Do you have clothes you haven’t worn in a year? What about toys with which your child no longer plays? Books you no longer read? E-readers you no longer need? Videos you no longer watch? You see, the list goes on and on. Everyone…every family has more “stuff” than they will ever need.
The largest piece of this “more than you need” pie is definitely clothing. Most people have closets and dressers filled to overflowing with clothing items that they never wear. Some people even have clothes they have never worn yet; they have kept them in their closets for over a year.
There are churches and community groups that collect clothes to take to disadvantaged areas where people live in housing with no insulation… houses where you can see between the gaps in the siding from the inside to the outside. Many of these people have no shoes, no coats and few clothes (most of which are really just rags. What would it cost you to give some of your overabundance to others?
The next largest section of the pie probably belongs to the toys. I’ve noticed that when a baby is first born, every member of the family (and extended family) sees a new toy that the baby ‘just has to have.’ That baby will never be able to play with all of those toys. Many of them will never leave the box in which they came, and the toys that do leave the box are handled so infrequently they are like new. The same could be said about toddlers – pre-k. Many children are so over-gifted at both birthdays and Christmas, some of their toys are barely touched.
There are children who have never known how it feels to have a toy to hold… play with. Even the simplest of toys could give happiness to children who have had little to smile about. Educational toys could stimulate a desire to learn. A new or gently used toy can make a bigger difference than you know in the life of a child.
Do you (or other family members) have a huge collection of CDs or DVDs? During the past year, how many of them have actually seen the world outside of the case in which they came? Does a thirteen-year-old teen actually still need a Lion King DVD for instance? What about the soundtrack CD? I bet there are those who have electronics sitting on a shelf… never used anymore because a newer model came out a year later.
These things, in fact any of the above mentioned things, could also be donated to a cause. Pet shelters often have huge “yard sales” to support the care and feeding of animals waiting for a forever home. The United Way uses the donation of nicer, business-wear to help prepare those who need work but lack the proper attire to even go to an interview. The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Hospice have restores where they take in donations to sell for the purpose of funding the work they do in communities.
Those who suffer from overindulgence in life create an overabundance of things… too many things. What is the true value of these things to you? I guarantee that these things you don’t need would hold more value than you’ll ever know when they provide for the needs of others.