Have you been taking part in No Buy July with me? If so, I am guessing you saved some extra money by using food in your freezer and pantry. Or, you may have found unforgotten items while shopping in your closet and bathroom storage.
Hopefully, you have learned that emptying the freezer and pantry this month has helped you better plan future grocery shopping. You may have discovered your authentic style by shopping your closet and creating new ensembles. Seeing what you have in your bathroom cabinet may have inspired you to finally use them for self-care.
And it’s likely that by doing the earlier challenges, you may have found more items than you need or other things that aren’t worth keeping. If you gained space, you may have seen the need to do some organizing along the way.
So, let’s take advantage of that this week by making No Buy July a Goodbye July. We can do that by the 3 D’s: declutter, dispose, and donate.
Before starting this challenge, get one or two good-sized boxes or bins and a heavy-duty trash bag. The boxes will be for donations, and the trash bag is for unusable items and well, trash.
If you spent this month shopping at home from your closet and bathroom cabinets, look back at what you found that you can no longer use or haven’t used.
First, the bathroom. Do you have extra purchases that you never got around to using? We can only use so many body washes, shampoos, cleansers, and lotions in a year, right? Choose all the items you won’t get to use before they expire and place them aside to donate. Trust me, when you need shampoo, you will find more at the store!
Next, the closet. What clothes items did you purchase that doesn’t work with your current style? If they don’t coordinate with anything you already own, let go. (If it makes you feel better, consider those items not as bad choices but your good taste when you bought them. Now your good taste is letting it go because you know it no longer works with what you have today.)
Remember that donating clothing items will bless someone else who would love to have them. And – they will not stay unused in your home for another year.
Now let’s get those things out of the bathroom and bedroom and into the donation box.
While in the bedroom, why not grab t-shirts with stains, tears, or so faded that you can’t tell what color they were initially. Time to dispose of them – get them in the trash bag. No, they aren’t worth saving for rags unless you are a painter and use a t-shirt daily for cleanup!
Hopefully as you used food in your pantry and freezer this month, you have already disposed of the expired and unusable foods. But now look for other items, such as the food you bought for a recipe you didn’t make. Or the French green beans that no one in your family likes. Instead of keeping them and believing they will eventually get used, take them out of the pantry now. Start another donation box for food items.
Now that you have gathered things you no longer use from the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, it’s time to get them out of the house. Once you have the items together, put them in your car today to drop them off the next time you are out. Otherwise, you will not have accomplished anything.
You can take your items to the local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or donate them at the places where they can be best used. For instance:
Women’s safe shelters love to accept simple clothing in good condition and new, unused toiletries for their clients.
Homeless shelters take small toiletries for men, nice socks, and t-shirts.
Food pantries need nonperishables in the current economy, as the number of families they must serve is multiplying. Check with your city to see where food pantries are located. Many churches have their own pantries that benefit the community in which they are located.
Please remember that foods like spices, jars of artichokes, roasted red peppers, or other non-traditional foods, plus foods close to their due date are often rejected at food pantries. (Contact your local food pantry’s website for a list of foods they accept.) If you don’t have a foodie neighbor who will take and use them, it’s best to just throw them away.
Have your kids help.
Your children can help you by looking through closets and other areas of the home for donations. One area to address may be children’s toys. Start early with your children by having them help you choose outgrown or unused toys to donate to other children. This will create empathy and a continual habit of giving and service as they grow older.
When my boys were young, I would have them go through their other toys after getting new things for birthdays or Christmas. We would decide what toys they hadn’t used in a long while or had outgrown that could be given to other kids. I would never use the language that we were “giving” that stuff away, but instead that we were “blessing” another child who otherwise would not have the opportunity to own a toy like it. I never had problems keeping their closets and toyboxes from overflowing.
Let me know in the comments if you have had any decluttering, disposing, or donating successes this week! Next week, the last Monday of July, I’m confessing the 4 categories of items that I have the most challenging time decluttering. Maybe they are for you too.