We will all be happy to bid 2020 goodbye. A great way to have a fresh start is to take a look at what we’ve accumulated over the year – or years. Decluttering our spaces is incredibly freeing. Even better, it can be a way to do some good for those of us still hurting from the pandemic. Your clutter can be someone else’s treasure
Books: If your extra books are in good condition, chances are someone will be thrilled to get them. Try contacting Books for Africa and send them your soft and hard cover books (no older than 15 years) and other materials. Another good one is Operation Paperback, which has been sending books to the military overseas and to wounded warrior programs and military families since 1999.
Clothes and accessories: Consignment shops may or may not be open in your location to take your fancier duds or office wear once you retire. Why not donate them to Dress for Success and help someone looking for a job dress the part. And if your shoes are too sporty for Dress for Success, soles4Souls.org
will take your sandals, sneakers and other gently used shoes and send them to people worldwide.
Eyeglasses: Maybe your prescription changed, or you got some stylish new frames – but don’t toss those old frames! The International Eyecare Center lists several organizations that will be happy to get your old specs, either dropped off or mailed.
Hearing aids: If you’ve upgraded your hearing aids, your old model will be gratefully accepted by hearingaiddonations.org, among many other organizations that will accept used hearing aids, repair them, and get them to people who desperately need them. A list is here.
Household items: Most cities have a Goodwill or Salvation Army that will pick up certain items for donation (always call and check their policies) but another national organization to consider is Pickupplease.org, which specifically helps veterans. You must check to see if they service your area. Another option is Habitat for Humanity ReStores, which accepts new and gently used appliances, household goods, furniture, even building materials from individuals and companies, accepting them for sale; the funds are used to help people in need.
Phones: The average American buys a new phone every two years. Instead of leaving them in a drawer or sending them to some landfill, there’s an amazing amount of good you can do by donating your old phone. This list here offers five very worthy organizations that will take your old phone (and other electronics) refurbish them for sale, and use the funds to help soldiers call home, or give domestic violence victims a way out – or just help the environment.
De-Clutter and Donate safely!
Never flush expired medicines away – it pollutes the environment. Instead, check your local drugstore for a ‘take back” program. For certain medications – like opioids – check your local police station for a disposal bin on their premises.
Always scratch or mark over identifying labels before disposing of drugs.
Check with your lawyer or accountant before shredding old documents or even scanning them into a hard drive. You may still need to hold on to the hard copy.
Exercise caution with pickups at your home; make sure you confirm with whatever agency when the pickup will take place and who will do it. Ask for identification or confirmation. Many police stations offer ‘safe exchange zones” on their premises for sales or donations of items.
What’s your clutter challenge? Let us know in the comments!!
Photo: Ashim d’Silva for Unsplash.