Do you know my favorite go-to site for giving away items that can't go to my usual donation organizations? Nextdoor!
Nextdoor a free social network designed to connect neighbors. They have a "For Sale and Free" section that I love. Simply post the item you want to give away, snap a photo, do a write-up and select how widely you want your post to be seen. It's so easy with the app! Interested neighbors will message you arrange to pick it up. Alternately, can put it in a sheltered outdoor spot by your home so they can pick it up at their convenience.
Their website states:
"Building connections in the real world is a universal human need. That truth, and the reality that neighborhoods are one of the most important and useful communities in our lives, have been a guiding principle for Nextdoor since it was founded in 2011."
I love the feeling of posting something - whether it's a box of legos, a ton of paper plates, or a bunny cage - and having a delighted neighbor show up, clearly happy they scored the item for free!
When working with a client recently we came upon her collection of vintage Laura Ashley dresses and I was instantly taken down memory late. If you are a child of the '80s, as I am, you either had or wanted a Laura Ashley dress.
For those who don't remember, these Little House on the Prarie-style dresses were all the rage in middle and high school. With floral patterns, high necklines, long sleeves, and tea-length hems, these dresses are the opposite of risqué, covering nearly every inch of your body. I can see how parents of teenagers would be on-board with this look! If you can't get enough Laura Ashley, this recent Guardian article gives a nice history of the company. Do you have any Laura Ashley gems still in your closet?
I was recently dropping off some client donations at the West Portal Goodwill Boutique and was struck by how absolutely adorable it was! With a nicely designed interior, great displays and a beautiful selection of clothing if felt much nicer than your standard Goodwill. If you're in the neighborhood, I encourage you to take a look!
West Portal Goodwill Boutique
61 W Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
White & Birch Elfa Decor Pantry from The Container Store.
Getting organized and staying that way is possible, even though it doesn't always seem that way. When your pantry is a jumbled mess, finding what you need can take just as long as cooking it. Straightening up your pantry can save you from a kitchen organizing headache! Keep even the tiniest pantry easily accessible and clutter-free with these below tips and space-saving ideas.
Tip 1: Don't Overstock
When working in a client's pantry, we often find - in the deep corner of a shelf - food from a previous decade. The key to avoiding this fate is to keep your pantry full of stuff you need, nothing you don't.
First, take everything out and lay it out on your kitchen table or counter. Start grouping items in categories that make sense to you. Place all the pasta together, all snacks together or all the baking ingredients together. Toss anything that is expired and start a donate bag for items you know you will never eat. Ten cans of black beans, anyone?
Today I was helping a client purge some cookbooks and we came upon this gem! It comes from the 1961 edition of The Complete Book of Entertaining by Nata Lee (now residing at Goodwill). In the section on invitations, there is a whole paragraph devoted to sending invitations by telegraph!
I also love the paragraph above that advises when calling people with details about a party to "not leave a message about the party with a servant" because of their unreliability. Not a problem in our household! If you feel that your cookbook library is not complete without the Complete Book of Entertaining, of course, it's available on Amazon!
Recycle Where? is a great tool for helping Bay Area residents determine how to donate, recycle, or responsibly dispose of unwanted items. Simply type the name of the item you are looking to donate into the search bar and up pops a list of organizations that can accept the item. Easy! The website is a collaboration between the city of San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the city of Palo Alto.
Their website states:
"The goal of Recycle Where? is to reduce waste by providing accurate information about recycling, reuse, and proper disposal options for residents and businesses without regard to traditional municipal boundaries."
The next time you are stumped with a donation or disposal item, give Recycle Where? a try!
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey
Title: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
Author: Mason Currey
Publisher: Knopf (April 23, 2013)
SYNOPSIS (from back cover)
"Writers, composers, painters, choreographers, sculptors, filmmakers and scientists on how they create (and avoid creating) their creations."
Nikola Tesla worked until midnight, breaking only for a highly ritualized solo dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Georgia O'Keeffe liked to watch the sunrise with a cup of tea, take the dogs for a walk, then spend the rest of her day in her studio. Charles Schultz took his kids to school and settled down in his backyard studio to draw comic strips for the day, stopping only to have a ham sandwich for lunch.
Mason Currey's book Daily Rituals is a fascinating compilation of the daily routines of over 150 creative individuals. The book is an easy read, with each entry just a page or so long, and giving the essence of the subject's routines and creative habits. From stoic solitude to nights of debauchery, the routines cover it all. It's clear there is no one routine that works for all creative individuals. Creativity, as well as creative routines, comes in many forms.
It's interesting to pull back the curtain on these luminaries and see how they actually created their work amid other obligations, what they were frustrated with, and how their habits changed over time. I recommend this book if you are a creative individual seeking time and space to express your creativity in this world of obligations.
Are you using the holiday break as a great excuse to clear out your closet? Do you have a pile of stuff just waiting to be donated in the garage? I have good news! There is a great donation event happening just days away, and you're invited.
SFGoodwill’s Donate-a-Thon is The New Years Eve party with a purpose. From 7 am - 5 pm on December 31st, stop by, bring your donations and stay for the music and free popcorn all while helping your neighbors in need. These donations help fund Goodwill’s job training and placement programs that give local people a second chance. As a bonus, the first 150 donors receive a free movie pass or SF Zoo tickets! You’ll also get an exclusive “first look” at Mayor Willie Brown’s donated luxury designer collection.
So this NYE, head over to Goodwill and clear out your closet while helping others.
Happy New Year!
SF Goodwill: 1690 Folsom Street in San Francisco
Monday, December 31st 2018
The Children's Book Project is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit that is dedicated to providing free books to Bay Area children. Their website states:
"The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing new and gently used books for free to children who need them. Since 1992, we have given away over 2.7 million books for children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Research shows that children to whom books are read have an easier time learning to read than those who don’t have this experience. In addition, evidence shows that reading aloud to children actually helps their brain development. However, many children in the Bay Area and beyond live in homes without books and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families do not have books."
The Children's Book Project is always in need of new or gently used, books for children of all ages, from infants through teens. Books can be donated on-site or at one of the many blue "Book Bags" at retailers around the city. Here is a list of all retailers with Book Bag donation sites.
They especially need:
The Children's Book Project
1360 43rd Avenue, room 105
Donation Spotlight for November!
Goodwill sells goods to break the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through free training and work placement programs. Goodwill has donation sites all over the bay area.
Their website states:
"Each year, nonprofit Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin breaks the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through our transformative free training and work placement programs. Goodwill serves anyone who comes through our doors with a willingness to work."
Things they accept are:
My current favorite Goodwill donation location:
1690 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Sun 10am-7pm
Donate at one of their 25 dropoff locations.
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a