Our team approached Goodwill® back in late 2009 because we wanted to pitch a national TV show about losing your clutter pounds in January and do a story with them. I was looking for the right nonprofit partner to find a way to give back and add more meaning to what we do. From there our conversations led to the Donate Movement, an initiative to teach people about the impact that donating has on both people and the planet. I learned Goodwill would soon be launching the movement, and we all realized it was a perfect match for us to work together! I reach thousands of people who are making decisions about the stuff in their closets and garages, and I now have the honor and privilege of educating them about why Goodwill is a smart and responsible choice for donating those household goods.
2. What’s your favorite aspect of being an ambassador for Goodwill?
My favorite part of being Goodwill’s spokesperson and ambassador of the Donate Movement is getting to magnify my personal message of gratitude and use it to help more people. I get to flip the “problem” of clutter into an opportunity to give! When people realize that their clutter problem is really a benefit of abundance, they can gratefully donate it to make room for other things in their lives. I also love educating people about Goodwill’s mission. It’s magical to watch the light bulb go on when people start to really understand what Goodwill does. Most know Goodwill for the thrift stores, but they don’t realize that the revenue from those stores is used to fund programs to help people find employment, especially people with various kinds of challenges. Goodwill helps people with disabilities, criminal records, a lack of education, a lack of work experience, or even transportation problems, and I am particularly proud about their programs for veterans.
3. In your position with Goodwill, I’m sure you’ve seen numerous acts of kindness. Is there a certain one that sticks out? If so do you mind sharing a little about it, and why you feel the way you do.
I am definitely privileged to meet and hear the stories of many incredibly inspiring people who have overcome numerous adversities. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but there is a woman I met in Texas who has no arms or legs and works faster and better than able-bodied people in the same job! She inspires everyone daily even with what it takes for her to get herself to work—she never misses a day and she actually drives herself and is extremely independent. Mostly what I see in common with all of these stories is an outstanding attitude that surpasses the limitations of whatever challenge or disability is present. I am so inspired when people will do whatever it takes, work hard, and keep smiling and sharing their gratitude through their hardship
4. What suggestions do you have to help us de-clutter our lives, and is there a certain time of year that’s best to donate to Goodwill?
I suggest beginning your organizing process by starting in a place that bothers you the most and would have the most impact on your daily life if you got it done. The benefits of organizing a frequently used space like a kitchen, laundry room, closet, or home office are immediately noticed and can carry you forward with momentum for other projects
Remember that clutter represents delayed decisions and delayed actions… clutter is rooted in procrastination! The more decisive you are, the better organized you’ll be. Decide NOW whether to keep it, where to store it, when to return it, or where to donate it.
From Goodwill’s perspective, any time is a wonderful time to donate. But from your own personal perspective, the holiday season is perfect. You clear out space to make room for new things you may receive as gifts, you have a good experience of clearing things for the new year, and you get your last opportunity for a tax deduction for the year’s end.
5. What are some activities we can do with our children to make cleaning out our closets and donating fun?
• The “one-in, one-out” rule is good for teaching children about limits on space. For every new toy (or shirt, or video game) we get, we have to donate at least one. As I mentioned above, holidays and birthdays are great times to clean out closets and play areas before you get lots of new things.
• Definitely take kids with you when you donate, and explain to them that selling their clothing, toys and books at Goodwill provides money to help people find jobs in your city. With Goodwill’s Donation Impact Calculator (patent-pending), you can plug in the items that you have donated and actually see what kinds of services they will provide to someone. http://donate.goodwill.org
• If you have a particularly sentimental child, I suggest making a “Maybe Box” where they can place things they are not sure about, with the agreement that if they have not asked for it in a certain period of time (like 2 months), you can donate it.
• And if your kids are interested in the environment, teach them that just as there are things we recycle, there are things we donate. Donating to Goodwill kept 2.7 billion pounds of goods out of our landfills in 2011… that is 86 pounds per second! They can play the Donation Match Game to learn more in a fun way: https://donate.goodwill.org/game/
Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers! If people want some help losing the clutter, our program online provides very affordable consulting from some of the country’s best organizing experts, and you can try it free for 14 days at www.clutterdiet.com/learnmore.