Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020, is the first day of Lent. I have a challenge for you!
Each day of Lent (40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) remove 1 item from your closet, cabinets, desk, and garage that you no longer wear, use or need and put it into a large black trash bag.
At the end of the 40 days, donate these 40 items to a place that can share them with someone that can really use them!
You may be thinking, “I don’t have 40 EXTRA items!”. Let’s look at some areas that you might find a few, and remember you only need 1 each day.
Extra Coats: Winter is almost over, are there any coats you or other family members did not wear this year? Check the pockets before placing in the bag (never know there might be a $5 bill that you put in there and forgot!).
Boots and Shoes: I am a fan of all boots so this is hard for me too, but we all have shoes and boots that just don’t fit as well as they should. Here’s your chance to donate them!
Scarfs and Ties: There aren’t many offices anymore that require a tie (if yours does, I’m sorry). So how many ties should a man own? 10, that’s all. Check out this article about different neckties: https://www.realmenrealstyle.com/9-neckties-to-own/ then pick out the best of yours and donate the rest. If you find you need more, I am sure you can ask for some at Christmas and you will get plenty!
And ladies, what about all those different scarfs? I saw an article online that says there are 15 different “styles”. Scarfs are very versatile and add style, but, if you aren’t in a climate that needs extra layers, they can just sit in a drawer and never be that cute accessory.
T-Shirts: How do we get so many of these? They are given to us at “walks”, “first 15K people at the baseball game”, “golf tournaments”, “children’s sports teams”, “college orientation”, not to mention the ones we actually buy! You know the one you bought to put on when the weather turned cold at the beach! Or the one from the cool bar in Mexico!
And I know you are holding on to the “old ones” to work in the yard. But let’s get real here—how many T-shirts do you and every member of your family really need? If you put EVERY T-SHIRT in your house on your bed, how many do you think you have? You may be able to get most of your 40 items just from T-shirts!
Going through these may help you pick out the ones you want to get made into a quilt. There are lots of online resources if you are considering this for your child or spouse. The smaller quilts require 12 T-shirts (3 x 4), larger quilts require 30 (5 x 6).
Plastic Cups and Storage Containers: I love Dickie’s BBQ and their Big Yellow Cups are awesome, but we don’t need a cabinet full of plastic cups from anywhere. One tip—these cups make great containers for celery, asparagus and other herbs that you want to stand up in your refrigerator in a small amount of water. Plastic storage containers–honestly these may not be “donation worthy”, but while we are looking for items, let’s rid ourselves of these too. Match your containers with their lids. Any containers that do not have lids can be re-purposed as I mentioned before or if large enough they can be used to contain snacks in the pantry or smaller ones can be used in drawers to contains pencils, pens, clips, etc.
Coffee Cups: Start with ones to put in the trash first—chipped, cracked, or stained ones. Next, cups with logos that don’t hold any meaning or attachment for you—put these in the black donate bag. Pick out your favorites or ones that match your other dishes and knowing that you will wash dishes almost daily, the rest can be donated.
Gadgets You Don’t Use: This can be as simple as an Avocado Knife or Apple Slicer. If you tend to forget you have these and just grab a knife—donate them. It can also be larger items that take up a lot of space like Waffle Makers, Ice Cream Makers, even Crock-Pots.
Aprons, Potholders, Decorative Towels: These can “multiple” over time. One cute wine towel turns into a whole collection!! Keep your favorites and share the rest knowing they will make someone else smile too.
Lawn or Yard Equipment: Any duplicates? These may not fit in the bag, but you can still donate them!
Outgrown Children’s Toys: If you are about to send them to college and you still have their first bike, and every type of ball, bats, and gloves, you may want to gather these up and donate.
Office/Arts & Crafts/Hobbies:
Extra Supplies: Have you noticed all the “adult” coloring books? I’m sure some people really enjoy coloring on cold or rainy days. I’m sure it is very relaxing. And I’m sure some people were given these books and fancy pencils that have never used them and that’s okay too. If you have any craft supplies that are unopened and useable, these are always appreciated at donation centers. Many home care providers (both child and senior caretakers) are looking for these at a discounted price.
Where to Donate
I encourage you to find a local charity to work with for your donations. You can usually find a church-based Thrift/Resale shop for clothing and kitchen items. Organizations that provide care to children (Child Abuse centers, Low Income After School Care) are always looking for craft and art supplies as well as toys to use with the children. Animal shelters always need clean towels, and blankets as well as pet kennels and other items from your garage.
Here are some links to non-profits in Navarre and Santa Rosa County:
Good Neighbor Thrift Store: https://www.facebook.com/numcthriftstore/
Santa Rosa Kids House: https://www.santarosakidshouse.com/support-srkh
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge: http://emeraldcoastwildliferefuge.org/emerald-coast-wildlife-refuge/donate
There are also several “book exchange boxes” located around Navarre. One is at Navarre Park and specifically likes to have children’s books. There is one by the mail center in our neighborhood and I’ve seen one on Gulf Blvd as well.
As you begin to look for items to add to your donation bag, also start planning where you will take the bag in April. I hope that by giving up some items you have also thought about the sacrifice God made for each of us.
John 3:16 (abbreviated version)
For God so loved, that he gave…that you may have eternal life.