Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cleaning out for a cause: Get the rest out!

Going Green Mama admits the little things add up in her home...and she's thrilled to purge some of it!

Curtains of clothing and stacks of shoes hide the inevitable: Random things that are lurking in your closets (or other areas that are becoming havens for dust and junk).

This week, let's talk about useful ways we can get rid of those random things. It's not enough to trash things, or even donate them to some resale shop; it's time for us to really be mindful of where it is we're donating unused items.

Holiday items

My mother-in-law is famous for giving us random holiday decorations found in craft sales or auctions. But after 14 years of marriage, we've accumulated a lot. As each season progresses - or, if you're motivated, take care of a year's worth of items on a rainy day - truly decide whether or not this holiday decoration is something that adds to your life. If you love to go all out for Halloween, great. If it feels like extra stuff, rethink its home.

Consider taking those items to transitional programs for domestic violence survivors, many of them who are mothers and would love to bring a sense of holiday normalcy to their family's home. When you're re-settling your lives, the frills are the last things to be bought. So spread some love around!

Baby items

How long are you going to hang onto that child's swing, infant tub or stroller? Infants go through so many supplies, particularly through that first year of life, that it's far better to swap, donate or trade what you have. Programs that help crisis pregnancies or families in financial crises welcome these kinds of items.


Admit it. You have a zillion stuffed animals. Suggest your child share some with a child in need, whether through Toys for Tots, low-income day cares or other avenues.


As my husband's a college student, we're frustrated that many textbooks are revised each year, rendering them supposedly useless. I was thrilled to find that our local library accepts books that are less than five years old. No more tossing texts we can't resell!

So what other items would you love to find a home for but struggle to?


suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

i read the idea here, actually: we had a FREE table at our garage sale and put out the cleaning supplies and personal care stuff we'd been wanting to exchange for more natural/homemade items, as well as little happy meal-type toys, plastic hangers, an ironing board that needed a little love, and all sorts of odds and ends. poeple were glad to have it, and stuff disappeared without being trashed.

i also just put a double stroller up on craigslist for free. secondhand stores won't take strollers or carseats, so craigslist (or freecycle) is a great way to find homes for hard to place stuff.

Kathryn Grace said...

We have a few baby items, including an unopened can of organic infant formula powder (in case the pumped milk ran out during a visit) our toddler grandchild no longer needs. I've had good luck giving away baby items on in the past, but this can of formula just won't go. No takers. That stuff's expensive! I'm hopeful that means more people are breastfeeding these days.


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