Winter Cleaning & Giving

The holiday season is upon us! It’s a wonderful time to showcase your subpar gift-wrapping skills, show loved ones that you were, in fact, listening to them all year with the perfect gift(s). And let’s not forget, you also add to your ever-growing collection of yearly hit-or-miss holiday surprises. As wonderful as it may feel to be on the receiving end of the gift spectrum, it’s actually just as wonderful to give (and give to those in need)! And what better time than the holiday season! Keep reading below to find some helpful tips on how to successfully complete your first Winter Cleaning & Giving (and many more to come):

Tip #1: Best place to start is with your closet

Ah, the closet. A safe haven for all your possessions, whether worn always or just that one time, at that one particular place. But guess what? You don’t need all those shoes, Susan!  Open your closet doors and really ask yourself, “do I really wear everything that’s in here?” And I mean everything. If not, it’s time to get rid of some stuff: shoes, clothing, hats, coats, you name it. However, hit the breaks on a few things such as items with sentimental value (e.g., a wedding dress) or items that you may not wear all that often but need for a special occasion (e.g., a ball gown that you wear to your yearly 18th century Halloween party). Also, don’t hand out stuff that absolutely no-one needs: undergarments (unless completely new and unworn), that shoe your dog mercilessly chewed through, or your moon-cratered shirt. Toss. It. Out.

Pros: You give to those who need most during this time of year, and you make room in your own closet for new things. Yay!

Cons: You may find stuff you didn’t want to find? You should know your closet better than me.

Tip #2: Don’t just stop with your closet, invade your entire home!

Look through the rest of your place. Are there items other people at home don’t need? Did the kids grow out of last year’s clothes and shoes? Do you have some furniture you don’t use anymore? And what about the kitchen, are there any unopened canned goods that you don’t plan on eating? If yes, all of these items can be donated! Just bag or box them all! And as an added bonus tip: be sure to section and label items. Pair shoes together, group foods, bag/box according to clothing type, etc.

Pros: You de-clutter the rest of your home, your kids also learn the meaning of giving, and you no longer will suffer from the pain that is stepping on unwanted toys all over the floor. Voilà!

Cons: Other willful household participants may complain, something about “invasion of privacy” or whatnot. However, the pros outweigh the cons.

Tip #3: Once you’ve gathered all your goodies, find places to donate

Or find them before you start collecting. Either way, there are plenty of organizations you can donate items to year-round: Goodwill, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross (just to name a few). You can always search online for any local organizations accepting donations. Be sure to also read any guidelines for items they are currently accepting. And if you’re stuck, just get out there and ask! That’s the spirit of Winter Cleaning & Giving (and just about everything Service Keepers).

Pros: You can finally say “goodbye” to the stuff you no longer need, so that someone else can say, “hello.”

Cons: A minor headache from the overwhelming number of places you could possibly donate to. Promise you, it’ll pass.

Tip #4: Change it up every year and make it a family tradition!

Winter Cleaning & Giving can be your next family tradition! Get everyone involved: kids, spouse, family, friends, neighbors (even your mailman). Giving in a time of need can be a learning experience for everyone, especially the young ones! And you can always find new places to donate to every year. Have each person you know choose a place/organization/cause, and see what items you can find in your home to give.

Pros: There’s more to talk about at the dinner table.

Cons: Absolutely none. Donate today!

cleaning giving together tradition

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