The small green building resembles a brightly colored playhouse. With the shingled roof and the opening that could easily be mistaken for a window, this building sitting in someone’s backyard would invite children to come inside and play. Where this particular building stands in the corner parking lot of a busy city intersection, however, it serves a totally different purpose. As a site for clothing donations, this green building collects hundreds of articles a day for those less fortunate in the community
Are You a Thrower or a Keeper?
If everyone in this world was a “keeper” the small green building used for clothing donations would not get much use. Thankfully though, most families have add least one person who is a “thrower.”
Americans have a lot of stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that it is overwhelming to keep track, organize, and sort all that we have. It should come as no surprise then that one of the latest trends in the nation is the push toward a philosophy of living more simply. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, a new movie scheduled to be released May 24, 2016 promotes a lifestyle different from the collection of stuff that many Americans now practice.
A direct benefit of both individuals and families getting rid of many of the things that clutter their life is the fact that others will benefit from the process. The decision to donate clothes, for instance, helps the person whose closet is stuffed to the brim as much as it helps the recipient of the donated clothing. Used clothing donations, in fact, play a part in the benefits of the 70% of people in the U.S. give to charity each year.
One of the scariest statistics about our U.S. society is that we consume nearly 20 billion garments a year. Broken down into individual statistics, this means that we purchase 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes per person every year. this amount represents more than one piece of clothing purchased per week by every single person in this country? Is it any wonder then that we have homes that are cluttered and full? Closets that are bursting at the seams, and drawers that will no longer shut?
And while that statistic may seem scary, the bottom line is much of that consuming is done by only a portion of the citizens. Another portion, those at the bottom end of the financial spectrum, does not even have clean underwear to put on for school everyday. Making the decision to give to the American Red Cross donations centers is a decision to help balance out the great divide between the have’s and the have not’s.
The worst part of the consumerism that goes on in this country is the report by the EPA that Americans throw away an average of 10 pounds of clothes per person each year. This significant amount of discarded clothing could be donated or, if the clothing is to worn or damaged to be donated, could be recycled.
Do You Have a Plan for Donating Your Used Items?
Every community has a variety of locations that accept donated clothing and other household items. Consider some of the following when you are getting ready to minimize the number of items you have in your home:
- Local churches. Many area churches contribute to the process of helping donated clothing get to the people who need it the most. Church basements with separate entrances, for example, can serve as collections centers and distribution of well organized and cleaned clothing items.
- Local school. Some schools are able to maintain a closet or an entire room of clothing that can be made available to families who are in need.
- Non-profit distribution centers. Whether it be the Red Cross or some other service agency, many of these organizations not only accept clothing and household item donations, they also offer to pick things up from your home.
The decision to make clothing donations to those less fortunate is a decision to move away from the habit of having too much stuff. In addition, the process of getting rid of what we do not need allows us to help others.