Phil Says: Embrace Minimalism This Winter

Welp, looks déjà vu all over again: You humans — at least in Western Pennsylvania — have six more weeks of #winter to cope with. Take advantage of that #indoor time to #chuck some of that #stuff you don’t need like I would wood! I’m a minimalist — I often dig multiple chambers and only furnish and use one or two, but it keeps me and the forest above healthy. Try to limit the visible items in each room to the things you use there every day, and #store anything else out of sight. In the process, you can eliminate and #donate the things you don’t need or want to ClothingDonations.org. Many thanks to the Organizing Blog for letting me guest this week. Now it’s back to bed for another month or so — Punxsutawney Phil, signing off!

Giving Can Be Its Own Reward

Evolutionary theory dictates that gratitude and generosity are linked, Greater Good says, and those who give generously receive in kind and are more likely to survive. So as you begin to shop the #BlackFriday deals online and in person, remember to share some of your good fortune in the spirit of #Thanksgiving. Take some shelf-stable goods or wrapped toys to a holiday drop-off location, #donate a few dollars to your favorite #charity, or schedule a free #donation #pickup of lightly used clothing and household goods to ClothingDonations.org. “Emphasize the giving, and the thanks will follow.”

Honoring Those Who Served on Veterans Day

Established in the aftermath of World War I, Armistice Day commemorated the armistice with Germany, which ended the war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Renamed in 1954, the holiday has expanded to recognize military veterans from every U.S. conflict as #Veterans Day.

Events around the country will feature parades, speakers and moments of silence in recognition of veterans. One of the biggest this year will be held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11 to mark the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) will stage a “Massing of the Colors” at The Wall in the run-up to the main ceremony, bringing color guards from chapters and state councils across the country to salute to veterans lost and surviving. VVA will also participate in one of the largest annual ceremonies, the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Companies employing veterans can get in on the act, Military.com says, by treating them to lunch, recognizing their sacrifice in a company newsletter, sharing stories of their service with clients and vendors, recognizing their families, or engaging in a day of community service on veterans’ behalf. Contact a local veterans service organization (VSO) to plan an event.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a handy guide to Veterans day activities if you’d like to stage your own observance. From a full-on ceremony including guest speakers, posting of colors and Taps, to classroom activities, musical programs and poster contests, all can garner respect and #honor for the nation’s veterans.

You can make your Veterans Day observance more personal if you know of a friend or family member who has served. Send a card, volunteer to take them to the local parade, or invite them out to dinner in gratitude for their service. They’ll appreciate the gesture!

And remember, every #donation you make to ClothingDonations.org helps fund essential veterans programs and events like the ones mentioned above. Schedule a free, #contactless #donation #pickup today!

Stylish Halloween Decorating Ideas

If your #Halloween #decorating goal is more stylish than scary, try a few of Good Housekeeping’s 75 DIY ideas. Leave bottles of magic potions around or make your chairs into tombstones. Weave a wreath of rubber snakes or create a pumpkin diorama. Make a gallery wall of haunted black-and white photos or create a bubbling witch’s cauldron out of a beverage tub and some dry ice. Look for inspiration and supplies at the thrift stores supplied by your generous #donations to ClothingDonations.org, and you can #help a #veteran while you celebrate or pass out candy. #HalloweenDecorating

Thrift-Shop to Save on Halloween Costumes

Stuck for a scary-good #Halloween #costume for your kids or yourself? You could buy a ready-made, no-fuss costume if you’re strapped for time, but that’s never as fun as creating your own, one-of-a-kind take on a monster, superhero or ghoul.

Nor is it cheap! Prepackaged costumes can easily cost $50, $100 or more — and you’ll need that money for candy and decorations. So instead of purchasing a costume, assemble one from the unique #clothing and finds at the #thrift or #secondhand store.

You can quickly create classic characters such as vampire, rock star, witch, ghost, scarecrow, burglar or hippie by shopping the local thrift for clothing and accessories, Unexpectedly Domestic says. If pop culture is your thing, the Golden Girls makes a great group costume.

This year’s most up-to-the-minute pop culture costumes borrow looks from Clueless, The Addams Family, Stranger Things, and Top Gun: Maverick, says Refinery29. But you can’t go wrong with longtime favorites such as Harry Potter, Where’s Waldo and Dora the Explorer.

For best results, brainstorm a few costumes before thrifting, says Open Door. Keep an open mind, however, because you might find something that sparks new ideas. Don’t just look for clothing, either — the thrift might have accessories and props that will make your look stand out.

Don’t forget that thrifts are a great source of foundational materials such as sheets that can be repurposed, as well as Halloween decorations. What you come up with is limited only by your creativity, so start #thrifting now. You’ll be able to shop sustainably and save money.

An added bonus? Thrift stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org help fund valuable veterans programs. When you #donate clothing, #household goods and other lightly used #stuff, it gets resold to fund housing, health care and other veteran needs.

Remember to contact ClothingDonations.org any time of year you wish to schedule a #free, #contactless #donation #pickup, too! Think of your donation as pay your Happy Halloween forward. Hope yours is spook-tacular!