Along with having gratitude at Thanksgiving, I am a big believer in giving and volunteering during the Holiday season. If you have been clearing your clutter and have things in good condition, why not consider giving them to a local charity? Charities also need support with financial donations as well as volunteer hours.
One of the reasons I wanted to write this blog post is because I was very fortunate to benefit from the kindness of others when I was younger. As a teenager I was helped from services at the Fred Finch Youth Center. The generosity of strangers allowed me to have opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Now that I am in position where I can help others, this is one of the places that I give back to.
Here are some guidelines when donating your stuff to charities. Non-profits also need your dollars as well, especially during the Holidays.
Give Me What I Need. Learn what the charity needs. Donating what they don’t want makes more work for them. If you wouldn’t donate it to a friend or family, don’t dump it on the non-profit. While I try to be as green as possible, some times items are worn out, no longer useful and need to be put in the trash.
When I Wish Upon A Star. Many charities have a wish list or you can conveniently donate through Amazon smiles. No time is wasted and the charity gets what they need and you don’t spend time guessing what they really could use.
Paying it Forward. If you don’t want to add to someone’s clutter or more stuff to organize, consider giving a donation on behalf of a person on your gift list. You could also ask that a donation be given in your name and make gift giving a breeze for your friends and family.
Many non-profits need your time, skill and expertise. Non-profits keep track of their volunteer hours that can help them be competitive in being awarded grants. If you are going to be a volunteer, be great. Here are some tips on how to be a good volunteer:
Show Up. If you signed up to work, show up. Unless it is a real emergency, don’t cancel at the last minute. People are counting on you and arranging schedules based on when you said you would come.
Have a good attitude. Working for a charity can be stressful as employees sometimes see heartbreaking things on a regular basis. Be a good listener, be positive and don’t offer constructive criticism without a solution.
Be flexible. Maybe they need you for your ability to write or crunch numbers, but right now they need help in stuffing envelopes for the big charity gala or end of the season ask. Roll up your sleeves and help!
Commit. Having committed volunteers makes a lasting difference. Volunteering on a regular, long-term basis maximizes your skills and in turn helps the charity.
Past the season. If you find a charity you love, you can continue to donate your items, your money or your time and talent after the holidays. If you have a child/children, get them involved and teach them early on about giving back. The world is a better place when we offer a hand to help others.
Here is a list of the charities that Collector Care regularly donates to in the San Francisco Bay area and in central California. Some of the links includes wish lists.
What charities do you regularly donate to or volunteer your time? How do you share your abundance with those less fortunate? Share your comments below.
Does your favorite non-profit need organizing? Would you like to donate a gift certificate for clearing clutter and home organization to someone who might not have the funds right now? Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss your gift recipient’s needs.
Sometimes it seems that we have lost the reason for the season. I am really happy to see that this year some stores have decided against being open on Thanksgiving. I believe it is important for people to slow down, have thanks and celebrate friends and family. Thanksgiving is the one time I turn off my phone and don’t check my email so I can be fully present with my family.
Do you have gratitude? So many times we rush through life or concentrate on what we don’t have rather than focusing on what we do have.
I have a friend and colleague who is posting a daily gratitude every day this year. It has inspired me and reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for. Do you know of anyone who shares their gratitude on social media?
How do you express your gratitude? Are you challenged because you think you have to express your gratitude a certain way? Respect your lifestyle and what works for you. Hear are some suggestions to get you started:
Keep a gratitude journal. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You could use a school notebook. I do suggest keeping it all in one place so you can reflect on all you have to be grateful for, especially if you are having a rough day. It doesn’t have to be on paper. Go electronic and keep in a word document that you can easily access.
Say thank you upon waking up. If you are stuck with what to be thankful for, be have gratitude for being alive and give thanks for every morning when you wake up.
Share on social media. Be like my friend and express yourself on social media. You will probably have an impact on others and remind them for all they have to be grateful for. I have found there is something powerful about expressing your gratitude in public.
Say one thing aloud you are grateful for. You could do this when you are in the shower or driving to work. If you do this with something you do daily you will most likely remember to do it. Don’t focus on coming up with something huge. It can be for simple things like a gorgeous sunset or that you had enough cash for your child’s lunch.
How do you express your gratitude? When you are unhappy or stressed what is the one thing you can have gratitude for? Share your comments below.
Would you like to express your gratitude for a friend or family member? We have gift certificates available for clearing clutter and home organization. Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email email@example.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss your friend or family member’s needs.
Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%? Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills!1 However, you don’t have to add to the statistics.
Here are some of my favorite ways to be green and eco-friendly during the holidays. Not only can some of these tips save you money and time, but they can also reduce your stress. Who wouldn’t want to reduce stress during the already crazy Holidays!
Decorations. Some people purchase new decorations every single year. You don’t have to. If you want to change your look this season, consider swapping decorations with friends or hitting up garage sales. You can usually score barely used decorations at a fraction of the cost you would pay for new ones.
Don’t forget to look to the great outdoors! You could use pinecones and greens for a fragrant smelling display. Thread dried apples or dried cranberries and popcorn for a garland. Making gingerbread houses is a wonderful family tradition that can then be given away as gifts or used to decorate the house.
Gift Wrap. If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. 1
Check out Pinterest and other cool sites to see how clever people are with being green during the season. Here are a few ways to be green in your gift-wrap: Reuse old maps, leftover fabric, or scarves/handkerchiefs that can also serve as a gift.
Look for reusable fabric gift bags, use pages from a kids coloring book or newspaper, or use a warm iron to un-wrinkle last year’s giftwrap.
Cards. An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. 1 If you are going to buy paper cards, make sure that they are recycled and have post consumer waste. Check out Paper cards: https://www.paperculture.com/cards-to-trees.html
There are also lots of wonderful options to send online greetings. A few of my favorites:
http://www.123greetings.com Can send up to 100 people..
http://www.treegreetings.com The e-card that plants a tree!
http://www.birthdayalarm.com/ Lets you set up reminders for your e-cards.
Gifts. According to a national survey, 70% of Americans would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending. 1 Instead of buying another thing to dust or the 100th item in a collection, why not give an experience? What about tuition for a class, a gym membership or tickets to the opera? You could use your creativity and create a cookbook with favorite recipes or have a family photo album.
I like to give consumables: homemade scrubs, DIY jars filled with all the ingredients for brownies or soup and/or kits, such as everything you need to start a garden. If you are looking for an already made item for a friend or family member, check out my customized aromatherapy blends. Zen mind would be great for the season: http://www.collectorcare.com/shop/
Travel. If each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about 20 miles), we’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons1. With all the technology we have today and the hassle of airports, why not stay home for the holidays? Use Skype or your webcam to open up gifts together and catch up. You could create a preplanned video with a greeting, singing carols or opening gifts.
If you are going to travel, offset your carbon print with one of the following options:
Don’t forget to tune up your car to get the best possible gas mileage if you are going to travel.
What are your favorite ways to be green during Christmas? What are you favorite ways to be a good steward of the earth? Share in the comments below.
Ready to cross some items off your gift list? Consider giving the gift of cleaning, organizing or decluttering? Collector Care not only helps client’s clear clutter and get organized, but also offers extreme cleaning and services for hoarders.
Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how you could give our services as a gift this Holiday season.
Photo credit: http://www.greentalents.de