While all of us strive to lead more organised and simple lives, doing that requires effort besides resolve. More often than not we are so caught up in the daily grind, that we subconsciously procrastinate tasks of organising, decluttering and finally letting go of things we actually do not need.
But with the recent lockdown, most of us have had more time at home, allowing us to focus on some tasks we have been always been putting off. And one such project is organising the house by critically examining each closet, cabinet and corner and taking stock of what you actually need and what you don’t. After having managed to sort, pare down and declutter by category whether clothes, books, toys, kitchenware, electronics and the like, the next obvious question is what to do with those things, many of which are in perfectly usable condition. If you are wondering where you can donate your belongings, here are some ideas listed below:
Clothes Box Foundation (CBF)
Set up with a vision of ‘Clean clothes for all’, CBF is a not for profit organisation, started in 2014 with the aim to redistribute and recycle fabric that is no longer used by the owners but could mean the world to someone in need. “Our Initiative, “Refresh” is our recycling arm that has recycled over 300 tonnes of fabric into various utility items. This is done through a skill development program which is being run in three states of India” says Sajan Abrol, founder. While CBF’s main center is in Gurgaon, their pickup service is available in 18,000+ pin codes across 2500+ cities in India. CBF is a recipient of the National award from the government of India and a unique aspect of this organization is their transparency in that they make it possible for the donor to actually see the recipients via Facebook.
Share At Door Step (SADS)
A social venture that provides doorstep donation services to individuals and corporate donors, SADS India accepts almost everything re-usable except for medicines and food items. The list includes toys, clothes, footwear, furniture, home appliances, stationery items, kitchen utensils, mattresses, electronics, etc. Users can opt to choose a pickup service by paying a convenience fee or can also opt for a free drop-off in case they are willing to drop the donations themselves. “We have also added pickup for essential goods - hand sanitizers, masks, essential staples, etc. to support urban poor living in slums across major cities during this lockdown. The donated items are directly delivered to the NGOs as per their requirements,” says Anushka Jain, Founder & CEO. Interestingly, users earn 'Share Points' when they donate based on the impact made by them which can be redeemed for various exclusive goodies and offers. Apart from Bangalore, SADS has operations in seven other cities, namely, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune. According to Anushka, the number looking to donate and declutter has gone up manifold during the lockdown. “We have received a lot of requests from mothers of kids aged 4-12 to opt for regular monthly donations to teach their kids the importance of giving in addition to an increase in furniture donation” adds Anushka Jain.
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Started as a mobile library for children in 2005, Wishing Well today is an organisation that connects donors, resources and services to institutions. They accept new and used toys, books, clothes, electronics, furniture etc and distribute the items to the appropriate organisation from their network of NGOs. Wishing well has helped set up libraries, found institutions to take rare Marathi books, art catalogues, hospital equipment, uniforms, sheets and other niche items. “Our collections are only in Mumbai but our distribution is all India. We have partners in Leh, Assam, Darjeeling, Coimbatore to name a few” says Arti Vakil, Director, Wishing Well.
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A unique organisation that facilitates the provision of the basic necessity of footwear to everyone, Greensole recycles and refurbishes discarded shoes. These upcycled shoes are provided to children in need, especially school going children from rural villages and the adivasi belts region. "All used footwear donated is transported to our offices in Navi Mumbai and Jharkhand which is our skill center. Here the soles are cut into the required sizes and sent to our workshops at Mumbai for the refurbishing process. The refurbishment cost is Rs. 199 per pair and organizations/individuals could choose to go for direct refurbishment and donation as we receive tons of shoes from across the country" says Ashiquee Jain, CSR Manager at Greensole. Greensole works with municipal schools by procuring the list of individual students with their footwear size after which the refurbished footwear is made accordingly.
If you are looking to give away all your recyclable waste for a cause, then look no further than RaddiConnect. Whether it is old newspapers, magazines, corrugated boxes, metal cans, toys, shampoo or even alcohol bottles, Raddiconnect is a waste management service that is also a fundraising platform for NGOs. This Mumbai based organisation provides a free pick up from offices, schools, apartments etc. “We supply all recyclables to authorized recycling centers and proceeds from the sales are given to our partner NGOs” says Mukti Bala of Raddiconnect.
The Rural Institute for Development Education (RIDE) is an institution based in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to multiple causes including education for children, elimination of child labour, empowering women and the rural community as a whole, RIDE accepts new and old clothes for children, books, toys and stationery supplies. “We have adopted several rural poor schools in Kanchipuram and its surrounding villages and work with them directly” says S.Jeyaraj, Director and Founder.
If you are looking to exclusively donate the following items, below are some good references:
- Books: https://www.mypustak.com/
- Medicines: https://medicinebaba.org/
- Toys: https://www.toybank.in/
Used goods market
Apart from these avenues, there are several sites like OLX and Quikr where you can list your goods for sale. Globally, the economic impact of this pandemic is likely to influence consumer behaviour and it is foreseen that consumers are likely to lean towards refurbished and unboxed products that offer value for money. “At Quikr, we believe that every waste has a possibility to create wealth if re-used rightly. Any product that an individual does not need can be an aspiration for somebody else,” says Sarath Chandra Gudlavalleti, VP, QuikrBazaar.
While still nascent in India, garage sales as a concept that is slowly picking up. Garage Sale Bangalore is a closed Facebook group with over 47, 000 members which is a platform for people in the city to list things they want to sell. You can find many groups such as this on Facebook. Organising “one-time decluttering” events is also a way of disposing what you do not need. “Cleaning out one’s closet not only helps recycle, restyle and de-clutter, it also helps one de-stress and contribute to the environment by reducing carbon footprint,” says Bangalore based films producer Shernaza Rasul, who plans to organize Closet Cleanse, an invite only event where unwanted clothes, books, accessories and household items can be listed by the participants. Shernaza also added that a part of the sale proceeds would be donated to charity.