“If you needed it, would you buy it in this condition?” This is what donation centers across the country want you to think about before you donate the items you have decided to part with. Too many of us are donating items that are dirty, torn, broken or unsalvageable. Sometimes our intentions are good – we hope that someone can fix it, clean it or repair it to make it work for someone else. But this is not how we should think about the process of donating. Donation centers and charities don’t have the time or staff to fix things to make them work. The volume of ‘stuff’ that they deal with is just too large.

Donating should be thoughtful and intentional. You should think about where you want to donate things before you even begin decluttering. Spend a little time researching places that are a good match for the items you want to part with. Items should be clean and in good condition. Donating is about creating a second life for an item – one that perhaps you cannot use any longer, but that someone else could.