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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A giving update!

I've been doing my giving challenge for 6 and a half weeks so far (read more here) and I haven't been keeping track of everything I've given.  To start off with it felt like a big challenge, but now I don't stress myself out if I haven't actually gone out of my way to give something on a particular day, I'm sure we could all look back through our days and recognise something we have done for someone else, however small it is and that is enough for me.

I have a different mindset though.  I carry things around with me that I could give away should an opportunity arise and I try to offer my help whenever I can. I also am on a seemingly never-ending decluttering exercise and I think about all the things I don't need and who I could give them to.

A while ago I watched this video showing a guy giving backpacks full of stuff to homeless people. See below:



The video illustrates very well that homeless people don't just need food, they need all kinds of things - clothes, personal care items, stationery, first aid kits, backpacks.. One of the things they put in the backpacks in the clip above was a notepad and it inspired me to carry around a notepad and pen in my handbag until I found a homeless person to give it to.  We went into Brighton the other day and there are always homeless people there.  I got my 5 year old to give one of them the notepad and pen and the guy could not have been more appreciative.  I also sometimes take a scarf out with me to give away to a homeless person as that went down well once before.

Other things that I have given away over the past few weeks include:

  • When I visit friends these days I often take a book that I no longer need with me that I think they would like.  I have given quite a few books away that way.
  • I have invited loads of people over for meals and in 9 weeks (some gone, some still to happen) we will have had 6 sets of people over for lunch or dinner at ours (and I will be inviting more people over). I have spent a small fortune on food so far as we have done a lot of roasts, but we have been saving any leftovers and getting a lot of extra meals out of them. We don't need to do roasts all the time and things like pizza, pasta (not for me obviously) or oven baked potatoes with a variety of fillings to choose from can also work well...
  • I gave a friend my old work suits the other day.  Although I have no plans to get a job which requires a suit for the foreseeable future, I did briefly worry what I would do if I found a need for them now I've given them away, but actually I know I won't miss them and if I do need a suit I'm sure I'll find a way to get hold of one for free (I am buying nothing new or secondhand until September - read more here )
  • I gave away loads of clothes via Freecycle, but am still working on giving away some old kids play mats.  Sometimes people say they want something but don't show up, so then I offer it to someone else and it can take time to give stuff away...
  • I put some worn clothes/ bags in the charity bins outside the supermarket the other day.  I think this is kind of a cross between recycling and giving as they weren't in great condition and I know the charity will try to recycle them.
  • There have been some birthdays and I will admit to doing a fair bit of regifting - anything the kids get given that they don't show much interest in (or I can whisk away before they do) gets regifted.  My kids have so many toys and often tend to pull them apart and break them within seconds anyway, so I feel I am rescuing the toys by giving them away a lot of the time.  I would rather my kids trashed inexpensive second hand toys that they bought in charity shops..
  • I gave away some of my dried chamomile flowers to a friend

I have to say I like giving stuff away.  If I had sold some of these things I wouldn't have made much money at all, nobody would have thanked me for the things I have given and they probably wouldn't have thought about asking me if I want some of the things they no longer need.  I have found more people have been doing this, for example I very kindly got given some marmalade oranges yesterday from a friend who got them as an unwanted substitution from her online shop (I don't plan to make marmalade with them, but have a few other ideas, which might mean another blog post some time soon....). She also very kindly offered me some kids books, but my kids already had them.  I think giving is great past time, a lot of fun and definitely has it's benefits!

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