Minimalism Mini-Project: Create an Eternal Donation Box
Whenever I read about decluttering or organizing projects, I see the advice to sort items into various bins, boxes, or piles. The four most popular labels are Keep, Sell, Donate, and Throw Out. Great advice to keep focused during the project.
But why not keep a donation bin or box in a designated spot all the time?
1. Place a donation box in the coat closet, the garage or car port, the mud room, or even your car trunk. Someplace where you'll see it without it being an eyesore.
2. As you come across whatever items you realize you don't need, but you can't sell, but they could be donated, place them in the donation box.
Resist the urge to just put the item back where you found it. Use the donation box as a temporary home for these superfluous items.
3. Once you fill the box, drop off the items at your favorite charity, but bring the box back home.
If you're truly converting to a minimalistic lifestyle, then the frequency of trips will diminish over time, but the presence of the donation box serves as a great prompt for those questions about whether or not a thing has a purpose.
About two months ago when I was brainstorming ideas for this minimalism mini-project series, I remembered the bins I kept in my car trunk in Denver. And it sparked this eternal donation bin idea.
As I prepared to move from Denver to San Francisco, I knew that my donation pile would be on-going. I was getting rid of so much stuff that I kept two bins in my car trunk exclusively for donation items. Since I lived on the fifth floor and usually tried to take the stairs, I would go to my car with my hands full. By the end of each week, I would have at least one and maybe both bins full. Then I could easily drive by Goodwill while I was out doing errands. This on-going declutter fest lasted for about four months.
When I thought about how well that system worked, I decided to re-adopt it now that My Person and I are back in Tucson. Our home here is somewhat minimal. We have minimal furniture that maximizes our space, but there are duplicate smaller items here. Duplicates from merging our studio apartment in San Francsico with our home here. When we left San Francisco, we focused on selling furniture and larger items. But we moved everything else.
We have two sets of pots and pans. Multiple kitchen utensils. Two microwaves. Two sets of linens. Too many towels. In short, too many of these smaller items.
Week by week we sell the valuable items. But for all of the littler pieces, we have a donation bin in our coat closet. It's right next to the recycling, so we see both bins on a regular basis.
Just having the donation bin around makes it easier to toss in items that I hate to throw out. One of the reasons minimalism appeals to me is that I want to be a better steward of this planet. If I consume less, then I'm contributing less to landfills. Before I lived in Denver, my trips to Goodwill or the Salvation Army were always timed around organization projects. And these were large-scale, time-consuming projects.
Now, with a simple donation bin, if I find just one item that I know we don't need, I have a place to put it. No pressure. Just let the thing sit in the closet and once the bin is full, we make a trip. No throwing perfectly good things out.
How do you handle your donations? Please share in the comments.
Read the other Minimalism Mini-Projects: