I love the colors of spring, the bright daffodils, tulips, and flowering trees. They make me smile. They also make me think about Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22nd. It’s a day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. You may not see the connection between organizing and environmental protection, but I’m reminded of it every time a client donates and recycles responsibly. Therefore, I’d like to share 3 simple ways we can show our support.
Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2021! I hope you are healthy and keeping a positive mindset. That’s my objective this year, especially since I was sick with…
During this stay-at-home directive many of us are taking time to clean out and organize our homes. That is a great way to create a happy home and an orderly home work environment. However, what do we do with all the stuff we want to clear out and get rid of? During normal circumstances I’d recommend donation-drop-sites, such as Savers, Goodwill (some Goodwill locations are still accepting donations), Salvation Army, and Saint Vincent De Paul. I’d also recommend at-home donation collection options, such as Big Brother/Big Sister Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation (still collecting) and the Vietnam Veterans of America, but many of these places have closed their doors to keep their employees and volunteers safe. So what are our options?
Here are a few suggestions: (Please note that some of these options may not be currently available in your community.)
- Contact the organizations in your area that give directly to those in need. They may be searching for what you’re wanting to give away. A few organizations are Cradles to Crayons, My Brother’s Keeper, and Clothes to Go.
- Use the available donation drop boxes in your community for clothing, shoes, and books. Please respect the drop box boundaries and don’t leave items outside of them to become someone else’s clean up problem. Bay State Textiles works with schools in MA on recycling textiles. They set up collection bins in school parking lots. Check their website for locations.
- Use recycle drop boxes for small electronics, adapters, cords, batteries, and light bulbs at stores like Best Buy, Lowe’s and Target if available.
- Use on-line free-give-away communities like Give Back Box, Free Cycle (not operating at this time), and Buy Nothing.
- Post on Facebook Yard Sales, Craigslist and other on-line options.
- Reach out to local Senior Centers, Boy Scout Troops, and Mom’s Clubs to see if they’re planning an annual rummage sale. You may have to hold onto the items for a few months, but it’s motivating to know you’ll be helping your local community.
- Put items out on the curb with a free sign on them.
- Ask friends and family if they want anything you’re ready to let go.
- Box things up to donate later, but be sure to clearly label what’s in the box.
- To donate specific items contact food pantries, homeless shelters, domestic violence centers, and organizations the distribute hygiene products (Dignity Matters and Hope and Comfort) to see whats in high demand.
If you have other suggestions that will be of help to others please share. Thank you. Be safe and take care of you!
©April 2020 Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer® All Rights Reserved
Letting go of things can be stressful and difficult, especially if they hold some sentimental value. We tend to hold onto things that remind us of precious people and moments from our past. A few years ago I was helping a client organize her bedroom, and we came across some dried, brittle, dusty, yellowed flowers in a vase. She explained that it was her dried wedding bouquet, and she wanted to keep it. I asked her to pause for a moment and tell me objectively what she saw. She did. I then asked to tell me about other mementos she had from her wedding day. When she was finished she understood what I was getting at and said “I think I can let the flowers go.” She understood that although her wedding flowers were an important part of her wedding day, now they were just dust collectors. Since she had other more meaningful mementos from her wedding day, as well as photos of the flowers when they were vibrant and beautiful, she could let go of the brittle, dusty, yellowed version. By taking a moment to look and think objectively we can all make better choices about letting go.
Here are 7 options for letting go that will help you keep the memories but not the stuff.
- Keep only the best of photographs, artwork & hand-made crafts to bring greater value to the memory.
- Set limits (container limit or quantity limit)
- Set criteria (most meaningful, most representative of personality)
- Go digital with photos, memorabilia, artwork
- Share and send photos to family/friends
- Keep part of a set or collection: china, glass items, collectables, furniture, nick-knacks & tchotchkes, holiday decorations & decor to bring ease to maintenance.
- Get items appraised to understand value
- Set limits (keep half, the best 3, most memorable)
- Establish a specific place for display or specific use
- Reduce what you keep (just signatures on greeting cards, every 5th year of journals)
- Get creative, re-purpose or reuse to bring new life to items.
- Re-purpose dishes and stemware as planters or jewelry holders
- Re-purpose china to make jewelry or mosaic art pieces
- Reuse fabric from items to make quilts, pillows, teddy bears, mittens, bags, Christmas stockings or other items
- Use paper items to make place-mats, wrapping paper, greeting cards
- Take photos and videos to preserve visually and digitally.
- Create digital scrapbooks to share the memories and stories
- Use as a screen saver on computer or phone
- Consolidate images into collages
- Share and document story of item to preserve memory.
- Use on-line digital options to share stories and photos
- Share stories and memories of items verbally at family gatherings
- Star in a video sharing stories and memories of family heirlooms
- Find worthy recipient to ease guilty feelings.
- Search on line for specific worthwhile charities
- Ask family, friends, and social media connections for willing recipients
- Accept that we may not be able to find the perfect recipient and let it go believing the next owner will cherish it
- Experiment and practice letting go.
©September 2018 Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®
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