Those earrings that Bhua gave you on your last trip to India that didn’t match with any of your clothes. That set of glassware you bought on a whim because you liked the design only to realize you had more glasses at home than you could ever break. That puzzle you dare not touch because you know it’s going to rob you off your sleep. Be honest! How many of these items do you have lying around at home – some even brand new – that you have never used and never will?
As part of my annual Diwali cleaning I literally took out everything from the deep dark corners of my home’s closets and drawers. Every item was put through a flowchart of questioning that looked roughly like this:
Because I work at a data-driven company I’ll tell you I had exactly 92 items that made it to the ‘Give Away’ category. A good half of which had skillfully eloped my memory until I sighted them again. Then I divided everything into three piles:
- Electronics & Household Items
- Jewelry & Cosmetics
Filled with nostalgia & excitement I took a picture of each item, neatly organized everything into an online album, put an item description, thumbnails and a price in a spreadsheet and sent an email to my company’s for-sale mailing list:
I spent the last couple of weeks going through every single closet and drawer of my home to see what items I actually use and what I can part with for a good cause. There’s a whole lot of electronics, household items, etc. that are brand new (marked in the sheet) and some that are very lightly used.
The season of giving is upon us so I decided to use all those items to do a charity drive. All items are on this sheet. For larger pictures you can take a look at my album.
I will donate every single dollar from the sale of these items (plus a 1:1 match) to a charity that provides meals to impoverished children.
Just put your email in the cell next to the item you want and I will reach out to you for pick-up or inter-office shipping.
In case you are also interested in jewelry, make-up & clothing I did the same for those items on this sheet. You can find jewelry and make-up on the first tab and clothes on the second tab. Full pictures in this album. Many new items in here too so maybe get some of your holiday shopping out of your way while knowing the money and a match will go to a great cause?
Lo and behold! Within a week I had sold 60% of the items and raised $533. The 1:1 match brought it to $1,066 and then I topped it off with another $934 for a round figure of $2,000. All proceeds will go to foodforeducation.org
. That amount will be enough to feed 133 children
for an entire school year!
The money that will go to this amazing cause is not the only thing that matters. What will hopefully have a lot bigger impact is the awareness I raised about the cause with so many people on the mailing list and the inspiration many others took to look at their own belongings and do similar drives for charities of their choosing. I got more than a dozen emails from people saying how much they loved the idea and that they would like to replicate it. Why pay large retail conglomerates when you can get the same things – in many cases packed and unused – and have the money go to a really good cause?
Why Win – Win – Win?
Well, I decluttered my home – someone is genuinely going to be using the items that were just waiting to see the light of day in my closets – and most importantly, the proceeds went to a cause that’s close to my heart.