So. Much. Stuff.
Before we went away for 18 months in 2009, I put a rule in place in our house. ‘For every thing you bring in, you need to take a thing out’. It was part of a strategy to reduce the excess ‘things’ we owned. It worked pretty well and helped to make the house manageable for those staying on home exchanges.
Since then we have had a major renovation and another minor renovation that have both seen me downsize and de-clutter. But still there are things. So many, many things. We stopped spending money on ‘things’, a long time ago, preferring to divert that spending to travel. And yet, we still have a house full of things.
I am by no means a minimalist but I’m also not a maximalist. (real word!) We simply do not need any more stuff. We need to reduce.
Not Everyone Wants Your Donation
Like many, over the past few years, I have become keenly aware of the amount of waste that our lives create. Not just food and packaging but in other ways too. Household items. Clothing. Electronics. Linen. Unwanted gifts. It never ends. As part of our strategy to reduce, I have been determined to donate items to people who can make real use of them. I think of this as Donating With Purpose. This is my preferred option rather than just donating them to an op shop where, sadly, they may still end up in landfill.
Donating With Purpose is not as easy as it seems. It takes time to research just exactly who needs your unwanted items. A few early front runners had too many donations and were no longer accepting. Some, such as school fetes, do not for the most part, have white elephant or 2nd hand stalls anymore. Others did not respond to my initial email or phone call.
3 Ideas for Donating With Purpose
Here are 3 suggestions about how you can donate clean, serviceable items for re-use and therefore reduce items going to landfill. If these businesses are not in your town, there is sure to be a similar business nearby.
- Support The Girls – donate your clean bras to this great charity who will distribute to those in need. They even offer a fitting service to make sure women get the correct bra. There are collection points in most States of Australia. www.supportthegirls.com.au
- Library of Things – we donated a number of items to the local Share Shed, a ‘library of things’ for the local community. The idea is to join via a small membership and ‘borrow’ items you need and then return them. This stops items being purchased in the first place and gives donated items a second life. Tools and camping equipment are particularly popular borrowing categories. www.shareshed.org.au
- Doomadgee Deadly Runners – earlier this year, the Doomadgee community in remote Queensland, in conjunction with the PCYC, set up a running group. They asked for donations of used running shoes for their participants, who were all running barefoot. Their call was answered by the wider Qld community but the Deadly Runners can always do with more! Here is the Facebook link: www.facebook.com/doomadgeedeadlyrunners so you can see what they are up to. The mailing address is:
- Melissa Gilbert
Doomadgee Deadly Runners
515 Goodeedawa Rd
- Melissa Gilbert
Look, in this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to stem the tide of ‘stuff’ coming into your house. But you can slow it down. More importantly, you can reduce your footprint on the world by putting some thought into where your excess ‘things’ can really make a difference.
More on Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in coming months.