Give Your Stuff a Second Life

My husband and I are crazy about cool old photos, and I recently came across this one of a Goodwill truck from the early 1900s. The writing under the Goodwill logo says, "Springfield Goodwill Helps Folks to Help Themselves."

If you fast-forward 100 years to Goodwill Industries International's web site, you'll find that their slogan today is "Let's go to work!" The site explains that more than 82% of Goodwill's revenues are used to fund their employment and training programs. I love the idea that, by giving your stuff a second life through donation, you might also be giving a person a second chance through the development of practical job skills.

As a Professional Organizer, I've dropped off countless bags of my client's donations at the Goodwill truck near my house. Yes, it's convenient. But I also prefer Goodwill because I've been a Goodwill shopper for a couple of decades. My husband, Greg, and I are collectors of mid-century modern artifacts. Put more simply, we collect cool old stuff from the fifties. In the nineties, we found most of our collection by prowling around thrift stores and flea markets. Greg is also a crazed collector of vinyl records (mostly weird old country music, nowadays) and Atlanta history books and postcards (remind me to tell you about his Atlanta history web site someday), so we often poke our heads into thrift stores when we're traveling. Let me tell you, the most organized, most professional, best stocked thrift stores are Goodwill stores.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should run out and go shopping at your local Goodwill store. My goal here is to get you to give your stuff a second life by donating it, not to encourage you to bring more stuff into your home or office. I just wanted to sing the praises of one of my favorite charities. If you live in Atlanta, there are tons of other good local charities that could use your donations including The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, Travelers Aid Atlanta, The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, The Atlanta Community Tool Bank, and local church charities, just to name a few.

Don't think you're just wasting your stuff when you donate it. Know that there are people who would be delighted to buy your "junk" off the shelves and racks of your local thrift store. So, if you haven't used it, don't love it, and it's not broken, consider giving your stuff a second life by donating it to whatever charity warms your heart.