The Great Donate- When we Gave Away a Jar of Bacon Grease

by - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

This year, I set an ambitious goal for our family- donate or recycle 2,017 items from our home. It sounds crazy, but it isn't as crazy as you think. The average American home has 300,000 objects in it, so giving up 2,017 isn't even 1%. We are taking on this challenge for a number of reasons-

-A cluttered house wastes so much time. I have two small children, and everything in my house needs to be worth the time I am going to spend picking it up off the floor. Less stuff= less to clean= more time to spend actually playing or making or writing this blog.

-Too much stuff keeps us from even knowing what we have. Have you ever bought something at the store only to find you already had it at home? Me too. And that is waste.

- Someone else can use it. We have stuff sitting in wait for us to need it or want it again, but someone else can use that blanket/ coat/ book; now. And if we give it to them, we can do so much good. If they can't afford it, we can help. If they could but get it used instead, we are keeping something out of a landfill. I love that.

- I believe in a re-use culture. Our generation can be the first in quite a while to really appreciate reuse. Part of that is being willing to buy things used. The other part is to keep putting things we aren't using back out for other people to use.

We are in our third month of donations now, and we took our first big trip to goodwill so things are picking up! Right now, our number is:


Not bad! But we have to get to almost double that by the end of the month to be on track, we will see how it goes.

First, I think one of the coolest things we gifted this whole time is a jar of bacon grease we gave away this week. It just goes to show that what looks like garbage to you could be an absolute treasure for someone else. A neighbor uses animal fat for all of her traditional Polish cooking. And now we were able to help her out! Tell me that isn't cool?

Also cool, this week, the Baby Bear and I checked out his preschool class. One of the moms looked familiar, but I brushed the idea away, because we live in a big city, so running into someone you know doesn't happen. No, she's a part of my Buy Nothing Group! And I gave her our extra copy of I'll Love You Forever! Love that Buy Nothing is making our world smaller.

In the midst of all this positivity, I have to admit the big boost in our numbers, a big trip to Goodwill made me feel a little sad. This picture is me sorting through the piles of stuff that have been filling up a corner of our basement, just waiting to go. Pretty, right? A minimalist dream, for sure.

Between the three of us, we had almost 200 items (including socks, bras, etc) of clothes that we don't use or want. That is just so much. I generally try not to load any of this process with negativity, because I don't find it to be productive, but if we are being honest, I felt ashamed about it. And even worse because we do hauls like that at least once a year.

How do we let this build up? I know I make some leap purchases that often don't pan out. I feel like by 30 I should have a strong sense of my personal style (The Boy has nailed his), but instead I feel like I am always talking myself out of it and trying new things I don't end up liking. The big pile of clothes points to a place where my insecurity leaves a window open for over shopping, as if buying that perfect thing will help me embrace myself more fully.

Is this part of why we let things build up? It's easier to work around it than to stare our over consumption in the face? I mean, I look at this stuff all the time, think about it, write about it, and I still have a hoard of t-shirts I will never wear again. These are hard habits to break. So for all of you who are facing down these demons for The Great Donate, or Lent, or for a super Spring Cleaning, I think you are awesome.

Could you donate 2,017 things in 2017? There is still lots of time to reach this goal that will tranfrorm your life (and clean your house). Check out more info about the mission here, and be sure to check out all the donation ideas on the blog!

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