With the release of Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, people are dumping household goods in record numbers. Unintentionally, this mass purging is bombarding donation centers and landfills. In this blog you’ll find resources and inspiration to help you donate responsibly and transform decluttering from simply ditching your goods into an opportunity to GIVE well!
The desire to responsibly dispose of stuff (and not knowing where or how to do so) results in a lot of clutter accumulating in homes, guest rooms, and garages! (Raise your hand if you, too, have a burgeoning “donate” pile!)
This creates quite the dilemma – we want clutter out of our homes, but we want to make sure our stuff blesses others instead of burdening the environment. Precious resources were invested in these items and we want them to be used, rather than ending up as trash.
Connecting our castoffs to those who can actually use them can be a challenging mission. Giving well – to others or to charities – takes a little more forethought and planning than simply offloading items at the closest resale store depot.
One of the many services our professional organizers offer to our clients is helping them properly dispose of their items – taking a big weight off their shoulders. When we come across unique services that repurpose your goods, we love sharing that with you! We have developed a Life Simplifying Services guide for residents of Oregon and SW Washington – be sure to check it out for links to vetted organizations and service providers.
Below, I highlight three non-profits that will help you donate clutter responsibly if you’re local to the Portland, Oregon area. These organizations will help you rehome some of the most common forms of clutter:
- Office and craft supplies
If you’re not in the Northwest, I hope this article inspires you to take a few minutes and search online for similar charities near you! Imparting your donations thoughtfully can make the decluttering experience feel less like loss to more like sharing!
Imparting your donations thoughtfully can make the decluttering experience feel less like loss to more like sharing!
Office and Craft Supplies
One of the most common categories of items that people end up with too much of are office/craft supplies! They are fun to buy (that’s actually a hobby itself, it seems!) and we generally accumulate more than we need.
Instead of devoting valuable real estate in our homes to these items (or throwing them in the recycling bin or trash), take them to be used by those who need them.
One great place to send your office and craft supplies is to teachers and students in need. Last year, 95% of teachers reported using their own money to purchase supplies for their classrooms. The average amount spent was $479! A local service – Schoolhouse Supplies – is working to alleviate this burden on teachers.
The mission of Schoolhouse Supplies is to provide free school supplies for teachers and students in need in the Portland Area. They are working to reduce the socioeconomic gap in school supply availability.
One of Schoolhouse Supplies’ programs is the Free Store for Teachers. Educators in the Portland School District can come replenish their classroom supplies with donations from the community – relieving the financial burden of teaching in a lower-income school.
Another wonderful program is Schoolhouse Supplies’ backpack program. The non-profit partners with local businesses to fill brand new backpacks with school supplies and distributes them to local children in need. Since 2003 they’ve donated over 157,000 backpacks!
So, box up your excess paper, rulers, pens, globes, office trays, and all-things-artful and gift them to grateful teachers and students!
Obsolete electronics are often large and take up a lot of room in homes and offices. Last year, I shared how to prepare your electronics to be recycled in this segment for More Good Day Oregon.
Once you’ve removed your sensitive information, here is another Portland, OR resource to consider: Free Geek.
According to their website, “Free Geek’s mission is to sustainably reuse technology, enable digital access, and provide education to create a community that empowers people to realize their potential.”
Free Geek staff and volunteers accept your outdated electronics, and refurbish them to provide tech access in their “digital inclusion” programs. Volunteers learn about rebuilding computers in their intern program and then can earn a free computer. Students aged K-12 are also invited to volunteer to get access to a free computer. Finally, they offer hardware grants to nonprofits, schools, and community change organizations to provide refurbished computers and other technologies.
According to Free Geek’s website, they have successfully diverted 1.3 million items from landfills since 2000. Amazingly, over 72,000 technology devices have been given new life and plugged back into the Portland community.
Donating to Free Geek in the Portland area, or a similar non-profit near you, frees up your space while providing jobs in your community and access to technology for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. It’s a win all around!
Whether it’s over the counter or prescription medications, improper drug disposal negatively affects our waterways. Before you throw those old medications in the trash, consider that they will end up in a landfill, leaching chemicals into our soil and water. However, keeping expired and unneeded medications around the home is also dangerous for a variety of reasons.
To help solve this problem, many local police stations accept medications. Gather up your unused, expired, or unneeded medications and drop them at your police station to ensure proper disposal.
Find a list of DEA controlled substance disposal locations near you here.
We hope these unique clutter disposal resources help you get rid of your excess stuff responsibly! For more resources on giving well in the Portland, OR area, check out our Life Simplifying Services page and the following blogs:
- Used Building Materials
- Clothing and Household Goods
- Medical Supplies
- Craft Supplies
- Musical Instruments
- Warm Clothing
- Wedding Dresses
This recent trend toward decluttering – and the sheer amount of stuff that is leaving homes – should serve as a wakeup call. It’s time for us to look at what and how much we buy.
An easy trap for a lot of people to fall into is buying things just because they are on sale. Some people just get giddy for a trip to the Dollar Store. Others accumulate way too much overage at warehouse stores like Costco and other club stores.
After investing the time and energy to declutter your home, be vigilant about what you allow back in. You’ll save your sanity and your budget by reducing your accumulation. If it feels difficult to stop, it’s time to get out your magnifying glass and look at what’s behind your shopping habit.
Before buying things to bring into your home, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Consider this: The more extraneous stuff you buy, the less money you have for the things that really matter to you.
The more items you pack into your home, the less space for living.
Here’s to donating responsibly and to reclaiming your space and your life!
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