Meet a Cool Way to Use Preloved Stuff!

There’s a lot of good in finding a new home for old things.

Feb 28, 2022
Meet a Cool Way to Use Preloved Stuff! | There’s a lot of good in finding a new home for old things.

Jennifer Victor-Larsen’s non-profit, Donate Good Stuff,  helps de-clutterers, charities and the earth all at the same time, by finding matches for the things people give away, and directing them to charities to help the needy.

That shirt that used to belong to your grandmother and still smells faintly like her; The cloth ribbon you took home for your potato clock after winning the third grade science fair; The teddy bear that you have held onto since you were three years old. 

These items evoke strong emotions and remind us of our past. If they make us feel happy and rooted, there is nothing wrong with keeping them around.

At the end of the day, our “stuff” should work for us and we shouldn’t work for our “stuff.” So, while having a small amount of sentimental items is healthy, a house filled with unused belongings is a great opportunity for de-cluttering and upcycling

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Victor-Larsen wants to help people find new homes for this old stuff, in places where the items will be cherished anew.

Decluttering and rehoming
Kare 11  explains that many people took the pandemic as an opportunity to dive deep into decluttering. 

Why keep mountains of sweaters, when you only ever wear two or three? And those books that you haven’t opened for three years? It’s hard to see these things go into the trash

Many people opt for donating their used goods during a deep declutter instead. Rehoming items is a great way to help yourself and others at the same time. Plus, it’s better for the planet than sending it to a landfill.

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But Victor-Larsen noticed that rehoming didn’t always work as planned.

"In my conversations with nonprofits,” she said, ``I think every single one has brought up the fact that they get stuff that they don't need. They don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. They know that it's coming from a good place and it's also a burden." 

And of course, she’s right. Reader's Digest shares the stories of thrift store employees who accepted the weirdest items donated from the bottoms of donor’s hearts. Stuff like beheaded barbies and lonely shoes with no pairs.

Donate good stuff
But did you know there may be someone who wants those lonely shoes for a totally different purpose. Old fleece, plastic toys and even duct tape may be revealed by Goodwill, but there are organizations out there actively looking for these items.

And that’s where Victor-Larsen comes in.

After her own deep cleaning, Victor-Larsen decided to leave her corporate job and start the non-profit Donate Good Stuff.

Donate Good Stuff connects people to organizations that actually want what they are getting rid of. 

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For example, those clumps of fleece may end up in the wastebasket outside the thrift store, meanwhile the Minnesota Pocket Pet Rescue is searching high and low for fleece for animal bedding.

Not only will Donate Good Stuff help you match your donation to a place in need, but organizations can upload “wish lists” to the website, making it easier to make these clutter matches.

Single shoes anyone?
So what are these organizations looking for random objects? Active Gear reminds us that there are plenty of uses for single shoes.  Amputees and injured people who have to wear special casts or sneakers may often be happy to take your single Nike. 

Old ropes that could end up at the bottom of a landfill may be able to be turned into dog leashes for shelter dogs by the Rocks2Dogs startup, as reported by This Dog's Life.

In other words there is a market out there for nearly everything, and Donate Good Stuff can help you find it. So, there are no more excuses for putting off that deep cleaning!

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Adina is a writer who believes in the transformative power of words. She understands that everyone has a valuable story to tell. Adina’s goal is to learn new things every day and share her discoveries with others.