Spring Cleaning with Purpose in the South Sound


By Sonia Garza

clearviewcarpetblock2Spring is finally here, and you know what that means. It means daylight savings time and blossoming trees and flowers. It also means cleaning out that dreaded basement, garage or room you’ve been neglecting.

Spring is a time to start fresh, to throw out the old and adopt the new. I always find that this is a time to shed the unnecessary items bogging me down, whether it’s out of style clothing, drab knick-knacks, or otherwise. It is easy to get into that cleaning frenzy, chucking every last bit. It can be cathartic. Believe me, I’ve been there. But, while you’re cleaning out those hidden dust bunnies, resist the urge to throw out your once new gems and instead consider donating them. More importantly, consider a local place or organization that could truly benefit from your goods. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, after all.

So where are the best local places to take all of your things? I’m glad you asked.

Cleaning supplies.
Strap on those rubber gloves and get to work cleansing your house and soul. Find purposeful homes for unnecessary items.

Benefit Military Families
The Fisher House of JBLM’s tag line is “Providing comfort, care, and compassion beyond the call of duty” and that is just what they do. Fisher House provides service members and their families a comfortable, nurturing and secure environment while receiving medical care at Madigan Army Medical Center. For many, this is their “home away from home” and the Fisher House funds all rent for the families, including food and beverages. With their new building under construction at the intersection of Gardner and Jackson at the Madigan gate, they will be in need of lots of items. Completion date is scheduled for August. I have donated towels and bedding, as well as kitchen goods, but you can check out their website for a current list of needs.

Adult Clothing
Courage 360, formerly Washington Women’s Employment and Education, is dedicated to strengthening career and life skills and connecting businesses to future employees. They happily accept women’s and men’s business clothing including suits, slacks, dress shirts and dress shoes. This prepares the recipients to go to their interviews with confidence. They also accept business accessories like scarves and purses.

The Rescue Mission provides help and hope to men, women and children who need shelter, food and assistance with life changes that lead to self-sufficiency. They accept tons of items from clothing to house goods to bedding.

The NW Furniture Bank helps restore hope, dignity and stability in our community by recycling donated furniture to people in need. They pick up large items for a fee, but are always happy to accept mattresses, desks, rugs and silverware, just to name a few. Today, community donors make it possible to serve almost 100 families monthly with a household of furniture.

Dirty garage
Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to tackle that mess and find a new home for items you no longer need or want.

Children’s Items
Hopesparks is a leader in Pierce County in the fields of counseling, eating disorder recovery, early education, and support for families in crisis. More than 4,500 individuals in need turn to this agency each year. Hopesparks is always more than happy to accept children’s’ clothing of all ages and sizes.

If you have lots of toys, which children seem to collect in plenty, then consider the Toy Rescue Mission. Started by a Tacoma resident, the Toy Rescue Mission gives used toys to underprivileged children in the area. They serve families in Pierce County and provide children the ability to shop in the toy store without charge.

For your furry friends
The Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County strives to create a compassionate community where every pet has a loving home. However, for many, their home is the shelter until they are adopted. They are always in need of blankets and towels, without padding, to keep their crates warm on cold nights.

Looking to sell your items instead?
It’s nice to make a little cash for your treasures. For items you would like to sell rather than giving away, consider hosting a garage sale.

United way
The United Way of Pierce County Gifts in Kind program takes in gently used items and distributes them to families in need through their funded partner nonprofit organizations.

If consigning is something you would like to try out and you have a surplus of children’s items, check out Just Between Friends, a local consignment sale for all things children related. They host a local spring and fall sale where consigners make an average of $300 on their items.

Kidz Kaboodle, located on 6th avenue, is a brick and mortar children’s consignment store.

If at any time you have items and just aren’t sure where to donate them, call the South Sound 2-1-1, an information and referral line operated by United Way of Pierce County that serves Pierce, Thurston and Lewis Counties. You can also donate your gently used items to the United Way Gifts-In-Kind program, which gives your donations directly to families in need.

It may take a little longer and require more gas toting your goods to various organizations, but your home will be free of unnecessary things and your heart will be full knowing you helped someone in some way. Happy spring cleaning!

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