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Declutter and Do Good

Fall is almost here, and we’ve got a few ideas to help you spruce up the neighborhood and declutter your home, all while having fun and helping others in need.

Shred it and forget it.
(Volunteer Commitment: 2+ hours)

You can reduce your information security risk and free up space around your home at the same time by gathering and shredding sensitive documents that have outlived their purpose. If you don’t own a shredder, talk to your local library or community leaders about an upcoming shredding event, or check out this do-it-yourself toolkit for a refresher on how to organize your own shredding event in your community. Shredding events are great opportunities to help your neighbor as well. Just an offer to take a few boxes of theirs on your way could make a big difference to an older resident on your street.

Breathe new life into old electronics.
(Volunteer Commitment: 1+ hours)

You can help save our landfills and help your neighbors free up space in their garage by identifying a local eWaste recycling event and offering to take items from multiple households in a single trip. Churches and community centers often hold annual events, and some accept donations from neighboring communities, so even if your town isn’t hosting one, it’s worth checking around. Additionally, many Goodwill locations will accept “anything with a cord.” Although there are a few exceptions, including large appliances and those with refrigeration units attached.

Turn trash into treasure.
(Volunteer Commitment: 2+ hours)

Rearranging your wardrobe for the cooler months? Now is a great time to filter out items you never wear, or that no longer fit. Help your dresses and suits find a new home with CareerGear and Dress for Success. These organizations help empower individuals with professional clothing and support so they can become stronger contributors to their communities. Your local Salvation Army is another organization that re-sells donated items at a substantially reduced cost, and uses the proceeds to help fund community outreach.

Have kids clothing that no longer fits? Have your kids help you host a garage sale, and use the proceeds to make a donation to their favorite cause. Or talk to your neighbors with younger children and invite them to a “fashion show” where they can choose to keep any items they like.

Go out on a limb for seniors.
(Volunteer Commitment: 2-5 hours)

Leaf maintenance can be back-breaking work, so autumn is a great time to lend a hand to neighbors in need. The best time to help is when you’re working on your yard yourself. Raking, pruning, gutter cleaning and window air conditioner removal are just a few tasks with which you might be able to help. And gathering a few extra neighbors to lend a hand makes it fast and easy.

Don’t have the time or skills to help out with these tasks directly? You can still draw up a checklist of activities specific to your climate or region. Items like chimney sweeping and hose outlet insulation are often overlooked, and a simple reminder could be all your neighbor needs to prevent a costly insurance claim.

Send books to U.S. troops

Operation Paperback is a non-profit organization that helps volunteers collect and ship books to troops, both abroad and in the U.S. Find out how.

Hold a Used Coat Drive

Help those in need to stay warm this winter. Organize a gently used coat drive in your community through One Warm Coat.