If you’re looking for a more meaningful holiday season this year, consider donating your unused possessions to charity. It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday season when everywhere you look you – and your kids – are being bombarded by ads to buy, buy, buy! Donating to worthy charities or organizations of your choice allows you to do something good for others and rid yourself of clutter at the same time. If that isn’t the classic win/win situation, I don’t know what is.
Donating is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about sharing with others less fortunate than they are. Involving them in the decision making about which charities to donate to will make them more invested and enthusiastic about it. Now is a good time to help them understand why less is more and no one can play with 10 race car sets or wear 50 tee shirts! Be sure you explain to very young children that you are not giving away all of their toys or clothes, just the ones they don’t use anymore or no longer need. You know your kids best. If you think they can handle it emotionally, let them help to decide what stays and what goes. Adolescents can turnover clothes they’ve outgrown and most teenagers will be more than happy to get rid of last year’s anything!
Mom and Dad, you need to do your part, too. Check your kitchens and pantries for unused canned goods and other non-perishables and donate them to local organizations in need. Purge your own closets and be ruthless about it! Almost every storage area in your home probably has items that could be donated and not even missed. Check for little used or unused blankets, sheets and towels in your linen closet, little used or unused kitchen utensils, etc.
A word of caution about donations is in order at this point. Volunteers spend hours sorting through donated items to determine what can be used and what can’t. Anything that isn’t usable – stained, torn, or otherwise damaged – ends up being discarded and that costs the organization time and money, turning a benevolent act on your part into a problem. Please do NOT donate items of no value. Here’s a good rule of thumb to guide you: only donate items that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to a friend or family member face to face.
Here is a partial list of the kinds of organizations and charities that are frequently in needs of donations:
- women’s shelters
- veterinary clinics
- homeless shelters
- soup kitchens
- nursing homes
- humane societies
- historical societies
- Big Brother/Big Sister organizations
- scout troops
- arts organizations
For more information, please visit Resources/Place to Donate.
Create a new tradition this year of charitable giving during the holidays and make them a time for sharing not only gifts, but your heart as well.