As an eco-friendly company with a promise to use less than 25% plastic by 2025, we seek to prioritize the planet in our own business practices and teach our clients to do the same. At Abundance Organizing, we are committed to offering eco-friendly organizing solutions and products and to teaching our clients how to increase sustainability within their households. Donating responsibly as a company, and teaching our clients to donate responsibly, is one way we can practically do this. It is important to know what charitable organizations are in need of and what items they have no use for. This involves researching the purpose and needs of organizations in your area and not depleting them even further of their own resources by handing them items they have no use for. Your research will help you to also learn about the needs in your community and may surprise you at the items that can be reused and recycled. Here are some great tips on how to donate responsibly:
THE GREEN ASPECT OF DONATING AND REUSING
Charitable organizations use their own resources to sort through donations they receive and then to dispose of items that cannot be used. We can all do our part to research what organizations are most in need of and what items they cannot use. Once you start doing research, you may also be surprised at the items that can be reused. For example, those old torn and stained towels, which may be destined for the dump, are very much appreciated by the SPCA. Another great example of this is donations to the food bank. Instead of just throwing away food, here is a great article on the Surprising Dos and Don’ts of Food Donations. Waste is ultimately reduced when new items are not created. You will save money and natural resources and protect the environment when you recycle items and donate responsibly.
SET UP A DONATION CENTER IN YOUR HOME
You can set up a donation center in your closet, garage, in the guest room, or just about anywhere else you would like. Yes, this can become a part of your home and a specific way that you mindfully seek to prioritize the planet by passing on items you no longer need to be used by others. Have you checked out the Buy Nothing Project? An item you are no longer using may be the exact item that someone in your community needs. Whether you decide to be committed to a lifestyle of decluttering and recycling by routinely going through your items or by planning a specific purge, having a donation center in your home is a great way to ensure that items pulled to be donated do not lay around in piles, or – even worse – make their way back into your drawers and closets! You can organize the items into piles according to the intended destination. When the area designated as your donation center is full, this signals to you that it is time to schedule some pickups or make some drop offs.
DO YOUR RESEARCH TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
In order to donate responsibly, you must spend some time researching organizations and their specific needs. Whether it is by word of mouth, looking on websites, making phone calls, or visiting location sites, do your research! Find out what resources they need so that you know what you can recycle. For example, did you know that the Children’s Museum of Richmond takes toilet paper rolls and egg cartons? These are just two of the interesting items on their list! If you are in the local RVA area, this a great organization to support – they give so much back to the community! Knowing your organizations will help you also with pick-ups and drop-offs. Knowing the parameters of a drop-off are so important and it can save you a trip if you can schedule a pickup.
COMPILE A LIST AND KEEP IT HANDY
Once you do your research and start compiling a list of charitable organizations, keep that list handy. This will help you to keep charities in mind throughout the year as you discard and purge items in your home. We have a list compiled of Donation Centers and Consignment Stores in Central Virginia for those of you around the Richmond area and a list of Donation Centers and Consignment Stores in Charlottesville for those of you around that area. Once you do your research, you will be surprised at the needs you learn about in your own community. You will begin to start thinking of specific charities when you see items in your donate pile that can be reused and recycled. Become a resource with your knowledge of charitable organizations around you and pass the information onto others. Have fun with this and let it inspire you and others!
GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Although it does take more planning and effort, it really is a wonderful thing to be mindful of the local needs in your area. This allows you to give back to your community and helps items to be better reused and recycled in your own area. Not all charitable organizations can take or are in need of the same items. For example, not all charities take sheets or large appliances and furniture. With that being said, Caritas is very much in need of sheets and furniture that is in good condition. This is because the purpose of this Richmond-based nonprofit is to provide assistance to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or addiction. They need these specific items in order to set up individuals and families in new living quarters. If you are in the local RVA area, then check out Caritas!
WORK TOGETHER TO PURSUE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
It may seem a little overwhelming to commit to taking your donations to different locations if there is no pick up option. So – streamline this process by working together with friends! Plan an event together where each person is responsible for taking a portion of the group’s items to a specific drop-off location. If you have five people and five different drop-off locations, then this will only be one trip for each person instead of five. Combining your resources will save everyone a lot of time. Another idea of working with friends is to focus together on just one specific area to declutter. We have a great blog post on decluttering your closet for Dress for Success –another fabulous charitable organization to support in the Richmond area. Working together to pursue sustainability is such a benefit to all.
A NOTE ABOUT SHOPPING SECONDHAND
Did you know that Richmond’s fashion scene in the consignment department is booming? Check out the recent article from Richmond Magazine – “A Second Coming” – for more on this. People are loving buying and selling secondhand as shoppers are more conscious about green living. We also LOVE this because it means there is decluttering going on in #RVA. People are seeing the value in letting items go, knowing that someone else will find these items as treasures. If you are looking to consign, we recommend StitchBack – this company makes consigning so easy, and they are quite responsible. StitchBack pays you for items they know will sell well, and then donates or recycles the items they cannot sell. Donations specifically support the RVA community and recycled items go to textile recyclers in order to keep clothes out of landfills. As you can see, consigning and shopping secondhand are just a couple other ways of responsibly recycling materials.
What are some of your favorite charitable organizations to donate to? Let us know! Don’t forget to check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook if you have any questions and our blog for more resources. We always want to hear from you and would love to know about which organizations are important to you!