One of the easiest and fastest ways to improve your outdoor living areas is to remove all of the clutter that accumulates over the years. Of course, once you have collected all of the old dog beds, extra flower pots, dated patio furniture and left-over bricks, there is the question of what to do with all of it.
You can always sell it or give it away to friends, but you might consider donating it to local shelters or organizations. This allows you to do two great things at the same time: clean up your outdoor living areas and help the community.
If it is time to clear your patio clutter, here are 10 things you can donate to local groups.
10 Things You Can Donate to Declutter Outdoor Living Areas and Help the Community
1. Dog Beds and Towels: If you have extra dog beds or towels that you no longer need, you can get them off your patio or out of your pool area by donating them to a local animal shelter. Make sure they are clean and still in good shape before you donate them.
2. Children’s Toys: One quick way to declutter any space is to collect all of the toys that your children have outgrown or that they just do not play with anymore. While you could sell them at a garage sale or through an online classifieds website, just think of the joy you can bring to less-fortunate children if you donate them to families in need.
Here are six places you can donate used children’s toys in the San Diego area.
3. Dog Toys: Animal shelters will often take donations of dog toys; just make sure they are not threadbare, worn or already chewed up. It is best to donate those nearly new toys that you were so sure your dog was going to love but that they ended up having no interest in at all. Rather than keeping these extra toys around in hopes that he or she will change their mind, clean up your backyard by donating them to a good cause.
4. Potted Plants: Container gardens are great, but they can get out of hand and take over your outdoor living areas, if you are not careful. If you find yourself in the position of having too many potted plants either in your home or on your patio, it may be time to share the love and give some of them away. Contact local homeless shelters, adult daycare centers and senior centers to see if they might have some space that could be filled with an attractive, air-cleaning plant.
5. Building Materials: If you have building materials left over from home improvement projects that are now cluttering your patio or yard, donate them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. This serves two purposes: It allows other folks to purchase building materials at a discount to improve or repair their homes, and it helps to support a great organization that builds homes for families in need. You can learn more about how to donate to the San Diego Habitat for Humanity here.
6. Planters and Flowerpots: You may be able to donate small flowerpots to schools or after-school programs so that they can be given new life as craft projects. You can also gift your extra planters and pots to community gardens or schools with gardening projects.
7. Patio Furniture: If it is time to freshen the look of your patio with new patio furniture, do not let the old stuff end up in a dumpster. You can sell it online or at a garage sale, set it at the curb to give it away or donate it to a thrift store that supports a good cause.
8. Patio Cushions: Used patio cushions that are still in good shape can be donated to dog shelters for use as beds, homeless shelters for use as floor cushions or outdoor cushions, or to thrift stores that support a cause that is important to you. So when it is time to change the look of your outdoor living area with some new cushions, make sure your old ones go to a good home.
9. Yard Maintenance Tools: If your backyard clutter includes rakes, shovels or other yard maintenance tools that you have not used in months, it might be time to clear the clutter by donating these unneeded tools. This type of donation is best directed to community garden projects or organizations who help people learn how to grow food at home.
Contact groups like the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project or the San Diego Community Garden Network. If they do not have a use for your gardening tools, they will likely know someone who does.
10. Soil, Seeds, Soil Amendments and Other Gardening Products: Clear the clutter of unused seed packets and extra bags of soil or soil amendments by donating these incredibly useful items to your local community garden. If you happen to have purchased too many bags of potting soil for your project or ended up not planting a garden this year after stocking up on all of your gardening goods, get this stuff out of your outdoor living areas and into the hands of someone who really needs it and will put it to good use. Contacting the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project or the San Diego Community Garden Network is the best way to find a place for donations of this nature.
Declutter Outdoor Living Areas and Help the Community: Final Thoughts
Donating your unneeded stuff is a great way to clear clutter, help the community, and get that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something good. However, this is not just a convenient way to get rid of broken or worn out junk that you no longer want. The items that you donate need to be functional, safe, in good repair and clean. There are some cases where organizations will take broken or torn items, specifically because they have people who can fix them, but you should always make sure this is the case before dropping off goods that are in need of repair.
If you cannot find an organization that can accept your donations directly, you can always donate your unwanted items to thrift stores that support local organizations or causes that are important to you.