For many, this time of year is associated with gift giving. And gift giving is usually associated with gift receiving, which can mean new things coming into your home. Therefore, this is a great time of year to do some uncluttering. Donating or giving away items that are no longer useful to you might make someone else’s holidays brighter. If you’re having guests for the holidays, you have another incentive to unclutter, especially if you’ve been using the guest room as a storage space.
The following are suggestions for what you might want to unclutter right now.
Do you have seasonal holiday decorations that you’re no longer using? Maybe you’ve grown tired of some items, or you’ve accumulated more than you have room to store, or you’ve just decided to simplify your decorating over the years. You might also have things such as holiday cookie cutters and wrapping supplies that just aren’t getting used.
This is a great time of year to donate or freecycle all of these items. I keep a box in my garage that says “freecycle at Christmas,” because things that are hard to place in May get claimed quickly in early December.
Do you have warm clothing that isn’t getting worn any more? If you’re in the United States or Canada, you might check to see if there’s a One Warm Coat drive going on in your area. Despite the name, these drives also accept other outerwear that helps keep people warm: sweaters, sweatshirts, scarves, hats, mittens, etc.
Since toys are such a popular holiday gift, it makes sense to clear out any that have been outgrown or gone out of favor. Some popular toy-focused charities such as Toys for Tots only accept new toys, but other charities will take used ones that are in good condition and not missing any parts. Consider organizations that work with foster children (such as the Foster Care Support Foundation in Georgia) and daycare centers (such as Helping Hands Childcare in California). Organizations such as Goodwill often accept toys, too — you can check to see if your local Goodwill is one that does, like mine.
Intended gifts that were never given
If you have items you picked up years ago, thinking they would surely be a good gift for someone, it may be time to donate them if you still have no specific recipients in mind.
Things on a local charity’s wish list
Homeless shelters and many other charities have wish lists on their websites, or you can call and ask what they need. A charity near me that helps homeless families has an extensive wish list, including arts and crafts supplies, backpacks, clothes for all ages, linens and bedding, and household items like lamps, alarm clocks, and flashlights. You could identify a specific charity and see how many items on its list you could provide from things you’re no longer using.
Be sure to pay attention to which items must be new in order to be accepted. Also, please respect an organization’s wishes when it asks for items that are “gently used” or “like new.”