Simplifying Your Life: Places to Give Your Excess Stuff
In America, you rarely see someone without clothes because they don’t own any. Some voluntarily go that route, but that’s another issue. Due to our prosperity, we almost cultivate an environment of greed and acquiring excess material just because we can. This should not be. Whether you are blessed with much, or little, if you can stay focused and grounded on the basic principles of giving you will be amazed how much more your joy will feel complete.
Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.
So this week, my goal is to thin out some excess in the house. For me, it will take baby steps. It is amazing how comfortable we become with what we are used to. Yet, I feel when we pair down, it helps us be more appreciative of what we do have, and less stressed with this simpler approach to life.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
So what can we do with our excess stuff?
- Donate to a local library. Ask the librarian if they are accepting book donations. Some libraries are, some aren’t, but it’s always good to check.
- Put a box with books on the edge of your driveway that says “free”. Someone just did this on the end of my street, and I got some great old-school kids books. I was thrilled!
- Prison Book Program I haven’t used this program yet, but it is an organization that was established in 1972, that allows you the access to send books to prisoners. Family and friends are not allowed to send books to those they know in prison, so your books are a desired commodity.
- Pay attention to what friends and neighbors enjoy reading. Consider passing along some books to them; or if you both have kids, pass along some of the kids books that you are ready to cycle out. I know I personally love getting new-to-me “used” books, especially kids books. We read three stories every night, so it’s nice to have some new reading material once in a while.
- Donate to the Salvation Army. Go to the cashier at your local salvation army and ask where they would like you to put your clothes donations. They even offer you a tax write off if you desire.
- There are clothes drop boxes all over the place. Look for the big containers that say clothes drop box.
- See if your area has a local swap shop, or clothes ministry where they give away clothes. In my area there is a Swap Shop, which is a free clothes thrift store in Potter Hollow, NY. Drop off used good condition clothes (no holes, stains etc) and shop for yourself for free.
- Find a friend or someone in your area that has a similar size to you. I have been blessed with people giving me clothes (Thanks Mrs. H!) and it has saved me so much money. I feel blessed every time I receive them. My kids have also been able to get most of their clothes passed along to them, or given as gifts, and I am so thankful!!
- Find out if your area has a Facebook group that allows you to post free things. In my area there is Free Items in 518 Area, but there are similar groups in other areas. Just go to your Facebook page and put in the word “Free” in your search bar to see if there is a local group in your area that does the same. You can post things you are giving away for free, and bless someone in your area.
- Salvation Army also accepts furniture donations
- Offer furniture on a free Facebook group, or even consider posting a pic on Facebook for your friends. I received an awesome bureau from a friend that way (Thanks, Laura).
- Another place to consider is Craigslist. You not only can buy things here, but also give and get things for free. In your search bar, type Craigslist with your local area. After you find your local Craigslist, you will see under the “For Sale” section there is actually a link called “Free”. You can search for what other people are giving away, or you can post what extra things you are interested in giving away to others for free. If you are going to post something for free, go to the home page of craigslist. On the far left, under craigslist, it says “Post to classifieds”, click on this link. Then press “For sale by owner” button. It will prompt you to continue. On the next screen it will give you an option that says “Free stuff”. Continue following their cues, it will be pretty self explanatory.
- Put items at the foot of the driveway with a “free” sign on it. In my local area you are able to do this, I don’t know if everyone’s area accomodates this. Don’t forget to put a “Free” sign on it, because I know I personally have passed things up because they were at the end of someones driveway, but did not say “Free.”
- Post free items in the local newspaper. I am not exactly sure how it works, but I am sure if you call your local newspaper, they could help you out.
Whether you have a surplus in your garden or just bought some extra food, what can you do so that you don’t throw it out or have it go to waste?
- Invite someone over for dinner. Encourage fellowship, bless someone rather than wasting the food.
- Bring extra veggies from garden to church or other social gatherings you have during the week. Veggies are expensive, so when there are free veggies offered, that can be a real blessing to someone.
- Drop off extra food at local food pantry. If there are cans at your house that are just not finding a home in your recipes, you can always donate them to the food pantry and bless someone else, rather than having it expire in your cupboard.
- Consider donating to Second Chance Toys. They accept certain clean/gently used toys and offers it to a child in need. The certain locations and criteria’s are posted on their website.
- Salvation army also accepts toy donations. As with donations anywhere, make sure they are working, and are clean/gently used; something that you would consider buying.
- Hospitals accept new toys, and I am sure your donation will brighten someone’s day.
- Local Day care is another great place to donate. Most of us have seen Toy Story 3, daycares go through lots of toys, because there are a lot of kids cycling through them. So consider calling up a local day care and asking if they are interested in any toy donations.
- Ask shelters in your area if they are accepting toy donations. An item that may no longer be used at your house could be the encouragement someone else needs.
- Children’s Homes. You can search in the yellowpages to see what local children’s homes are in your area. Give them a call and see what type of toy donations they are accepting.
- Church nursery. Ask the person in charge of your churches children program if they are accepting any toys for the nursery. They may or may not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Freecycle is a free site that you can list what you are giving away, and also what you would like. It is user-friendly, and offers the ability to downsize some of your excess stuff for free. Freecycle also allows you to stick to your general location, so people viewing your post won’t be traveling too far to pick it up.
There are so many ways we can be a good steward of our resources that God has given us. Take the time to bless others. Make the most of what you have, and be reminded of all the things you have to be thankful for.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.