July 15th is National Give Something Away Day, and we think it’s a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by getting organized at the same time. Most of us are blessed enough to say we actually have more than we need. Many of us also could easily find a room, closet, bookshelf, or cupboard that could stand some organizing. National Give Something Away Day gives us a perfect opportunity to organize our spaces and share some of our bounty with others. Here are some ideas to help you get organized and give to someone else at the same time:
- Organize your home office. Clear out the “everything drawer” and keep only those items you really need. Take the extra pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, paper clips, index cards, file folders, notebooks, and notepads and put together a school supplies bag or box for a student. It could be someone in your own home, a neighbor, a friend at church, or someone in the community with a need. Check with your local community center, homeless shelter, or women’s shelter.
- Organize your kitchen cupboards. If you find yourself searching through a stack of containers to find your favorite, and notice you seem to use the same ones over and over again while the rest sit there on the shelf unused, there’s a good chance you only need the ones you choose. Take the less popular containers out of the cupboard (see how much better you feel already?) and donate them to a local shelter or thrift store. Do you have too many dishes? Perhaps the kids have gone off to college and you still have a service for 12. Consider taking a portion of your dishes and putting together a gift for a newly married couple, or a recent college graduate who’s setting up house for the first time.
- Organize your clothes closet. Chances are, you have clothes in your closet you haven’t worn in a while. Take an honest inventory and separate the clothes you wear often from those you haven’t worn in six months or more. Toss anything that needs to be mended or is in disrepair and donate the clothes you aren’t wearing; if you’re not wearing them, you won’t miss them, and someone else could get good use out of them. Again, check with a local shelter, and if you can’t find one who needs your donation, drop it off at a thrift store.
- Organize your art supplies. A daycare center or battered women’s shelter would probably be thrilled to get your unused colored markers, crayons, art paper, stickers, wallpaper samples, paints, construction paper, and other art supplies. You’ll clear out your artsy clutter, and they’ll get free supplies to make masterpieces with.
- Organize the kids’ toys. If your child’s toy box is overflowing with toys, have them help you sort through the ones they just can’t live without, and those they’d be willing to give to a child who has none. When they are involved in the giving process, it’s easier for them to give up a favorite doll or fire truck, since children love to give and help others. Let them know that what they’re doing will bring joy to another child, and you’ll start a wonderful tradition and establish a pattern of giving that will carry over into other areas.
- Organize your garage. How many rakes does one family need to keep the yard looking nice? Take inventory of your lawn care supplies, barbeque accessories, kids’ bikes, trikes, and scooters, and other miscellany hanging around the garage, and donate your unused items or set them curbside with a “free to a good home” sign. If no one takes you up on your offer after a few days, take the items to a thrift store or toss them.
- Organize your bookshelves (and your kids’ shelves). Are your shelves filled with books you’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t? Take the next week to go through your shelves and assess the likelihood that those dusty tomes will actually make it off the shelves and into your hands any time soon. Pack up at least one box of books and visit your local used bookstore. If they take your unread books, you could end up making a few dollars. If they’re not interested, donate to a local nursing home, shelter, daycare, library, or school.
The result of combining National Give Something Away Day and the task of organizing your space will be a lighter, less cluttered home for you, a sense of wellbeing at giving something away, and an unexpected blessing for the people and organizations that receive your donations. It’s a win-win! Enjoy decluttering, organizing, and giving on July 15th. If your home is already as organized as it can be and you truly have no excess material items to give away, you can still observe National Give Something Away Day by giving of your time and volunteering for a worthy cause, paying for someone else’s coffee or meal, buying groceries for a neighbor, surprising a co-worker with flowers, or simply giving away a smile, hug, or kind word to someone who needs it.