It’s that time of year again. All of the holiday madness is over, and you’ve gone back to the daily grind. As you go through your morning routine you see that same ugly sweater that your aunt gave you – without a gift receipt – or you have fun choosing which of the new shirts to wear that your mom bought you, and realize that you dig through shirts that you haven’t worn in at least a year.
Perhaps you sit on your couch, watching TV in the evenings, and try to avoid looking at the pile sitting in the corner with a board game you already own, a diffuser whose scent gives you a headache, a CD of John Denver’s greatest hits (which is just not your bag), and a stuffed animal whose proceeds benefit the World Wildlife Fund that you love the sentiment behind but have nowhere to put.
You can get rid of all of these things! De-clutter your life and help enrich the lives of others in the process by donating the things that you don’t use or want. It may be hard at first giving things away when you know a family member or friend had the best intentions when they gave them to you, but knowing other people could enjoy them more than you should make you feel better. Besides, if you wear that pair of earrings that are so not you every time you see your sister, then you might get the matching necklace next year for Christmas.
So if the idea of going through your clothes, or cleaning out your hall closet seems daunting, just find a grocery sack and start putting things in it that you are tired of looking at on a daily basis. You will be surprised how fast first one bag, and then two, and then three will fill up. Before you know it you’ll have a car full of things that you don’t want, but other people out in the world need whether it be to keep them warm, or simply make them feel better about themselves.
It’s true – whether or not you believe in karma, there is a direct correlation between helping those around us and our own personal happiness. In addition to the value you provide to the person/group for which you are volunteering or donating, you reap direct benefits yourself. You have the opportunity to meet other volunteers, make friends, and perhaps even increase your professional network. You’ll also lower your stress level and increase your personal “good feeling vibes” by temporarily forgetting about your own problems.
When surveyed, nearly 100% of people have intentions to give back to the community – some people volunteer their time and others donate their money. The obstacle for many of us lies in knowing where to start – what charity to contact, what talents should be offered, how much time can you feasibly commit. Just thinking about it can be overwhelming!
We have the answer! The one thing that we all have is STUFF – great stuff that we have collected over the years but no longer need or use. This “stuff” can be gathered and donated to the upcoming Junior League of Dallas’ Rummage Roundup with 100% of all proceeds given back to local DFW not-for-profits supported by the Junior League of Dallas.
Just think – in addition to finally tackling that overstuffed garage or cluttered closet, you could help a Senior in need, provide work training to help a father or mother transition out of the homeless shelter, tutor a student, or provide a meal to someone who would otherwise go hungry. And all you have to do is spend a few minutes in your own home.
On behalf of those in need, we thank you in advance for your generosity and donations. We know that, in return, you will reap good “karma” and perhaps it will even inspire you to get more involved in other DFW not-for-profits. Together, we can make a significant positive impact on our community!
Stacey J. Relton
President, Park Cities Careers
December – A time for indulging in holiday cheer, cooking (or at least dining) on tasty treats, shopping for loved ones, and wrapping up our professional year…it’s also time for an even more important task – planning our New Year’s Resolutions!
If you are like most Americans, you make a long list of very similar resolutions that you full heartedly intend to stick to – at least for a few months anyway. And if you are like me, they tend to revolve around fitness, achieving professional goals, taking long-awaited vacations, getting organized and wrapping up all of those items on my “to-do” lists, volunteering more, and starting afresh.
At the strong recommendation of a close friend whose professional opinion I highly respect, I recently started reading the book “Getting Things Done”. There are dozens of “how to get things done”, “be more productive”, “achieve your goals”, blah, blah, blah. To be honest, I’m sure these books are great, but I’m typically too busy to commit to reading them. This one book is different and I couldn’t help but notice how following the advice of cleaning out clutter, getting more organized, and minimizing my “stuff” has increased my productivity, made me feel organized and in-control, and more importantly, I have provided tangible assistance to local DFW charities
(I am of course donating my beloved “stuff” to the Junior League of Dallas’ Rummage Roundup which distributes 100% of all proceeds to local DFW not-for-profits supported by the Junior League of Dallas).
I started with my holiday storage closet. Like you, I have a ton of decorations – some of which I love and use, some of which I inherited from family members, and some of which, I’m not even sure WHY I ever bought them. They are great decorations (some of which were expensive but no longer mesh with my current contemporary taste). So, unless I absolutely loved an item, I set it aside to be donated. I was amazed at how great I felt just from downsizing and reorganizing that one closet! And I realized – this is JUST THE BEGINNING!
So, I continued following the advice of the book and moved on to conquering my guest bedroom closet – and then to my bedroom closet – and then to each room itself – and then to my office, each time downsizing most everything by 20%. With each item I laid eyes on, I asked myself if I really NEEDED it. If I didn’t LOVE the item, use it on a regular basis, or if I planned to replace it once we bought a house, I boxed it up and put the box in the back of my car for donation. This is especially true for clothes and it didn’t matter how nice or how costly the item was. Picture frames, wall decorations, clothes, shoes, etc. I constantly asked myself “Will I really miss this item? Will I EVER be size zero again so that I can wear this? Wouldn’t it be better to donate it and help someone else in need?”
With each trip to my car, I felt GREAT! I found myself literally calculating the money that would be raised from my donations! I realized that I was making a tangible difference in the community. A family would have a hot meal and a bed to sleep in at a local shelter, a child would receive much needed educational assistance, a Senior would find solace in the company of a new friend. And so much more!
Now, I’m still in the procss of de-cluttering and haven’t yet completed reading the book, but I feel compelled to challenge everyone to spend time December sorting through your “stuff”, organizing and labeling each container, and donating your beloved “stuff” to the Junior League of Dallas’ Rummage Roundup. In addition to feeling more in control and more organized, you’ll feel blessed and thankful for everything that you already have. And…..I’m willing to bet that you’ll achieve a few more of those New Year’s Resolutions than you have in years past!
Cheers for a personally productive 2011 and for a record breaking Rummage Roundup!
Stacey J. Relton
President, Park Cities Careers
My mother taught me that giving of oneself to help others less fortunate or in need is a fundamental of life. It has never been “should I give” or “should I volunteer,” but rather “how much can I give” and “how often can I volunteer.” Working with various philanthropies for the past 20 plus years one would think that I had gotten used to the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from helping others, but this is not so. I am constantly amazed at what huge differences small gestures can make in the lives of others, and am often moved to tears. The Provisional Class Rummage Sale last May, Trinkets & Treasures, gave my fellow provisionals and me many of these wonderful, tear-jerking moments.
Many of my friends from SMU and I took for granted that we would be attending college, but this is not so for many bright, eager 18 year olds chomping at the bit to conquer the world. College is expensive, and the supplies that go along with a college education even more so. When a young man approached the payment counter with parents and siblings in tow and asked if he could plug in a worn out old laptop – something I admit that was in bad enough shape I might have just thrown it away – one of the ladies quickly found him a plug; he just wanted to make sure that it worked. He then inquired about the $100 price – which was a little outside of the family’s budget – doing a little bargaining, and translating for his parents everything that was said. We finally agreed on a price of $80 and the young man was ecstatic! He proudly told us that he would be starting Community College in the fall – the first one in his family to go to college – and that this laptop would be his companion for the next four years, making it much easier for him to take notes and communicate with professors. As the family walked away I noticed that I was not the only one wiping moisture away from my eyes.
Those of you who have been married know how expensive throwing a wedding can be. There is food, decorations, flowers, etc. The list goes on and on, and there is, of course THE dress. Many little girls dream of the gown they will wear when they marry their prince charming. We were lucky enough to have not one, but three wedding dresses donated to the Rummage Sale last spring. Late morning an excited buzz arose among the volunteers – there was a woman there with her mother and young daughter who had found the two wedding dresses that remained and they were excitedly debating which one to buy. At $50 each they were still a little pricey for her budget, but she hoped to make it work. We of course insisted she try them both on in the bathroom so that she could really get a sense of how they each would look on her wedding day. Of course this beautiful woman looked stunning in both of the dresses. Her fiancé, a police man, was actually working the Rummage Sale as our security guard, so one of our ladies began discussing with him how many hours of work for him would pay for the $50 dress – whichever one she chose. A bystander who had seen this story play out approached the payment counter with $100 and said, “You tell that young lady that her fairy godmother has granted her wish, and that she should take both dresses home just to make sure that she truly has the perfect dress for her big day.” When the bride-to-be got news of her “fairy godmother’s” generosity she wept openly; she was so surprised and grateful for a stranger’s act of kindness. As some volunteers helped her put the dresses back in their protective plastic there was not a dry eye in the room.
I feel so lucky to have been a part of our Trinkets and Treasure Rummage Sale last spring, and count myself doubly lucky to be involved with the Rummage Roundup this year. Thank you to everyone who contributed and continues to contribute with their hard-earned money, their gently used items, and their precious time.
Wynne M. Cunningham