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I just looked. It was 2013 when I first shared about putting a donation station in the garage. In that post I talked a lot about tracking donation for tax write-offs (and I shared a free printable). My focus today is why have a donation station at all?! I’ll tell you why: a designated place for stuff we don’t need encourages us to get rid of things as we go. It is also a boundary – when it’s full, it signals it’s time for a trip to donate.
Maybe you’re new to decluttering and think that a declutter station is something you do when you’re done decluttering and you’re just maintaining. Don’t wait. If you have a place THAT IS CONVENIENT to put the stuff you come across while you’re in your closet or kitchen or office, you’ll be more encouraged to just get rid of the little things as you go.
If you have a garage, it’s a great place for your donation station. That’s where ours has always been. Now I keep it on top of the freezer in an open laundry basket. I’m emptying it so regularly that I don’t really need it covered for dust purposes. I’m short, so often I literally throw stuff into it (unless it is breakable).
I’m not the only one who uses the donation station! When my kids bring me stuff to get rid of, I usually just say “good job” and remind them to put it in the donation station. I’m sure by now they know where it goes, but maybe they still bring it to me first for some mom-validation?! If so, I’m happy to cheer them on. Decluttering is such a huge life skill.
In 2013 when I first shared my donation station, my four kids were 8, 8, 6, and infant. Now my kids are 14, 14, 12, and 6. Things have changed a lot in these 6 years! I was definitely the only one using it in 2013. Now, at least one of my kids brings me something every week. Sometimes they bring me whole piles of things. (And yes, even the daughter I talk about in Guiding Kids to Declutter. Her success story and transformation still amazes me.)
^ The donation station 6 years ago.
My kids have grown up in an atmosphere where decluttering is so normalized and it has had amazing side effects. My kids aren’t really hungry to get more stuff! They don’t really ask for a lot of stuff for birthdays and Christmas, or really at all. When they want something, it is usually something they really need or want and will actually use. This is THE most important side effect of decluttering, it completely changes our perception of stuff in general.
I repeat: Decluttering changes our perception of stuff. When you start to declutter, you don’t have to lecture yourself about changing, you will naturally just start to think about it differently the more you get rid of things.
If you don’t have a designated place for donations – make a spot today. It’s easy, you just need an empty container. Then, put stuff you don’t need or want or use anymore into the container. When it is full, donate it. Repeat.
Go and do it now!