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Downsize using the Magic of Donating: Let Go and Help Others

Updated: Apr 20



Are you planning on moving or downsizing soon? It’s tough to let go of your possessions when you don’t know where they’ll go. But instead of throwing them away, why not donate them to a worthy charity? Not only will you be doing something good for your community and the environment, but you'll also be helping yourself let go of things you no longer need.


A recent study from Penn State University found that people are more likely to let go of items if they know they will be used by someone else instead of being wasted in a landfill.

A recent study from Penn State University found that people are more likely to let go of items if they know they will be used by someone else instead of being wasted in a landfill.


As a home organizer, I've worked with countless clients who've struggled with downsizing and letting go of their belongings. It's completely understandable to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of decluttering, especially if you've accumulated a lot of things over the years. But there is a solution that not only simplifies your life but also benefits you, others, and the environment. That solution is donating.

Let's find out how we can do something good for ourselves and the planet!


Challenges of Downsizing and Letting Go:

One of the most significant challenges people face when downsizing is deciding what to keep and what to let go of. It can be hard to part with items that hold sentimental value, even if they're no longer useful or taking up valuable space. Clients often express guilt or anxiety about letting go of items they've inherited from family members or received as gifts.

She could let go when she knew her things would find a good home.

It's not uncommon for us to attach emotional value to our possessions, even if we don't use them regularly or they're taking up valuable space. For example, I've worked with a client who had four complete sets of good china passed down from a grandmother, mother, and aunt. None of it was ever used, but she had a strong emotional attachment to them and couldn't bear to let them go. The Solution: Donating My client could let go of them when I told her about a charity that helped newcomers set up their homes.


Donating is an excellent solution for downsizing because it provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

You reduce landfill waste when you donate to a reputable Charity

By donating unwanted items instead of throwing them away, you can reduce landfill waste and help those in need. Plus, you can feel good knowing that you're making a positive impact on the environment. When I work with clients who are downsizing, I always recommend donating items that are in good condition and can be used by others. This includes furniture, home decor, clothing, and household items. Donating these items not only benefits others but also simplifies the downsizing process by eliminating the need to sell or dispose of them.



She Found a Women's Shelter that was in need of Furniture

One of my clients, let's call her Sarah, was downsizing to a smaller home after her husband had passed away. She had a lot of furniture and household items that she no longer needed, but she didn't want to throw them away. Instead, we researched local charities and found a women's shelter that was in need of furniture and household items. Sarah was thrilled to be able to donate her belongings to a good cause and felt a sense of fulfillment in knowing that she was helping others.


Another client, let's call him John, was downsizing to a smaller apartment after his children had moved out. He had a lot of clothing and household items that he no longer needed, but he was hesitant to donate them because he wasn't sure where they would end up. We did some research and found a local charity that had a thrift store, which meant that John's donations would be sold to support the charity's programs. John was happy to know that his donations were going to a good cause and felt a sense of relief in knowing that his belongings wouldn't go to waste.

Emotional attachment is a significant factor that makes decluttering and downsizing so difficult.


Many people feel guilty, anxious, or overwhelmed when they have to let go of items that hold sentimental value or represent a significant investment of time, money, or energy. For example, I worked with a client who had a large collection of dolls that she had collected over the years. She felt that each doll had a story and a unique personality, and parting with them felt like losing a cherished friend. I encouraged her to choose a few of her favorite dolls to keep and to donate the rest to a local children's charity, Oasis Clothing Bank. Oasis offers help to those recovering from addiction. Oasis will take your old toys and games—just drop them off at a bin near you. My client was able to let go of the guilt and anxiety and feel good about her decision to donate.


In situations like these, donating with intention can be an excellent solution. By donating sentimental items to a charity or organization that means something to you, you can give these items a new life while still holding onto the memories they represent. For example, if your grandmother passed down a beautiful quilt to you, but you don't have the space to keep it, consider donating it to a hospice or nursing home where it can provide comfort to those in need.

Another challenge people face when downsizing is the fear of letting go of things they might need in the future.


Another challenge people face when downsizing is the fear of letting go of things they might need in the future. We tend to hold onto items "just in case," even if we haven't used them in years. This fear of scarcity can create clutter and chaos in our homes and lives.

One of my clients had a large collection of cooking gadgets and appliances that she had accumulated over the years. Even though she only used a few of them regularly, she was hesitant to get rid of the others because she didn't want to regret it later. I suggested that she donate the items she didn't use to a local charity that helps families set up new homes after experiencing homelessness or domestic violence. Seeing how her items were helping others in need gave her the courage to let go of the fear and simplify her space.


Donating is a solution to these challenges because it allows us to give our possessions a second life while also doing good for others and the environment. By donating, we can reduce landfill waste, support local charities, and help those in need.

Donating with intention can also be a great way to involve family members in the downsizing process.


If you have adult children who live out of town or siblings who are interested in certain items, consider gifting those items to them or donating them to a charity that they support. This can be a way to share memories and sentimental items with loved ones, while still downsizing and simplifying your own space.



What is Donating with Intention?

Donating with intention means making a deliberate decision about what items to donate, to whom, and for what purpose. It involves being aware of the impact on the environment. It also involves considering whether the donations are in good enough condition to be used and appreciated by someone else. By donating with intention, you ensure that your belongings are going to a good home and that they will be put to good use by someone who needs them.


Donating with intention helps you overcome decision fatigue so that it is easier to let things go.

But it is more than just getting rid of unwanted items. It's also about giving those items a second life and making a positive impact on your community and the environment.


Benefits of donating:

  1. It reduces clutter and simplifies your space: By donating items that you no longer need or want, you can free up valuable space in your home and simplify your surroundings.

  2. It helps those in need: By donating to charities and organizations, you can provide essential items to those who may not have access to them otherwise.

  3. It reduces landfill waste: Donating items rather than throwing them away can help to reduce landfill waste and preserve the environment.

  4. It can be tax-deductible: Donations to qualified charities can be tax-deductible, providing an additional benefit to you.

  5. It can give sentimental items a new life: Donating sentimental items to a charity or organization can provide them with a new purpose and help you let go of those items without feeling like you're discarding them.

  6. It can be a way to involve loved ones: Donating items to loved ones or charities that are important to them can be a way to share memories and sentimental items while downsizing.

  7. It can make the downsizing process easier: By knowing where your items are going, you can reduce decision fatigue and stress associated with letting go of belongings.

  8. It can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment: By giving back to your community and helping those in need, you can experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  9. It can align with your values: By donating to charities and organizations that align with your values, you can feel good about the impact you're making.

  10. It can inspire others: By donating with intention, you can inspire others to do the same and create a ripple effect of giving back and making a positive impact.


Tips for Donating with Intention Now that we've covered some of the benefits of donating with intention, let's look at some ideas for making the donation process as smooth and effective as possible:

  1. Research charities and organizations: Ensure that your donations are going to a good cause. Look for charities that align with your values and support causes that are important to you.

  2. Plan ahead: Scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs. Confirm pick-up and drop-off details and furniture drop-off scheduling to avoid any last-minute mishaps.

  3. Keep track of charitable tax receipts to maximize your tax deductions accurately.

  4. Ensure items are in good condition: Charities rely on donations to help others, so it's important to donate items that are in demand and useful to charities.

  5. Consider the needs of the organization: For example, if you're donating to a homeless shelter, they may be in need of blankets, pillows, and warm clothing. If you're donating to a school, they may be in need of books, educational toys, and art supplies.

  6. Donate locally: By donating to local charities and organizations, you can support your community directly and make a positive impact.

  7. Don't be afraid to ask questions: If you're unsure about what items to donate or where to donate them, don't be afraid to ask questions.

  8. Consider hiring a professional organizer: If downsizing and decluttering feel overwhelming, consider hiring a professional organizer. A professional organizer can help you make a plan, sort through your items, and make the donation process smoother and more manageable.

  9. Celebrate your progress: Whether it's donating a bag of clothes or clearing out a cluttered room, each step forward is progress, and that should be celebrated.



Downsizing can be challenging, but donating your unwanted items to a reputable charity can be a great solution.


The emotional attachment you have to your stuff can be lessened by donating with intention. You can give your sentimental items a new life while still holding onto the memories they represent.


Donating also simplifies the downsizing process by eliminating the need to sell or dispose of items; reducing landfill waste and helping those in need. Plus, you can feel good knowing that you're making a positive impact on the environment.



So if you're planning on moving or downsizing soon, I invite you to reach out to In and Out Organizing for help. Our team of professional organizers can assist you in decluttering and downsizing while finding worthy charities to donate your unwanted items to. Let us simplify your life and do something good for the planet.

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