So, have you heard of Marie Kondo? If not, maybe you’re buried under all the stuff in your house and can’t find the TV or a clear spot to watch Netflix. Maybe her books are among the dozens you’ve bought over the years and put on a shelf but never got around to reading.
OK, enough teasing. For those who haven’t been taken up by the household craze of 2019, Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author of several books on how to declutter your life, organize your stuff and keep only the things that bring you joy. In January, Netflix dropped a season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” and everybody and their dogsitter are gutting closets, emptying shelves and repacking all their drawers.
Meantime, with everyone ridding themselves of stuff they don’t need, hopefully they’ll think of others in dire need, for whom new and previously loved things could bring them joy. Here are some places in Newfoundland and Labrador where you could rehome some of the things that no longer have a home with you. You can also scan Facebook and make some calls in your neighbourhood to see who you could help nearest you.
Are you still hanging on to old prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses? Pack them up and deliver them to your local Lions chapter. They collect used eyeglasses, make any repairs, sterilize them and distribute them to needy folks in many countries. Also, check with your eye clinic - Vogue Optical and LasikMD are two local businesses that collect eyeglasses for the Lions program.
Gently used (or never worn!) shoes, boots and sneakers are welcome at secondhand stores as well as charitable organizations like The Gathering Place in St. John’s. Call other neighbourhood groups, such as Single Parent Association of NL or Association for New Canadians, who might be running a drive for particular items, including footwear.
Looking to rehome a prom dress, bridesmaid gown or cocktail dress? Or a suit, dress shoes or jewelry? Any of these would look good in a thrift shop, but they could also be used to help make high school graduations more affordable for families. Single Parent Association of NL runs a Prom Dreams campaign, and Holy Heart high school in St. John’s hosts a free prom dress drive. Alyssa’s Attic (on Facebook) is run by the Sunshine Squad, a goodwill group founded in memory of teenager Alyssa Davis, who was killed in a car crash in Conception Bay South, NL, in 2015. Alyssa’s Attic collects gently used grad dresses (and shoes and jewelry) to help ease the financial burden of prom on some families.
Towels and Blankets
Clean towels and blankets can be put to good use at animal shelters, helping to create a warm bed or post-bath comfort to cats and dogs (and other furry critters) who are in need of kindness.
The CNIB operates a Phone It Forward program, where it matches your old smartphone with a new and grateful owner, for free. Smartphone access can be a matter of safety, independence and enablement to someone who is blind or partially sighted.
You can donate your old, usable tools (not broken or unsafe ones) to thrift stores or to more specialized centres, such as Habitat for Humanity Restore or the St. John’s Tool Library.
Memorial University accepts used bicycles for its Bikeshare ‘n’ Repair program. It rents out bikes and helmets to MUN students and members of the general public in St. John’s.
Children often outgrow their toys before they wear them out; these toys still have joy to give. Single Parents Association of NL is one group that accepts toy donations (no plush toys) as well as books (except textbooks), housewares and small appliances. And in a special recent callout, The Fluvarium in St. John’s was looking for leftover Lego blocks for their children’s programming. They may have enough now, but you could call local daycares, doctor’s offices etc. where children’s toys are often provided for their little clients.