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Organizer on Spring Cleaning: Start Small, Get Help, Consider Donating to Goodwill

A Nashville-based professional organizer recently offered a few tips to make Tennesseeans’ spring cleaning efforts easier and more successful, including a suggestion on how to help others in the process.

Debbie Keller, owner of Home and Office Transitions and a board member of the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, said she recommends donating unneeded clothing and household goods to Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.

“I encourage my clients to donate to Goodwill, because every item donated to Goodwill finds a new home with someone who does need it or it is repurposed for another use,” Keller said. “Another reason I love giving to Goodwill is that money they raise from selling our donated items helps someone else find dignity and purpose in learning new job skills and finding employment. It excites me to be able to help people help themselves.”

Keller also offered the following suggestions for spring cleaning:

  • Start small: Begin with a drawer or closet, then take a break and reward yourself by doing something you enjoy. Repeat. Your enjoyment of the spaces you have finished will encourage you to keep going, and you will find you are able to tackle larger projects.
  • Enlist the help of a friend who will support, encourage and challenge you, or hire an organizing professional.
  • Pull everything out and divide into categories. Include one pile for items to be donated, one for trash and another for items that you’re not sure about. Don’t belabor decisions at this point — just sort the items.
  • Love it, use it or lose it: We “collect” and accumulate things for a variety of reasons but aren’t that attached to them, nor do we use them. Donate them to someone who can use them.

Goodwill suggests that when people are unsure about whether to part with an item, they should consider the One-Year Rule, which states, “If you haven’t worn it, used it or played with it in a year, it is time to donate it to Goodwill.”

Goodwill relies on donations of clothing and other household items to support its mission of providing employment and training opportunities to people who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. Last year, through the sale of donated items in its stores, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee assisted more than 28,000 people across the 48 counties it serves, helping more than 9,500 of those land jobs.

Donations to Goodwill are 100-percent tax-deductible, so donors should remember to keep their donation receipts for tax records. There are more than 80 Donation Express Centers located across Middle and West Tennessee. More information can be obtained by visiting www.giveit2goodwill.org.


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