Clear the Clutter and Donate for Some Good at the Same Time

Once the holiday festivities begin to wind down, the relatives leave, the last wrapping piece is recycled, and the dog is curled up in his bed (again) it’s time to start thinking towards your goals for the next year. One of mine each year is to Clear the Clutter in my office. I know many people do this as Spring Cleaning, which is just fine, but I like to begin the New Year with a freshly organized and structured system. I begin by ensuring my shipping station in my office has updated supplies, is neat, and everything I need is situated in that one location. I also make a habit of updating a yarn inventory. I find this will help throughout the following year in many ways; I need to know what I absolutely need and what I no longer need. Sometimes I find yarn I have no use for but is perfectly fine. I know with my schedule I won’t have time to make something with it and there is no way I’m throwing this precious commodity into the trash. My solution then is to donate. img_0741Each year after I’ve completed the inventory, I usually have anywhere from a few skeins to several grocery bags worth of yarn that will be donated. This year I ended up with two very over-stuffed grocery bags. Happily, not too far from our house is a retirement home that was more than happy to receive the yarn donation. I was told that many of the ladies there will be pleased to knit or crochet with the yarn. A simple thing to do, getting your office in order and making someone else feel good. I call that a great way to end the year. I know not everyone lives down the road from a place like this, so I thought I’d put a list together of some ideas, and even some specific places, of where to donate your unused yarn. If you have another place or idea of where to donate, please let me know. I’d love to hear where folks donate and help out.

Thrift Stores
This is the first place most people think of to donate. And they are wonderful places to donate. If you have one near you, this could be a great option. Many places help with job creation like Goodwill and others aid people in multiple ways from veterans’ services to combating human trafficking like The Salvation Army. A donation here goes a long way.

Retirement homes
As I mentioned above, lots of retirement homes are happy to accept yarn donations for their residents. Keep in mind that some residents at retirement homes may have no family or friends able to visit and give them these kinds of supplies, so it is a great benefit for these folks. And as the office attendant told me, yarn donations would make a lot of the ladies very happy.

Schools
Lets face it; there are many schools without the financial means to purchase art supplies. With so many teachers buying supplies on their own for the students these days, this is one small donation step where you can really make a difference.

Non-Profit Art Centers
Art education non-profit centers across the country are always accepting donations of craft materials, including yarn. If you Google your local area you may be surprised how many of these organizations exist and that they offer education as well as art events. For example, if you live in Texas, The Center for Recycled Art in Houston is a great place to donate yarn, and just about any other craft-making item.

Other Non-Profits
There are lots and lots of non-profits where you can help by either donating yarn or making small items from that extra-unused yarn for their organization. Some of these I know of include:

Warm Up America! This organization distributes afghans to all kinds of charities, from homeless shelters and women’s shelters, hospitals and retirement homes. They also provide patterns to help you with your donation if you like.

Binky Patrol This group is a non-profit organization committed to giving handmade blankets to children and teens from birth to 18 years who are ill, abused, or experiencing any kind of trauma. They accept yarn and many other types of donations for blanket making.

Hugs for Homeless Animals This charity has a special program called the Snuggle Project that accepts donations from volunteers who crochet security blankets, or snuggles, for homeless, lost or abandoned dogs and cats that end up in Humane Society shelters. The warm blankets help the animals be calm in such a strange place while making the chance of adoption that much greater. They also provide patterns.

Local Places to Donate
Homeless shelters
in your surrounding area or nearest city are especially looking for donations during the winter. Your donation of a simple hat, easy quick scarf or cowl will be most appreciated by those who have to face the cold every night. A Google search, local church, or civic organization may be able to help you locate and donate your items.

Women’s shelters are always looking for volunteers to support the residents in many ways, including learning fiber arts. The women here would be glad to receive your yarn donations, completed items as well as your time, if possible, to help the organization.

Youth organizations with at-risk kids also need volunteers to teach skills like knitting or crocheting as well as having someone who shows how to care and wants to spend time with them. Like many of the other organizations, these groups can be found via Google or local civic or church groups.

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