In 2013 every household should have a donation depot. The global
economy and online shopping has made it cheaper and easier than
ever to buy goods. We need a system to make it as easy as possible
to purge excess items as fast as they accumulate. This requires an
adequate dedicated zone, so that it is almost as easy to donate clothes
and other unwanted items as it is to recycle.
In my last post I talked about updating the organizing systems in my
garage and my donation depot was one of them. The garage makes
sense for this, because it is closest to your car, which is the connector
between your donation depot and a donation center. If you don’t have
a garage, then a donation depot makes sense in a spot as close to
your front door as possible, without getting in the way.
Originally, I had a donation depot located further back in my garage
on a shelf, but I realized this is not close enough. I am always
preaching frequency merits facility, which means the more often you
do an activity, the easier the organizing system should be. In order
to practice what I preach, I realized I needed to locate my donation
depot right next to the trunk of my car. (I always back in.)
While I was at it, I realized I needed the same easy location for
returnables and special disposals, like batteries and light bulbs. So I
dedicated a complete set of shelves for items heading out. Those little
white bins are old cat litter containers with the tops cut off.
Getting back to the donation area, I decided I needed a tall shelf
opening to allow for the height of a paper bag and for easy access
above it. I dedicated one bag for just clothing and placed a clear
plastic bag inside to keep the clothes clean. Using paper bags, makes
them easily transportable, and flexible. If, for example, I have an
especially large accumulation of clothes, I can fold up the paper bags
and let the clear bag expand on the shelf.
I am always seeing accumulations of items in homes that the
homeowner has been meaning to take to a donation center, but
never actually does. Keeping a donation depot creates a much easier
mindset. It means that instead of gearing up for a big donation
event, you are just dropping off a couple bags in a regular task, that
takes minutes. It’s replacing a postpone-able project with an easy
The need to donate excess stuff will not go away. Therefore it make
sense to establish a system that is as strong as the accumulation.