What I’m doing with all the stuff I’m getting rid of…

As I’m cleaning out my space I’m experiencing a strong desire for my things to go directly {or as close to directly as possible} to someone who really needs or wants them.

One thing I never liked about just dropping off a huge pile at the Salvation Army is that everything is being re-sold. And I always feel overwhelmed in those spaces, it’s literally everything piled into one big warehouse and you have to go hunting for one specific thing. It just isn’t my favorite. I really want as many of my things to go directly into the hands of their next user as possible, and I like the idea of being able to give someone in need things that could potentially make their life easier, or even a little nicer, if at all possible.

So I did a little research and figured I might not be the only one who has these feelings, so I’m sharing some local resources in case you are looking for great charities to donate anything to.

Clothes and Shoes

One reason it’s hard to do a purge of my space is that as I stare at the {inevitably} huge pile of clothes and shoes, I just see a pile of spent money that is walking out the door. Ugh. Not pleasant.


But whether those things stay in my closet or go on to be more useful to someone else, the money is gone. So I need to let that go already and just clear out my space… make room for the new, and if I want something different in my life ~ say to not be spending money on things I don’t really love, or things I won’t use ~ then something else needs to change far earlier in the process than during the purging {more on that soon enough}.

So this time around I want to make sure as many of the clothes and shoes I’m parting with as possible will be going somewhere where they can do the most good… and be the easiest for people who need and want them to get them. For my really good condition preppy work-appropriate items, I’m donating them to Dress for Success. This is actually an international charity focused on preparing Women for interviews by making sure they have interview and work attire and development tools to help them move forward and achieve their goals. I absolutely love this charity’s mission and donating my things here makes me feel like they are doing good and not just an invalidating visual reminder of spent money.

While Dress for Success focuses exclusively on women, Bridge to Success is another local Chicago charity that services both men and women, providing work and interview appropriate clothes and services preparing people for the interview process.

I’m making one round to resale shops as well {even though I doubt it’s worth the time}, and after that I’ve given myself permission to part with the rest guilt-free, knowing that they are moving on to someone who will love and use them more than me, and making space in my closet for new energy, eventually some new clothes, and a setting a new tone in this {and the rest of my} space.


I always feel sad getting rid of books. I love books, I love reading actual physical books with pages, the smell, the words, curling up and sinking into a good book. I imagine having a house one day with floor to ceiling bookshelves just filled to the brim with amazing books. But until then I need to keep the collection ultra lean, and if I’m being honest I probably haven’t been ruthless enough in my purge, I still have books on the shelf that I want to read for several years now.

When I just take them to a general donation place I feel like they will get lost and forgotten, never discovered by their next owner and ultimately just thrown away. Who knows if that’s true, but I did a little searching to see what options there are for book donations and I found two really amazing charities.

I took my books this time around to Pilsen Community Books. Donated books are either given straight to Pilsen Schools or are sold to purchase new books for classrooms in Pilsen Schools. What a brilliant idea, especially considering how underfunded schools are. They have the coolest storefront, with books stacked floor to ceiling, the space has great energy and the staff are friendly. Definitely worth a field trip just to see what treasures they have waiting to be discovered. There are a few limitations on what they can accept, so read the list here before your trip.

pilsen books 1.jpg

The other charity that I really liked and is on my radar for my next donation is Chicago Books to Women in Prison. I believe people have a lot of potential and that compassion and healing are powerful. I love that this charity supports women to help them learn and grow so that they can have hope for a better life in the future. They can only accept soft cover books, check out their list of accepted donations here.

Office Supplies

I always randomly end up with a lot of pens, pencils, binders, highlighters, etc. How does this stuff even end up in my house in such mass quantities? I just don’t need or use it all, and everything ends up collecting dust and making me feel like I can never get everything put away because I don’t have enough room. With these things as with everything else, it’s time to clear it out and create more space. And I’m sure there are lots of people who could use these things instead of having them just taking up space in my house.

The WasteShed is a Chicago charity that collects all kinds of arts and crafts supplies, including office supplies. Their focus is being a resource for affordable, repurposed art and education materials. Here is a great list of what they do and don’t accept.

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange is another local charity that is focused on getting teachers the equipment and supplies they need to be successful. It’s crazy how much stuff people just throw away, and I’m not talking about overused things that have seen better days, but never used, or like new things that would be really useful for a lot of people. This organization is focused on connecting people with the stuff to people who are in need of the stuff, they also have big swap circles where everyone meets and magical things happen. The accept a plethora of items, it says they even accept tools and sewing machines {which is another item on my let go list}.

Before starting this ‘project’, I didn’t even know about most of these charities. While it did take a little bit of research to find them, I feel a lot better about letting go of things knowing that it’s going to people who will definitely use it. And that helps clear energy too, it makes it easier to let go of things that I know I won’t use but keep because I feel guilty that I’m just throwing them away.  Hopefully this list is helpful, and if you live somewhere other than Chicago {or even if you are in Chicago}, check out Recycle by City, a website full of different recycling resources in different cities all across the US.

Now back to the big clean out {my place is a mess!}!



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