It feels good to get rid of extra things; but it feels even better when you know they are going to someone who needs them more than you. Think of how everyone rises to the occasion when there’s a hurricane or tsunami. Organizations start collecting food and clothing and bedding as well as money, and we’re all happy to help out.
But why wait for the next natural disaster? Go through your home and imagine how grateful someone would be for the warm coat you don’t wear anymore, someone else who’d be happy to eat from your extra set of dishes or sleep on the sheets you are saving--for what? Just in case all your out-of-town relatives show up on the same day? (That’s what motels are for).
If you can picture someone using an item, it makes it easier than just blindly giving it away. You can find these people through the usual charities, Salvation Army, Viet Veterans, Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul etc. You can also find them more informally by asking at your church or temple, homeless shelters, and social service organizations.
How can you be sure that your donation will get to the right people in need? You can’t, really. But few things in life are guaranteed, and the probability is good. There’s also the idea of intention, which always benefits you.
I haven’t tried this way of shifting the focus from how I feel about keeping something to whether someone else might need it more. But I’m going to try it this week and I’ll report back about how it worked out. I’d love to hear your experiences too!