(Dear readers: Below is a guest post from Lorie Marrero, author of The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life, and creator of the website ClutterDiet.com. As some of you know, my landlord recently undertook a renovation that involved my losing two closets. I took the opportunity to go through my old clothes, and now have a massive pile that needs to, as I keep saying, “go to Goodwill.” Then I got to wondering: what does Goodwill do with this stuff? Enter Lorie, the national spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries International, who was gracious enough to write this post to tell us. Please go check out her website and book, and please donate your old stuff to Goodwill!)
by Lorie Marrero
Let’s be blunt about it—the stagnant stuff in your house is weighing you down. You are fussing over it, polishing it, maintaining it, and moving it around, but you’re not using it and valuing it.
Getting rid of your unneeded items like clothing and housewares is good for you. Donating them makes room for new, more useful items to come into your life, allows you to move forward from old memories and experiences, and simplifies your space and your daily decisions. But did you realize that donating these items is also good for the environment and for your own community? Your stagnant stuff is equivalent to time and services for the people who need it most, and donating it keeps it out of the landfill too, which helps everyone. Donating household items IS philanthropy.
Many people don’t realize that every 45 seconds of every business day, a person served by Goodwill® earns a good job. These jobs go far beyond the retail thrift stores that Goodwill operates—the revenue from the sale of these donated items provides services like job placement and career counseling, and Goodwill even creates jobs for those they serve, managing large contracted projects for local businesses like landscaping, document imaging, and assembly work. In this economy, we need community services like these more than ever.
Goodwill applies 83% of their collective revenue directly toward this mission of putting people to work! There is a new Donation Impact Calculator at http://donate.goodwill.org where you can see the actual results of your giving, like these examples:
- 5 pairs of shoes, 3 dresses and 2 purses = 1 hour of career counseling
- 1 bike and 5 video games = 1 hour of resume preparation
- 1 working computer = 8.1 hours of on-the-job training
- 2 chairs and a TV = 1.2 hours of a financial planning class
- 10 CDs or DVDs = 50 minutes of a job search class
Unfortunately, each year Americans throw 68 billion pounds of clothing and textiles into the landfill. And, for every one article of clothing they donate, consumers have at least 30 more articles of clothing that are ready to be given. Another problem is that people aren’t conscious of where they are donating and leave things at the nearest drop box they find. Some of these drop boxes may not even be benefitting a charity, or may give them as little as 5% of the revenue!
Goodwill has been re-using and repurposing items for over 100 years, reclaiming the value of both things and people. Let’s unlock the potential of your stuff so that everyone wins—the environment, the shoppers who get a bargain, the donors who receive a tax deduction, and the job seekers who need help overcoming barriers to finding employment. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “good riddance.” You can find your nearest donation center (and play with the Donation Impact Calculator) at http://donate.goodwill.org.
Certified Professional Organizer® Lorie Marrero is the author of The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life. She is also the creator of ClutterDiet.com, an innovative program allowing anyone to get expert help at an affordable price. Her organizing books and products are sold online and in stores nationwide. Lorie is the national spokesperson for Goodwill Industries International, and she is a sought-after expert for national media such as CNBC, Good Housekeeping, WGN News and Woman’s Day.