PTSD Is Common Among U.S. Military Veterans

PTSD is endemic among U.S. military veterans, since their missions often include exposure to horrific, desperate and life-threatening experiences. The VA estimates that 11%–20% of Operations Iraqi Freedom veterans have PTSD in a given year, and about 12% of Gulf War veterans. An estimated 30% of Vietnam veterans have experienced PTSD in their lifetimes. The Vietnam Veterans of America advocates for all veterans with PTSD, regardless of conflict, with help from #donations to ClothingDonations.org.

Celebrate Earth Day This Week and Every Week

Earth Day 2021 is not just a day — it’s a three-day event. Arranged around the theme “Restore Our Earth,” the observance will offer thousands of affiliated events worldwide to increase awareness of climate change and other environmental issues.

Scheduled this week are a global youth and education summits, a virtual “We Shall Breathe” summit from the Hip Hop Caucus, and a live event with workshops, panel discussions and performances on official Earth Day itself, Thursday, April 22.

Global summits will be held virtually, making it easy to join even if pandemic restrictions are in place. Fans of the planet are invited to participate in cleanups, tree plantings, teach-ins and other activities nearby; locate one near you on this map.

You can make every day Earth Day by volunteering with, donating to and advocating on behalf of environmentally friendly organizations. But perhaps the best way to help the earth is to modify your behavior in order to shrink your impact on the environment.

If you can’t go totally vegan to reduce factory farming, for example, you could at least observe Meatless Mondays. You can pick up litter when you’re out for a walk. You can calculate your own carbon footprint and take steps to reduce and offset it.

Reusable shopping bags and bottles can cut your use of single-use plastics. Plastic waste has infiltrated every part of the earth’s ecosphere, and humans and animals are suffering ill effects from ingesting the chemicals they release.

The more that can be reused without going into landfills, streams and oceans, the better. That’s another good reason to #donate your used clothing (a major source of plastics in the water supply, by the way) and household items to ClothingDonations.org.

#Donated items can have a second life with new owners, not only saving on waste, but also eliminating an equivalent amount of new goods needing to be manufactured. Plus, the proceeds from resale go toward helping veterans nationwide.

The Organizing Blog encourages you to get involved in efforts to clean up and protect the environment in ways large and small this Earth Day and every other day of the year. The saying may be hackneyed, but it’s true: We only have one earth — let’s protect it.

Make Boxing Day Into Boxing Week

In the major countries of the former British Empire, the day after #Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. A legal holiday, the event grew out of a custom for wealthy landowners to offer their servants and workers a box of edible goodies, gifts or a monetary tip during the Christmas season.

Stateside, many make the erroneous assumption that “Boxing Day” is on the calendar as a day people might set aside to box and store their Christmas #decorations for another year. In #quarantine times, however, the Organizing Blog would like to propose a modest compromise:

Let’s celebrate Boxing Day as a way to #declutter and #donate to a good cause. And since we have plenty of time at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, let’s take the whole week to do it.

The first step is to declutter. Start with the stacks and stacks of shipping boxes you’ve likely accumulated buying gifts from Amazon and other outlets. With online shopping up 40% from 2019, households are drowning in cardboard. Break down and #recycle any box that can’t be repurposed.

Next, conduct an organized destaging of all of your household holiday trappings, including wrapping paper, decorations, tree, lights, ornaments, and tchotchkes. Take your time and store everything in dedicated, labeled bins and boxes for easy access next year, or use these clever suggestions from HGTV.

As you pack up, toss anything that’s damaged or dingy. Dead light strands, cracked ornaments and worn fabrics aren’t worth saving or storing. Then, set aside any items that don’t provide a Kondoesque “joy.” These items may still be of good use to someone — just not you.

Finally, gather those unwanted and orphaned items together in extra boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Consider it a tax-deductible gift to the nation’s veterans, made in the true spirit of Boxing Day. You may not be landed gentry, but every little bit you give helps veterans access health care, housing and other resources.

Take advantage of a pandemic-era “Boxing Week” to get rid of the things you don’t want and show your appreciation for those who served. Happy New Year from the Organizing Blog!

Shopping for Christmas … From Your Screens

The novel #coronavirus has upended life as we know it. Even the holidays haven’t been spared, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommending that more than 330 million Americans reconsider their Thanksgiving travel plans to stop the spread.

Generally speaking, the fewer people you come into close contact with, the better. And with Christmas, Hannukah and other celebrations due up, CDC lists “Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving” as a high-risk activity.

Since it rarely requires interpersonal interaction, online shipping is low-risk. It has been growing apace with the internet for more than 25 years, and it is now set to eclipse all other channels for holiday gift-giving during the pandemic.

Retailers are ready to provide home delivery and contactless pickup if you’re willing to offer a credit card number. The deals aren’t bad, either; many outlets are offering loss leaders just to get you through their online storefronts.

Sitting in front of a screen trying to source great gifts can be tedious — there’s just no way to browse as fast as you might in a physical setting. That’s where online gift guides can help: They can point you in the direction of good gifts for anyone on your list.

Stuck for ideas? Just Google “gifts” and few keywords of the things and activities your giftee likes, and you’ll soon have a page of links to lists suggesting products with click-throughs to online stores ready to take your money.

Whatever they like — be it tech, gaming, music, movies, pets, exercise, cooking — there’s a gift guide for it. At the Organizing Blog, we like to give gifts that don’t add to clutter, meaning they are immediately useful or take up little space. Gourmet foodstuffs, a subscription to a streaming service, or a charitable donation are good options.

To help fund valuable veterans programs during a particularly stressful and often isolating holiday season, consider donating your extra stuff to ClothingDonations.org or making a direct donation of money or a vehicle to VVA.org. The veterans appreciate the help. Now get shopping!