You gotta give as good as you get

By: Melanie

There are so many reasons to love donating things. Obviously, someone is getting something they need and you can feel good about being the one to provide it. There's also the fact that you're saving perfectly good stuff from being dumped into a landfill, and encouraging the idea of reusing and recycling instead of producing more waste. But, selfishly, I have to say that one of my very favourite things about donating is the fact that it gives me the opportunity to get rid of CLUTTER! I always feel so good when a bag of clothes or a box of random kitchen gadgets makes its way out my front door.

Recently I've been trying to unload some of Elle's old stuff. There are clothes that don't fit, toys that no longer amuse, and baby gear we don't need anymore. You would be surprised how difficult it is to unload stuff around here if you don't have a car. There are so, so many people in need, many of whom live just around the corner. But many places don't pick up, and drop-off locations are just not practical to get to with a toddler and two cartloads. One day I put a few things out on the curb, and after two days of being ignored I ended up taking them back in. I just couldn't bear the thought of perfectly good, clean things being thrown in the garbage. So I've been slowly filling up the hallway outside our apartment, hoping for an opportunity to come along.

And come along it did! Last week I heard about a clothing and toy swap happening in our neighbourhood. I got so excited that I started furiously grabbing things from shelves and stacking boxes like a maniac. Then yesterday Jeff and I grabbed everything, hung most of it precariously from the stroller and made the 15 minute walk to salvation. A huge room filled with kids' stuff, and anything that wasn't taken by the end of the day was being brought to a shelter. The woman who greeted us implored us to take something in return for our goods, it being a swap after all, but I was not there to exchange clutter. I was there to purge. Jeff needed a little coaxing away from the bag of shoes...and the table of books...but a few impatient chirps from Elle finally convinced him to walk away.

I felt so light leaving that place. There's just no downside. Sometimes it takes a little effort, a little searching, a little footwork, but it will make you feel good. For so many reasons. So go ahead - root through your closets, your playrooms, your cupboards. Find a few things that you don't need that someone else might. Look in the yellow pages, look online and find a place to take them. You will absolutely be glad you did.

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