No doubt, holidays are a busy time. But, it’s also a good time to count our blessings and help others in need. Do you have more than you need? Are your things encroaching on your living or work space and weighing you down? Do you have a hard time letting go of your stuff? According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, 80% of what we have, we never use. That is astonishing!
Why do we cling to so much “stuff”? Emotional attachment, nostalgia, just in case you need it one day, avoidance of a seemingly overwhelming project, lack of time to go through it all or is it some other obstacle standing in your way? Parting with our stuff is not always easy, but holding on to things that are not useful or meaningful and that represent, not who you are now, but who you were or hoped you’d be, can cause stress, guilt and weigh you down.
In the wake of a continued struggling economy and the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy last month, many people are suffering. If you have been fortunate not to have experienced much hardship, consider giving something back. Consider whether it would be easier to part with some of your excess, knowing these items will be put to great use now.
Following the hurricane, I volunteered at a local Y, checking on local senior citizens, to make sure they were ok. I also brought 5 trash bags of mostly clothing to a local fire department having a collection for storm victims. As I scanned my clothes I saw the usual abundance of things never and barely worn, yet never thrown out. Knowing that someone needed these things that I might one day wear, but really didn’t need, made it easier to part with items I wasn’t sure about. These small gestures of giving made me feel good, not only because I was doing something to help, but also, on a more selfish level, it was liberating to shed these things, like a weight had been lifted simultaneously.
Donating needn’t be a monumental project. Just a bag or 2, collected in 10 or 15 minutes, can make a difference to in your own space and in the life of someone else. Another suggestion is to put a donation bin in some or all of your closets. What if each day, you made it a point to grab one article of clothing you haven’t worn in a long time. If you can’t make it work in some semblance of an outfit today, in the bin it goes! Maybe starting small will start you on your way to un-cluttering your entire closet, room, house or office, one small step at a time, You may be surprised to find that uncluttering physical reaps many rewards, such as reducing stress, lowering costs, decreasing housework, increasing productivity and making your environment more beautiful and inviting.
Purging is also useful, when we need to make space for the receipt of holiday gifts in already crowded spaces. Purging items that have special meaning, but can’t ideally be kept due to space or other limitations, can be difficult. Try one of these tips to help you cut the cord:
1. Take a photo or video – This works well with anything from trophies, artwork or virtually any other item or collection, that is eating up valuable space. 16 ½ years ago, I laid out my twins’ summer clothing from their 1st summer on this earth (omg, so cute!) and took a few photos. Having these photos allowed me purge all (ok, fine….almost all) of it and be ok with it.
2. Keep 1 or a limited amount of a group of items or collection – Pick your favorite or a few favorites and then tell yourself, it is absolutely fine for that to represent the entire collection.
3. Be creative – Has a deceased loved left behind a large collection of ties, scarves, or something else made of fabric? How about making one special thing out it? A pillow, quilt or collage in a framed picture, can make a great keepsake Then, dispose of the rest.
4. Go the extra mile – If you have one or a few very special items, like an instrument, hobby supplies, crafts, artwork or something else that very few people can appreciate, go the extra mile. Take a few minutes to find it a specific new great home, to ease your discomfort.
There are many awesome charities, gladly accepting your donations and some even provide pick up services. The easiest way to donate is to find one place that will take all or most of your varied items. Better to focus on doing over all good, than to get caught up in perfectionism, by trying to find the perfect home or green solution for every last item. Going this route, can be daunting and unreasonably time consuming.
Here’s an alphabetical list of some worthy charities accepting donations (those marked with “*”, provide pick up services):
*Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island -Accepting furniture, clothing, accessories, shoes, housewares, bedding, draperies, televisions, small electronics, small appliances, toys, games and tools. Donations support mentor programs for children facing adversity. Call (631) 234-0000 or visit www.bbbsli.org
Gerald Ryan Outreach Program – Accepting clothing, food and other household items. Donations assist those in need from Wyandanch and surrounding communities, with food, clothing and services. 1434 Straight Path, Wyandanch, NY or call (631) 643-7591
*Goodwill – accepting clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, jewelry, linens, electronics, records, cd’s, videos, dvds, toys, luggage, bicycles, art, antiques, collectibles, home decor, stuffed animals, books, sporting goods and vehicles. Goodwill provides support services, empowering individuals with disabilities and other barriers to gain independence through working. Call (718) 728-5400 or visit www.goodwillny.org
Habitat for Humanity ReStore– Accepting new or gently used appliances, building materials, furniture, hardware and fixtures. ReStore, raises money to build homes and provide low cost home improvement materials to local residents. Call (631) 767-1612 or visit www.suffolkrestore.com/donations
*Long Island Charities Foundation – Accepting clothing, shoes, sneakers, handbags, linens, stuffed animals and small toys. Proceeds provide support to many worthy Long Island charities, including The American Cancer Society, The Boy and Girl Scouts, P.A.L., Long Island Cares, Madonna Heights Services, St. Joseph’s College, Catholic Charities, Hospice Of The South Shore, American Lung Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Stony Brook Burn Center. Call (888) 516-2274 or visit www.wecashclothes.com
*Salvation Army – Accepting appliances, automobiles, clothing, furniture, household goods and other miscellaneous items. Donations fund adult rehabilitation centers, which provide spiritual, social and emotional assistance for men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Call (800) SA-TRUCK or visit www.salvationarmyusa.org
Suffolk County United Veterans – Accepting food, paper products and cleaning products for food banks and it’s emergency housing center. They help veterans, struggling with substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Call (631) 924-8088 or visit www.scuv.org
The Stuff Stop – Though not a charity, this free nationwide community resource matches up your unwanted stuff with local charities, ministries and companies. Information is also provided that will enable you to recycle or dispose of your items in a green way. Search by location or item. Visit www.thestuffstop.com/
*St. Vincent DePaul: Accepting clothing, furniture & home furnishings (no appliances). Nassau 516 746-8250. Suffolk 800 884-7837 or visit www.svdpusa.org
259 Broadway, Bethpage, NY (516) 681-2101
1425A New York Avenue Huntington Station, NY (631) 385-1226
Other places to consider -local libraries, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, day care centers, retirement homes and doctors offices.
For additional places accepting these specific items Click Here to Contact Us:
- Building Supplies
- Cell Phones
- Craft Supplies
- Clothing – Business Attire, Cocktail, Bridesmaid’s Dresses, Coats
- Computer Equipment
- Musical Instruments
- Office Supplies
- Sports Equipment
- Video Games
- Yoga Mats
Have an item not listed above? Click Here to contact us and we will be happy to help you find a useful and responsible place for disposal.
When donating, remember to request a tax deductible receipt!
***Simply Orderly does not endorse any of the resources listed above, nor are we responsible for any negligence on their part.
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