Don’t let it linger – Donate

Inspired by Tuesday’s post responses I thought I would like to just give a little more encouragement for people to donate items that are lingering in their homes. We all have items that were given to us as gifts that we feel guilty about giving away. Just as we have heirloom items that we feel the same way about. We keep them out of obligation rather than for the love of the item. There are also those guilt items that we spent good money on but never really used as much as we thought we would.

There is no better way that I can think of to rid yourself of this guilt or obligation than to donate the item to your favourite charity thrift store. Not only will you be releasing the item with the hope that someone will find it and love it a whole lot more than you did but the charity will gain the funds raised from the sale which will in turn help others.

In the unlikely event that a friend or relative should ask where a gift has gone that they gave you, you will have a very admirable excuse for its absence. You can be honest with them and say that you donated it to charity because you felt it was an indulgence that you didn’t really need while the funds it raised went to help someone in need.

It is a win win win win win situation. You win because the item is gone as is your guilt/obligation and you feel like you have made a worthy donation. The charity wins because they now have more funds to help the needy. The person who bought the item from the charity store wins because they have something they love that they may unlikely have been able to afford new. The people that the charity helps certainly win. And the original giver of the item wins because they have in a round about fashion also helped someone in need.

In times where you have made all the cash donations you are prepared to make what a wonderful way to be able to keep giving without being disadvantaged yourself. Every little bit helps.

Today’s Declutter Item

This jacket will be going to the thrift store. It has hardly been worn so it should sell for a few dollars at least.  I did buy it on a whim so there is certainly quilt involved but I found it too uncomfortable on my neck and shoulders. So bye bye guilt clutter hello donation satisfaction.

Things that made me happy, made me laugh, made me feel grateful, fascinated me or I thought were just plain awesome.

  • Sleeping most of the five hours it took to get home today – And getting home safe and sound.
  • Hot chocolate affogato at Koko Black Chocolate Salon.
  • The sounds of a storm coming – I can hear it now as I type this.
  • Trying a new curry recipe for dinner that turned out to be quite delicious.
  • A warm shower at the end of the day to wash away the grime and easy your weary mind just before turning in for the night. – Clean running water is one of those precious things we often take for granted.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I actually went again to the thriftstore. The lady actually recognised me. It was hard seeing my bunny from my grandma gone and my white bear go, but I’ll probably feel better later. It was time to go.

  2. I had a second adidas running jacket that I bought at a sample sale some years ago. I couldn’t wear it though because it rode up my hips all the time while running. But I couldn’t donate it because it was “new”, unworn and beautiful. Two days ago our visitor went for a run and I asked her if she would want to wear my jacket (she hadn’t brought one and it was chilly). She liked it a lot, it looked very nice on her and she was very happy when I said she could keep it 🙂 Sometimes it just takes a while to let go.

    • Hi Happy Clam,
      thank you for dropping by to leave a comment and may I say welcome to As you say “Sometimes it just takes a while to let go.” and that is so true and then sometimes it just takes too long to let go. When we really like an item but it just doesn’t work for us I think we tend to cling to it for a while in the vain hope that somehow this circumstance will change but it doesn’t. It can be a fine line between waiting until you are ready and clinging hopelessly to something for all the wrong reasons. I am sure there are still plenty of items in my own home that have escaped my notice and I haven’t even considered decluttering yet but I will get there in the end because I am not in a hurry. I have certainly developed the desire to to free of stuff which generally usurps any desire to keep stuff unless it has a use. As more and more stuff leaves I find more and more stuff that I thought I would keep but now wonder why.

  3. I second that Nurchamiel: well done! My own experience is that it can be painful at first, but that pain does go, to be replaced by relief. And before long I barely think about the item at all.

  4. This is such a great concept! Like you say, it’s WIN all around.

  5. I was just discussing a similar topic with another blogger. I’ve found that the key to sticking with the resolution to get rid of it is to get it out of the house pronto! If it’s going to the thrift store, even if you can’t take it for a few days it should be down in your car, in the trunk, ready to go.

    On more than one occasion I’ve accumulated a pile of things destined for the thrift store that seemed to sprout roots – only to accumulate other clutter, have to be re-sorted, and hauled off at a later date. 😀

    • Hi Robert,
      I must admit that the sooner you get your clutter out of the house and to somewhere that you can’t retrive it is certainly a key to successful decluttering. Personally though I would prefer that the ties are severed psychologically before the item is even designated to it’s departure point. If a person has not come to terms with the idea of decluttering certain items it is likely that they will have regrets later on which could impede their future attempts to declutter. Although I have used such expressions as ~ “It is like pulling off a bandaid once the deed is done the pain quickly goes away.” ~ as recently as this morning, I really do think it is best that the detachment is complete on all levels.

      I am glad to say the I have never brought anything back into the house that I have put in the garage for decluttering. Whether that is due to acceptance, determination or just plain old stubbornness remains to be proven. 😉

      Sorry Robert I almost forgot to say welcome to 365lessthings and thank you for dropping in to leave a comment. I hope you will come by often to add your wisdom to our group.

    • I’m with Robert on this. It needs to get into the car pronto! If I leave my things in a box by the door, they seem to take root there, and I mentally overlook them because they’re “already decluttered.”

  6. I can’t go into the thrift shop around the corner—it’s full of stuff I’ve donated!!!! It would be like torturing myself. I had a lot of rabbit-themed stuff and of course now that it is just before Easter, there it is, visible through the windows, my rabbit stuff!!!!

    When I don’t see it, I’m fine.

    • Hi Meg,
      I must admit that would be a bit awkward. The thrift store I take my stuff to is a reasonable distance away and I only go there to drop stuff off which I can do at the back door. I suppose this would be where freecycle is particularly helpful because you never know where it is going so you would be unlikely to see it again.

  7. Thank you for this great post today. I wanted to share a story with you that perfectly illustrates this point. My grandpa passed away a little over two years ago and one of the things I inherited from him was his organ – a big old beast of a thing – that required us to haul it from California to New Mexico (After it had been hauled to California from Washington by my uncle). That organ was huge – it took up almost one whole wall in our living room. But it was VERY sentimental to me – I had played that organ everytime I visited my grandparents when I was a child and my grandpa loved to listen to me play. I treasured that organ and the memories associated with it. But the room it was taking up just got to be too much…..after much thought my husband lovingly suggested I try to sell it. I listed it on Craigslist for $250 – the day after I listed it I was contacted by a pastor of a small church in Santa Fe that his parish really needed an organ and would I take $200 for it. I decided to donate the organ to this church…..I felt in my heart it was the right thing to do and what an even more beautiful memory I will now have of my grandpa and the organ. The legacy of that organ will carry on…..and I received a beautiful thank you letter from the church that I will keep forever. I took a picture of the organ and will scrapbook it along with the letter – so now my beautiful memory will live on in a single scrapbook page instead of taking up a whole wall in my living room.
    Kind of a lot to share – especially for my first comment – but thought you would enjoy reading it.

    • Hi Raesha,
      thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us, I type this response with tears welling in my eyes. How wonderful to realise such a perfect solution to your problem. Sometimes life just happens in such beautiful harmony.
      Welcome to 365lessthings and thank you for leaving your comment. You have made my day! I certainly enjoyed reading it and I hope you will join in with more comments in the future.

    • What a beautiful and serendipitous solution for your dilemma, Raesha! I have tears in my eyes too after reading this. Lovely!

    • Raesha! What a wonderful thing to do. I think this is the best way to remember a relative and honor them too.

    • This is such a great way to let an item continue to have beauty and use when its original one changes. Your grandpa would certainly be honored for the way you are continuing to cherish his memory, and encouraging new memories for other families. I’m sure much rejoicing is happening because of your generosity.

      • Hi Jessica,
        thank you for dropping by to leave such a lovely thoughtful comment and welcome to 365lessthings. I am sure Raesha will be happy to read all these lovely comments that her story has inspired. It has been one of those gifts that just keep giving back.

  8. I received this comment from Lorri via The 365lessthings Facebook page…
    Hi, I’ve only just recently come across your website and noticed most of your posts are about giving or donating items. Do you also suggest recycling as opposed to throwing items into landfill. I’m slowly working through my journey of removing the excess which as you’d probably also know extends to emotional, mental and physical excesses but my biggest pet hate is our growing contribution to landfill. I’m forever trying to find avenues for recycling eg. Giving our broken hair dryer (minus the power chord) to our kinder for play time and was interested in your advice, suggestions and experience. Thanks, Lorri from Melbourne Australia

    • Hi Lorri, I do absolutely encourage recycling but the opportunities for this are often very locally specific and that is something we can all easily investigate for ourselves. I, like you, am appalled by the ever growing contribution to landfill and strongly encourage my readers to shop wisely and less in the first place. During my 365 less things challenge I only threw away 67 of the 365 items and a good number of those were recycled. You many notice that I also do not list donation opportunities because this also is location specific and easily researched by the individual. I love your hair dryer donation solution, I will have to remember this in the future. I will cut and paste your comment from here to the web site for others to read.

    • Lorri’s comment on Facebook received this response from Fiona…
      On that note of donating goods, worth noting that big places, like salvos, don’t store seasonal clothing, they throw them out. So if you donate summer clothes in winter, or winter clothes in summer, they will be put straight in a dumpster. Better to donate these clothes to somewhere like ‘paravin’ who will send the clothes overseas, or sell them as rag, rather than landfill. Always worth checking with your local store and their policies.

      • Hi Fiona – Thank you for that tip, it is very disturbing that these charities don’t call someone like ‘Paravin’ to collect the items that they don’t sell. I will be sure to check the policy of the thrift shop that drop off to the next time I go there.

        • From Fiona via Facebook…
          I think the fact that volunteers are sorting such huge volumes at some of these stores means the logistics are just too huge to contemplate. Unfortunately the easiest option is the dumper.

  9. Hot chocolate affagato?! YUM! Have never seen it on any menus though but I’m planning on making one myself!

    Oh, and totally agree with donating, especially instead of selling if you know that you’re not likely to get round to it. I have one box of things I’m going to (really, I am! ;o) sell on Ebay and the rest I have merrily donated. The cost to my mental health in keeping it round or agonising over how much I’ll get for it is far greater than the cost to my wallet in donating it! And besides, I have a ridiculous amount of possessions and wealth compared to many in the world and need to remind myself of that by giving.

    • Hi Hanoush,
      I am glad you found the hot chocolate affogato intriguing enough to leave me your first comment. I hope it will be one of many and may I say welcome to 365lessthings. Never let it be said that all I do is nag people about getting rid of their clutter I also occasionally supply a little joy to their lives in the form of chocolaty goodness. Try those Molten lava cakes too they are delicious, after writing about them on Friday I made them for dinner on Saturday night. I just had the last one for dessert this evening. The Baker’s chocolate can be substituted with 115g of any dark cooking chocolate chips.

      I like your attitude towards donating. I so agree that the cost to your mental health is not worth the rigmarole involved in earning a few bucks selling the stuff. I have done alright out of ebay over the last 15 months but sometimes it just isn’t worth the effort. That being said yesterday, out of the blue, I received a phone call in response to an add I placed a month ago on the Trading Post web site to sell my son’s snare drum kit. I was about to donate it to a local school because I didn’t expect it to sell. The man paid $130 for it which will go towards my sons education in the way of a film camera. He is doing a couple of film photography classes at university. I am sure I will find plenty of other things to donate.

      • Hi Colleen, I have actually commented once or twice, must’ve been under a different name! I’m happy to say I dont follow as avidly as I used to because I am spending more time actually doing the decluttering rather than reading about it lol.
        Thats great that you sold the drums, must be a nice feeling to get money out of the blue like that!

        • Hi Hanoush,
          When I look a little deeper I see you have commented before under a slightly different name. Nice to have you back then and I am glad that the reason you haven’t been around is because you have been busy decluttering. I hope you are enjoying the freedom from the burden of stuff.
          Yes I was glad to sell the drum kit, I seem to mostly only sell things that my son that he no longer wants lately as he could do with the cash having been out of work for a while do to his accident. He has just got a bit of work though but is still searching for something more rewarding in the meantime. Any job is better than no job though.

    • I agree with you, Hanoush, the more effort I put into trying to sell something, the more I am still letting “stuff” take over my time and energy! It can be so much easier to just let it go!

  10. Thank you all so much!! I love to read your comments and your kind words:)

  11. Anyone tried freecycle? I think its a best place. Sending it off to the thrift store really results in wastage. I have seen good clothing being dumped out and good toys poorly sorted and thrown out. I offered two northface coats that my two daughters outgrew and it was gone in like half a day. And they didn’t mind that it had names and pen markings as you’d get with school going kids… one even had a collar a little frayed and chewed zipper pulls from her nervous habit!

    • hi Rachel,
      welcome to 365 Less things. Yes I have used freecycle many times. I love that I can give things away there that I couldn’t donate because they don’t work or wouldn’t be suitable for a thrift shop. Plenty of folks out there scanning freecycle have the capability to fix thing or use them as parts. It is a sure fire way to save things from landfill.

  12. Local thrift store solution for out-of-season clothes or too much of one kind, they reprice as bundles. Usual price is $4/ jeans, they reprice to $4/each pair or $4/4 pairs. Most folks think ” why pay same price for 1or2or3 pairs asI can get 4 pairs?”. They end up buying 4 pairs to wear, use for quilt fabric, or rags. Clears the thrift store shelves quickly. Suggest to you local store they do same thing.

    • My thrift store colour code the stock by week as it comes in. Once the colour comes back around in it’s four week cycle the old ones are moved to the $1 rack and then to the fill a bag for $2 the next week. That way we are constantly getting new stock and the old stuff usually gets snapped up before having to be returned to our warehouse and stored until the next time the season comes around.

  13. Hello Colleen – this is my first “comment ” ( I tried to leave one once before but I think the computer gremlins ate it up when I pressed submit- so here goes again !
    I was SO excited when I happened upon your site – initially because it was Australian ( no offence to Cindy who I believe is American – and I know you have lived in the USA Colleen) but I just felt I wasnt the only one de-cluttering Australia! I have exhausted all the you tube de-cluttering videos and most of them are American .
    So here I am- not sure where to start because I have way too much to say but I will try and keep this first comment short!! My main point for today is to say that having been decluttering for two years I am amazed that I still have anything to declutter ! ( my husband is very happy I havent de-cluttered him!) I was horrified to read about someone who decluttered their pets !! Never !! I had to rush off and re-assure my two mini schnauzers they were very, very safe .(and husband too).
    The first time that I became aware of concept of decluttering was two years ago when we were vaguely thinking of selling and downsizing and the real estate agent came to the house and casually said we would need to declutter . I was slightly miffed as I didnt think our house was much different to any one elses in the amount of stuff that we had . WELL !! two years later and I am still decluttering – and LOVING it – and – this is my point – there are so many things that i just assumed I would have to keep forever – there was never even a question about some of these items – e.g. wedding gifts , sentimental keepsakes from friends and deceased relatives – items like the three brown antique vases ‘inherited ‘ from my grand mother (who I adored ) but which depressed me every time I looked at them (I hate brown ).Thanks to “you tube” and blogs such as yours I discovered I could actually give myself permission to let them go one way or another – and it was liberating .And I have had so much fun – and still more to let go . Thanks again for the Aussie blog! Judith

    • Hi Judith and welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to share your declutter story. It seems we have similar stories. My decluttering effort began two year ago also and I didn’t think I would have enough stuff to last the year out at one thing at a day. Perhaps I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t, like you, become more and more ruthless as time went on. Our intention was also to downsize our dwelling once my husband retires and we are still aiming for that. In fact we have started looking and last weekend we viewed a much smaller house and decided we need to get even more ruthless. I like this house hunting it gives us inspiration to get rid of more and more stuff.

      • Well that is exciting !! i think it would be wonderful to manage a much smaller space and make it work. My cousin chose to move from a three bedroom house in the suburbs to part of an inner city terrace house with one bedroom, one lounge and a kitchen and bathroom. She had, for the preceding few years surrounded herself with carefully chosen ,well loved items which nearly all had to go (mostly to our local weekly auction house ).She bought graph paper and measured the roooms and her furniture and was able to decide exactly which items she would take and where everything would fit. She had to do this as the rooms really were very small.It seemed extreme to me at the time but now I can see how liberating it was for her to be taking what she needed and nothing more . Ithink I would want just a little more room than that but not as much as we have here. I’m getting ready ( to downsize ONE day) though by having lots of empty spaces in cupboards and rooms – I like to think I could pack up easily and quickly if I had to . I also like to think that I could list all of my possessions – I would hate to think that I have so many things hidden away or forgotten or not being used that I cant remenber what I have ( which certainly used to be the case!)

        • Hi Judith,
          when we move, my family that is, my husband’s work pays for the removal which includes insurance for damage or loss. As part of that we have to do an inventory of everything being moved. I can tell you that that is the most laborious part of the whole operation. I hate doing the inventory and even with my much reduced belongings I still don’t like the idea. It inspires me to keep decluttering until that job alone in reduced to something I could do in a day not weeks.


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