How can we declutter time for a good cause? We aren’t actually tripping over badly organised time, but we can spend a good deal of our precious time feeling guilty about clutter, procrastinating about cleaning up and looking for things we have misplaced in the mess. Once you have decluttered then you need to commit to simple rules. If you got it out, put it away. If you picked it up, then put it back, if you opened it, then shut it, if you finished it, replace it. If you no longer need it, move it on. It can be as easy as having habits like these. If others are undermining your good efforts, then print this mantra out and pin it where they can see it. Reward good behaviour with praise.
Very few people are going to have a car just sitting around doing nothing, but this is worth thinking about if you are going to upgrade. With trade-in deals not always what you would hope for, there’s another option – donate your vehicle and get a tax deduction. When our Founder Melina got a new vehicle, she donated her car (pictured) to Kids Under Cover. While the car didn’t have a high street value, it had something special – the car had driven Hollywood star Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr Burns on the Simpsons. She left a note for its new owners telling them the story.
Sometimes decluttering isn’t about physical space. Sometimes it is about getting rid of things that are taking up mental space. Do you have any gift vouchers that aren’t really your thing and although you thought you might re-gift them, you just haven’t got around to it? Now they are going to expire and probably go to waste. What if you gifted them to a charity or organisation so they could put them to good use? Often the recipient is someone who has had a hard time and could do with a little luxury or a useful gift like clothing or tools.
“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” – Donald Horban Now that you are well into your decluttering you might discover you don’t need quite as much furniture as you used to. Think about it, one less bookshelf = lots more space.
We’ve already tackled bikes, so now it’s time to work out the rest of your workout gear. Is it lurking in the cupboard under the stairs? Or hiding in the garage? Maybe there is some under the bed or in the bottom of the wardrobe. Wherever it’s hiding, it is time to declutter your old sporting and exercise equipment. If you didn’t use it within the last three years, then you are unlikely to use it again. Homes and sheds are filled with sporting equipment we had as kids – or in some cases were hobbies of your own kids – and let’s be honest, it has never been used since. Let go of the guilt of not using it and pass it on to someone who will. Charities like FairGame and Boots for All collect sporting equipment to distribute in the community. This equipment is used to ensure access for those who would otherwise miss out on the benefits of team sports and healthy exercise and can mean the world to someone trying to …
Over the years you may have accumulated tools for specific and often never to be repeated jobs Perhaps you discovered the hard way that DIY is not your strong suit or maybe your tools are just so badly stored you have purchased tools again because you just couldn’t see what you had. Time to drag it them all out, reorganise and get rid of the stuff you don’t need. In many places there are community initiatives such as Men’s Sheds that will take donated tools and your random collection of screws, nails, nuts, bolts and other building materials.
Do you own a bicycle? More than one? Actually ride it? Or do you have one that has been sitting in the garage since you gave up, grew out of it or got a new one? A bicycle can mean a great deal to someone in a remote or developing country where they might travel by foot to school or work over distances most of us wouldn’t cover in a week. It can mean the difference between getting to a health clinic or getting to a school to get an education. Even where you live, your old bike could make a great deal of difference to someone that can’t afford one.
Got a fabric stash? That material may have been cute, trendy, looked like it was easy to sew, is the leftovers from a sewing project you made, a garment you started or is the entire allowance for something you’ll never start. Sound like you or someone you know? A pile of cotton, satin, flannel, fleece, velvet, gabardine, stretch or whatever you have piled up is not much use if it’s not being used. For some people, parting with remnants will be a big call. If you are going to sew with it, get your machine out and do exactly that. If not, it might be time to part ways.
Plenty of us have projects and hobbies that we’ve taken an interest in, bought all the ‘stuff’ for and never started. If you’re never going to assemble, cut and paste, weld, construct or paint that *insert project here*, then maybe it’s time you handed it over to someone who will. First there are all those supplies that need sorting, rearranging, and storage. Start with the easy stuff – toss any dried up or broken items. Assess what is left. If you are giving up a particular craft, then box your items like with like, ready to donate.
Never been a knitter? Then take a day off decluttering and tackle something else that’s been on your To Do list, because this post is aimed solely at the people who have a surplus of wool that’s been sitting round for a really long time. Today is a great opportunity to assess your wool stash. There are a couple of options. You might just feel re-energised to whip out your needles and start knitting up a storm to create warm things to donate. At the m.a.d.woman foundation, we’re so grateful to receive packs of the likes of new, hand-knitted beanies, scarves and booties to pass on to kids and adults in need. There are also charities that collect knitted squares and create blankets – Knit One, Give One programs.