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From Piles to Smiles® organizing and productivity service provides personalized, non-judgmental, professional coaching and hands-on organizing assistance that can help you claim control of your hectic personal and business life.

Declutter to Benefit Charity

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Organizing and productivity ideas to help you experience the simplicity, harmony and freedom of being organized and in control.

Declutter to Benefit Charity

Sue Becker

During this holiday season of giving, wouldn’t it be nice to give some gifts that won’t cost you any money? I have a suggestion that may even save you money by providing a deduction on your income taxes – donating unwanted items to charity. Here are some ideas to help motivate you to let go while benefiting others:

Choose a charity whose mission you support to motivate you and make it easier to let go. Knowing your items will benefit someone who could really use them can be very compelling.

Start small. Filling just one box or bag with things you can easily part with, and getting it to your chosen charity, will make it easier to continue on your charitable mission.

Rethink gifts you’ve received. Just because you’ve received something as a gift doesn’t mean you must keep it. True gifts are given for you to enjoy, not to burden you. Because they come with no obligations, gifts are yours to do with as you wish, including giving them away.

Keep the memory, lose the item. Take pictures of items you want remember so you can let go of them without losing the memory of them.  

Ask yourself, “Am I better off keeping this item for myself, or could someone else benefit from it more?” Envisioning someone else benefiting from your donation can be very powerful.

Mark a box with a future date of your choice (e.g., six months from now). Put in the box items you haven’t used in a while but aren’t quite ready to let go of. Any time up until the date on the box, you may retrieve something to actually use. But when the day comes, don’t look in the box!  Just give it unopened to your chosen charity.

Donate two items every time you buy one item in the same category. This works well for clothes, and is a useful procedure for kitchen clutter as well. Use the dated box if it’s hard to let go.

Enjoy the results. Not only can you feel good about those who will benefit from your generosity, but you can also enjoy your less-cluttered, more beautiful and more functional home. Now that’s a holiday gift that will keep on giving!

This article was inspired by my colleague Katherine Anderson, author of The Faster I Work, the Behinder I Get – Organizing Wisdom for Survival in a Frenzied World.