As a professional organizer, donating is all that thrills my soul! Loading my van up to the brim and buckling items into my seats for safe passage; I just can’t get enough of it. It’s so exciting to see gently used items get a second chance at life. And I’m fairly sure that if I listened hard enough, I’d hear shouts of joy coming from the unloved coffee mugs and barely worn jeans.
But all too often, these items slated for departure never actually leave. They sit in boxes, bags, or random piles around our homes and inside the trunks of our cars. They are SOOOO close to new life, and yet so far away. The poor things!
So how can we actually get our donated items where they need to go?
Launch Pads Are a Necessity.
Do you have a place where you store items that need to leave your home? Everyday items like your wallet, briefcase, book bags and even the sports equipment required for tonight’s game should have a place near the door you most frequently exit when leaving your home. Most likely you’ve already got some hooks, a table, and a closet near this zone we’ll now call your Launch Pad. (It’s not just a clever name. It’s meant to launch those items so that you can complete all your tasks for the day without wasting valuable time searching for misplaced keys, phones, cash, or projects.) Your donated items deserve a spot too. Picking a primary place to store your donated items will help everyone in the home know exactly where to put something that is no longer used or loved but still has life left in it. I’d recommend a sturdy bag or bin.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled.
Storing your donated items near your launch pad ensures that you’ll pass them daily. You’ll have an excuse to evaluate how full the bin, bag, or box is so that you’ll know when it’s time to deposit its contents. If you dig donating as much as I do, then you might have additional collection points around the home. Keeping a secondary bin in a child’s closet provides a quick place to drop the gently used shirt that no longer fits or the toy that is no longer interesting. Check the additional collection points weekly (like when you’re collecting the dirty laundry) and don’t forget to transfer those items to your primary collection point in or near your launch pad.
Complete the Cycle.
This is the hardest step of all because it takes something most of us feel like we don’t have time to do: follow through. Now that you have a place to collect your items and you know how often the bin fills up, you’re better equipped to plan for your drop-off. Having a plan is the game-changing secret to success! Quickly make a list on paper (or in your head) of the donation stations near you. I personally recommend manned stations because I LOVE a good tax-deductible receipt for every donation made. Now think about the week ahead. Will you be going by any of these donation stations? Most likely your answer will be affirmative with multiple options. If you’re not sure of a donation facility near you, click here to find them! If you think you’ll forget to bring your donations with you, set a reminder on your phone or stick a big, bright Post-It to your bin with the day you’ll be headed that direction. Habits are hard to form, but keeping your bin near your keys will help you build that new habit much faster. After each drop-off, make sure to bring your empty bin back to your launch pad and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Your donations put people back to work. Never underestimate the power of your efforts!
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