I love a good checklist.
We just presented on the Sustainability Stage at the Minnesota State Fair. At the event, we handed out a declutter checklist to help attendees find items that can be donated. Several participants asked that we publish it, so we are!
There is also a printable version below.
Happy decluttering :)
Most or all of the items on this list can be donated to nonprofits where they are truly needed.
☐ Pots and pans you seldom use
☐ Bakeware and cookie cutters you haven’t used in two years and/or duplicates
☐ Extra and mismatched dishes, silverware, mugs/glasses, and serving ware
☐ Appliances you haven’t used in the past year
☐ Junk drawer: Extra scissors, measuring tape, pens, markers, clips, etc.
☐ Extra jars, bottles, or cans you don’t use
☐ Duplicate or unused utensils
☐ Unused or excess plastic containers
☐ Travel sized shampoo bottles
☐ Surplus or non-matching towels
☐ Unused cups, holders, décor
☐ Unused mirrors, hangers, shelving/stacking, etc.
☐ Clothes and shoes you haven’t worn in a season
☐ Jewelry you haven’t worn in a season
☐ Clothes and shoes that don’t fit well
☐ Excess hangers, storage
☐ Books you haven’t read or re-read in 3 years
☐ Unused toys, games, and books
☐ Extra bedding, blankets, sheets
☐ Extra televisions, furniture, lamps
☐ DVDs and CDs you no longer use
Office & Technology
☐ Excess school supplies
☐ Gift cards you haven’t used
☐ Unused computers
☐ Unused cellphones
☐ Unused cameras
☐ Unused electronics (mice, monitors, printers, etc.)
☐ Excess school supplies
☐ Excess folders, files, folios, binders, etc.
☐ Extra hangers and baskets you don’t use
☐ Décor you haven’t used in a season
☐ Extra furniture you haven’t used
☐ Anything that is broken
☐ Unused bikes that haven’t been used in a year
☐ Mower/blower: duplicate or unused
☐ Ladders, extra siding, etc., not used in a year
☐ Yard and Garden tools you haven’t used in a season
☐ Power and hand tools you don’t use
☐ Pet supplies you no longer need
☐ Keys from old cars/houses/unknown
☐ Unused glasses
☐ Furniture you no longer use
☐ Instruments you haven’t played in the past year
☐ Seasonal: coats, mittens, boots not used in a year
Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Regift, Repurpose, Recycle, Rot...
There are a lot of "Rs" and they are all important pieces of living more sustainably.
Focusing on just one thing to apply them to can help keep them in mind for many things.
Let's start with coffee.
There are so many ways to make enjoying a cup just a little more earth-friendly.
By focusing on just one item, hopefully, it will help you apply the "R"s more easily and memorably to other things, too!
Think about it.
Every choice is very important to the health of the planet. Coffee has a big carbon footprint from the production, water consumption, shipping, roasting, packaging, and brewing. Are there other choices that will be just as easy and satisfying for buying or brewing? Could you cut out some coffee in favor of a healthy glass of water or even enjoy growing your own teas?
If you do need that morning cup, read on...
Refuse earth-unfriendly stuff.
Ditch products (and companies) that harm the environment. Consider better options to capsules, pods, and pads that produce a lot of waste. Take a pass on single-use cups, overpackaged convenience items at the cafe', and plastic packaging. Opt for package-free bulk coffee, buying from sustainable growers and stores.
Have enough, not too much.
Do you find you are throwing out 1/2 of a pot or the last bit of your latte because you don't actually drink it all? Order a smaller size or make 1/2 of a pot.
Fix it if it breaks.
If you've broken a carafe, you know it costs almost as much to buy a new machine. But even if the cost is similar, in the end you end up with a working machine which is what you need. You may even be able find that carafe from a neighbor through nextdoor or FB Marketplace.
Refill your own, buy used equipment, & donate what you don't need.
Use a refillable cup, a filter-less coffee maker, a cloth napkin, a reusable straw....
If you no longer use your coffee machine, mug, or anything else, donate it, give it, or sell it so someone else doesn't have to buy new.
Done with your coffee mug or just have too many? Use it as an adorable little planter. Incidentally, you can also do that with paper cups, too. They work great for indoor planting spring seedlings. There are lots of other ways to up-cycle them in fun, creative ways.
Plant your grounds.
Who knew coffee grounds could be reused for so many things? You can save them for your garden where they make a great soil addition and help keep some pests at bay. They can even be used as grit on icy sidewalks.
The last option.
When you don't have better choices, recycling single-use cups and items should be a last resort. Since very little plastic is actually recyclable, make sure your city or county can recycle what you are putting in your blue bin. More importantly, ask coffee shops to take responsibility to recycle, offer composting, and allow refillable cups.
Breaking Free helps women escape systems of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking and prostitution. They have served more than 6,000 clients and reached over 22,000 individuals with advocacy, street outreach, housing, women's program and supportive services, and ending the demand through Men Breaking Free.
Staff diversity at Breaking Free provides additional support to serve women of color who are disproportionately represented in the demographics of sex trafficking, prostitution, and sexual exploitation.
How it Started
Breaking Free was founded in 1996 by Vednita Carter. A survivor herself, her mission was to help women and girls whose lives had been devastated by prostitution and sex trafficking.
"The single greatest barrier to escaping sex trafficking and prostitution is a lack of safe housing." Terry Forliti, Executive Director of Breaking Free
Breaking Free is a survivor-led provider of housing services to victims of sex trafficking and their children in Minnesota, including week-day Drop-In Center, permanent supportive housing, and an emergency shelter.
Want to support the work of Breaking Free with 'good stuff'? Here are some of the things that are needed right now and the real impact these donations can have:
How it Started
Jeremiah Program was founded in 1993 to engage the community in breaking the cycle of poverty for the growing number of children being born to single mothers living in poverty.
They have expanded to serve families in cities outside of Minnesota including Austin, Fargo, Boston and Brooklyn, and continue to grow.
What they Do
Jeremiah Program helps disrupt the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children, two generations at a time so no mother has to make the untenable choice between investing in herself and her children.
They take a wholistic approach built upon 5 pillars:
This holistic approach of the program allows families to dream what is possible when they are able to bring all of their identities to bear in pursuit of their goals.
Be A Part of It
When you support Jeremiah Program, you become part of the community. Here is a glance at their ongoing needs on Donate Good Stuff:
How It Started
The Link was founded in 1991 by two local Black leaders and former Minnesota Vikings Players, Jim Marshall and Oscar Reed to help youth on the Northside of Minneapolis who were struggling with poverty, homelessness, getting victimized by crime or recruited into criminal activity. The two leaders started the organization in a very community grounded way with a philosophy of doing “whatever it took” to help young people on the Northside.
What They Do
The Link has 22 programs across the Twin Cities area, employs over 150 adult and youth staff members, and supports over 2,000 youth and young families each year. The Link offers programming in three areas:
Top Needs Right Now
The Link website lists top needs right now as: hygiene, food, new clothing, and gift cards. And here is a glance at their ongoing needs on Donate Good Stuff:
Each February, the United States observes Black History Month, a month dedicated to honoring the history, struggles, and triumphs of black people in America and around the world.
Its purpose is to educate us and remind us that black people have always been a contributing force in this nation and the world. The goal shouldn't solely be to celebrate Black History for a month, but to overcome our historical amnesia and to acknowledge and incorporate black history for what it is. Black history is American History. Black history is World History. Black history is a rich and integral part of our collective history.
While the stories highlighted during this month often focuses on famous and exceptional figures, it is also the contributions of regular people and everyday actions that have also crafted the world we have inherited. It is often those figures that are most relatable, and no less important, and equally missing from the general narrative.
While Rosa Parks and MLK are important people with major contributions, there are so many other people we should enriching our collective knowledge and experience with. For example, read about Shirley Chisolm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, and Fannie Lou Hamer, a Black activist from Mississippi who launched Freedom Farm Cooperative (FFC), an initiative to purchase land that Black people could collectively own and farm. Read or listen to “1619″ Project. Enjoy black authors Black authors in your reading list. Visit BlackPast.org for an extensive list of other notable Black figures. Dig into these collections, exhibits, and resources, or if you are an educator, these educational resources for teachers.
If you are as much a viewer as a reader, there are fantastic lists of documentaries from PBS or this List of 91 Movies and TV Shows to Stream and dive into wonderful performances by epic black leads and casts like award-winning Octavia Spencer in "Self Made", inspired by the life of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American self-made millionaire, including Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” a drama about a real-life group of Black teens falsely accused of a vicious attack; “Loving,” a film about an interracial couple whose marriage became the basis of a landmark Supreme Court case; and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” starring Viola Davis as the groundbreaking Southern blues singer; and don't leave out outstanding comic performances like Tiffany Haddish's 'They Ready".
And if you love music, celebrate and listen to music created by Black artists, for example, on Spotify’s “Black History is Now” or Amazon's 'Black History Month". Find classics Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles as well as current recording stars like H.E.R., Anderson .Paak and Andra Day.
Meanwhile, this month and throughout the year, Donate Good Stuff will be highlighting people and innovative and exceptional organizations that are working to further black health, education, rights and community development. They are making tomorrow's history today, working toward a more vibrant, rich, and equitable world for future generations. Although not all organizations may be collecting donation items through Donate Good Stuff, they merit recognition and support of their work to support anti-racism equity and equality.
We invite you to Follow us on Facebook to learn more.