Make an Impact on National Give Something Away Day

National Give Something Away Day — celebrated each year on July 15 — was created as a reminder for people to give back. How you choose to give can take multiple forms, but selfless acts are their own reward.

Many people have much more than what’s necessary to survive, but know that there are people in need nearby. National Give Something Away Day encourages us to take stock of the #things and comforts around us and share them with others.

What you give and to whom is entirely up to you. You might give a friend an old #tchotchke they’ve long admired or a bouquet of flowers. You might buy the person behind you in line a coffee or a sandwich. No gift is too small.

You can also choose #donate the gift of time to a local charity or organization by #volunteering. Perhaps there’s a food pantry or outreach organization that could use your help and specialized knowledge.

One fantastic way to celebrate National Give Something Away Day is to #clean out your #closets and other #storage areas to weed out the #stuff you no longer need. If whatever you find is in wearable or working condition, chances are that somebody else can use it.

Start with a single #closet or room. Sort through all of the #clothing, #books, #decorations and other #household items to see what has a place, setting aside anything that doesn’t fit or only creates #clutter. You’ll probably see the piles build up fast!

Put that #junk into #bags and #boxes and contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a #free #donation #pickup. Not only will you be giving something away and reclaiming #space, you’ll be #helping to fund programs that benefit the nation’s #veterans.

You can observe National Give Something Away Day on any day of the year, of course. But its reminder to give is one that yields benefits for everyone involved. #NationalGiveSomethingAwayDay

Goods That Will Make or Break Your Garage Sale

There are 12 categories of #garage-sale goods that “sell like hotcakes,” WiseBread says. Good quality, gently used #clothing; tools; furniture (especially bookcases or shelves); vintage dishes, glassware, and casseroles; garden tools; handbags; costume jewelry; games, toys, and bicycles; books; appliances; camping gear and other sporting goods; and exercise equipment. “Put pictures in your ad. Basic exercise equipment like weights will usually go quickly, but older treadmills or exercise bikes may linger, depending on how you price them and how quickly you want to get rid of them.” #GarageSaleHacks

Earth Day 2024 Focuses on Reducing Plastic Pollution

Earth Day is almost here! The annual celebration of the planet and its ecosystems reminds consumers that it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment and  secure a sustainable and healthy future.

The theme for Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics. In order to protect human and planetary health, EarthDay.org is targeting a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, with the ultimate goal of a plastic-free future.

When plastics break down, they release toxic chemicals into the ecosystem, contaminating the food, water and air consumed by humans and other living creatures. Plastics also demand vast amounts of resources to create, so anything you can to avoid their use is good for the earth.

Start by carrying a reusable bag for your purchases. The average plastic bag is used for less than 20 minutes, but can survive hundreds of years in landfills. And despite the best efforts, they have proved to be nearly impossible to recycle; only 1% are returned to stores.

If you eat meals on the go, carry a set of reusable flatware instead of accepting a plastic fork, knife, spoon or spork. Borrow a set from the kitchen or invest in a camp-style kit to contribute less to plastic pollution. Add a stainless steel straw for good measure!

Plastics are everywhere. “Fast fashion” — cheap garments that are designed to be disposable — are a leading source of pollution, too. Many are made of petroleum-based microfibers — plastics that pollute the waterways when washed. And most cheap garments end up in landfills after only a few months’ wear.

To dress more #sustainably, shop smarter: Buy fewer higher-quality #garments that will last several seasons or years rather than trendy throwaways. Scour #secondhand and #thrift stores for quality #clothing, and you can save money while protecting the earth.

And always #donate any lightly-used #clothing you no longer wear to ClothingDonations.org instead of throwing it away. Those garments can have a second useful life instead of clogging the local landfill. These and other small steps can contribute to conservation. Happy Earth Day!

The Ultimate No-Clutter November

With #Halloween in the rearview and temperatures dropping fast, it’s on to November and the #holidays. ’Tis the season that you’ll see more #stuff than ever, as you give and get gifts, bake up platters of cookies, prepare your home for guests, get the good China out and put up the decorations.

But November can also be a month of measured austerity. The Great American Smokeout happens mid-month every year, and No-Shave November encourages cancer prevention and awareness. But there’s an unofficial cause you can take up in the effort to lead a calmer, more stress-free life: #No-Clutter November.

You can start with décor items that don’t get used, Organize Your Stuff Now says. As you #decorate for the fall and winter #holidays, take a good look at the stuff that doesn’t make the cut. You don’t need to save that stuff for next year — you aren’t using it, so get rid of it now. When you pack the decorations away again in January, they will take a lot less space.

Chances are you’ll be spending more time in the kitchen, too, making cookies, a dish to pass or hosting a full feast yourself. As you prepare, have a box handy and throw any shabby kitchen towels, hot pads and oven mitts in it. Do the same as you go through your drawers and cabinets; there are probably utensils that you haven’t used in years.

It’s also a great time to assess your cold-weather #clothing, much of which you’ll be getting out for the first time in November. “We recommend people #declutter their collection of hats, scarves and gloves,” professional organizer Diane Quintana told Homes & Gardens. “Look at these items critically. If they are in good condition but [you don’t] want to use them anymore, release them so someone else can benefit from them.”

To attack No-Cutter November aggressively, First for Women suggests, eliminate one item on Nov. 1, two on Nov. 2 and so on. You’ll eventually have a pile of 465 items that you don’t want or use, and you can #trash, give away or #donate them to ClothingDonations.org by arranging a #free #donation #pickup. By the end of the month, your home will be #decluttered and #streamlined — and you’ll be ready to meet the holidays head-on.

Why Fall Is America’s Favorite Season

Fall begins on Saturday, Sept. 23, and four out of 10 U.S. residents couldn’t be happier. That’s right: According to a 2022 Morning Consult survey of more than 2,000 Americans, 41% named fall as their favorite season.

Spring and summer tied for second place, with 24% each, and winter (perhaps not surprisingly) garnered only 11%. Women, Midwesterners and Southerners, and Gen X were the biggest fans of fall; interestingly, Gen Z is the only demographic to like winter second-best.

What contributes to fall’s popularity? Sociologically speaking, the season is associated with many temporal landmarks, sociologist Kathryn Lively told HuffPost. Temporal landmarks are significant dates such as birthdays, holidays and other events that structure perceptions of time.

Fall birthdays are commonplace in the U.S., and events such as the start of school, Halloween, Thanksgiving and even homecoming provide people with fond memories that carry through to the annual change of seasons.

Survey respondents listed any number of justifications for their fall fandom. Almost two-thirds of those who named it as their favorite season (63%) said they enjoy seeing the leaves change color; more than half (58%) highlighted the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fall’s crisper weather (56%), fall foods (50%) and fall clothing (44%) also made the list, followed by Halloween (41%) and football (37%). In a poke at pumpkin spice lattés, only 32% named fall-inspired beverages.

But it’s more likely that positive emotions and memories drive people’s feelings for fall. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they feel “happy,” “content,” “excited,” “optimistic” and “nostalgic” in autumn. It’s a time for people to turn to comforts like sweaters and a hearty meal.

As you get your fall #clothing out this year, take stock of what you really need and wear, and #donate any extras to ClothingDonations.org. You’ll be sharing those good fall feelings with #veterans nationwide.