Purging for Good

Spring cleaning is months away but I found myself not being able to stop once I started purging my home of things I didn’t use or need. The best part of downsizing is not the oh-so-proud feeling of accomplishment when you clean out your closet — although I admit it’s up there. It’s knowing that others less fortunate will be able to use what you give and make even better use of it than you ever would have had you kept it in your closet. In short, it’s recycling and reusing at its best.

As the temperatures drop, even in sunny California, it’s hard not to think about how a wool coat could help those who can’t afford to buy clothes to keep them warm; or what a gently worn pantsuit could do to help women trying to rebuild their lives after years of homelessness or abuse.

I have given away more than 20 bags of things so far to the Asian American Drug Abuse Program and I’m just getting started. I started with clothes, shoes and accessories. Then I recycled all of my travel, food, fashion and alumni magazines. Next up: my book shelf that is busting at the seams with books. I’m sure there are people and schools across the city, nation and world that could make better use of some of these used books than I would. I like to hang on to books I’ve liked but the truth is I don’t ever re-read them. So, in Disney’s wisdom, I’ve decided to let it go.

I am now conditioned to scan my home looking for things to give away and donate. Of course, I don’t give away junk that no longer works but you’d be surprised at how many perfectly serviceable items you own that have gathered dust over the years. Moreover, don’t forget the icing on the cake in the form of a tax write-off you get when you donate goods. Timing couldn’t be better for the home stretch of the 2014 tax year.

In this season of giving, consider gathering things you don’t need or use (I use the three-year rule – if you haven’t used, read or worn it in the last three years…) and giving them to those who not only need them but could also make better use of them and most importantly, your things would help them start a new life toward healing and success.