also needed in many school districts. As a public school music teacher I can tell you there is a great need for extra instruments since music and the arts are the first areas to receive cuts!
Local schools often have resource centers that collect clothing and hygiene items for children. You can be assured the items you donate will get to families in need.
People You know
Of course you can always help out people you know. For starters, you may have young friends and family who are off to college or just moving into a new property, so you could donate some of your furniture to give them a head start on their new adventure. On the other hand, there may be people you know who are in genuine need. Perhaps you have learned of somebody in church who is struggling, or you might have a neighbor who needs help.
Most of us who are lucky enough to be bloggers or have a computer or cell phone to even be reading blog articles, have plenty of excess clutter and unnecessary items in our homes that are still in good condition. Giving always brings an intrinsic reward, and even if you may not see any results right away, the principal of reaping and sowing has always proven true in my life. Of course we shouldn’t be motivated to give in order to receive, but rather to help make another’s life a little bit better as we all travel this journey of life on this planet together.
I hope this post has been inspiring and informative. If you are familiar with any trustworthy organizations or ways to donate that really makes a difference, I would love to hear from you in the comments or via email. When it all comes down to it, making a difference through charitable giving is really about taking the time to make sure you are donating to worthwhile causes, and donating the right kinds of needed items. In this way you can make charitable donations that count! If you are looking for an organization to help, we have a local elementary school with 68 homeless children in desperate need of basic hygiene products. If you message me, I will give you the contact information for the school’s resource office.
Happy cleaning, purging, and donating my friends!