January is National Get Organized Month. Yes, it’s a thing.
The idea is to clear post-holiday clutter, detox your home of 2016 and start fresh in the new year. Cube organizers, plastic bins and heavy-duty shelves are on sale in big box retailers so that families can buy things in which to store their things.
Here’s a novel thought: Why not just get rid of the things?
Minimalism is the new thing; hundreds of blogs, books and podcasts about how to purge our lives of things are gaining popularity.
Perhaps the most recognized technique is the KonMari method, detailed in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” a #1 New York Times Best Seller. Its author, Marie Kondo, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
With the Netflix launch of “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things,” The Minimalists — friend duo Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn — have risen to the forefront of the minimalist movement. The pair has made appearances on television and radio stations across the country, including The Today Show, to help people live more meaningful lives with less stuff.
Like Kondo, The Minimalists recommend keeping items that add value to your life, either by serving a purpose or function or bringing joy; discard everything else. They like to turn the process into a game.
In the “pack it up” game, Nicodemus packed up his entire house, pulling drapes over the large pieces like furniture, and only unpacked what he used over the course of three weeks. Everything that was still packed up on Day 21 was removed from the house.
That’s probably too drastic for 99 percent of people.
The 30-Day Minimalism Game is much more doable and family-friendly. Find a friend, family member or co-worker willing to purge their excess stuff. (Kids benefit from this too; it can be a great lesson in generosity.)
On Day 1, get rid of one thing. Discard two things on the second day, three things on the third and so on. Look through your closets, cupboards, cabinets and junk drawers and find material possessions to donate, sell or throw in the trash. Whoever can keep it up the longest wins.
At the end of 30 days, you’ll have rid your home of 496 things.
Your home is not your boundary. What’s lurking in your vehicle’s glove compartment and center console? How many receipts, expired coupons and near-empty bottles of hand sanitizer are taking up the bottom third of your purse? How about tackling your desk or locker at work?
Having done this myself, I can tell you that it’s easier than it may seem. When you clear out your cabinets and find nine vases, it’s suddenly easy to realize that you’ll only ever have one bouquet of fresh flowers in the house at one time. Choose one that sparks joy and say goodbye to the remaining eight.
Here’s the hard part: don’t let it all pile up in your garage.
Toss your bags and boxes of donatable items in your trunk and take them quickly to one or more of the following local organizations so someone else can benefit from the items that no longer serve a purpose in your life.
The Wolf Rack
What they do: The REC Wolf Rack is an on-campus “shop” managed by Clovis East High School AVID students. Room 220 on the Reyburn side of the Reagan Educational Center provides clothes, shoes and household items for local students and families in need at no cost.
What to give: New and gently used clothing, shoes, backpacks and supplies are accepted for all ages. Kitchenware, toiletries and household items are also accepted, except for furniture.
How to give: Drop off items at the administration office on Reyburn Intermediate’’s campus, 2901 DeWolf Ave., during school hours. Details: (559) 327-4616
What they do: Students in Buchanan High School’s Service Based Leadership course manage and staff the Clothes Closet in room 804 near the outdoor basketball courts on campus. The shop is open to the public the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 5 to 8 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Items are provided at no cost.
What to give: Clothing and shoes, new and gently used, for all ages are accepted. The Buchanan Clothes Closet is always looking for donations of clothing for elementary school children, as it is usually well stocked with clothing for high schoolers and adults.
How to give: Drop off items at Buchanan High School’s administration office, 1560 N. Minnewawa Ave. between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Details: www.facebook.com/BuchanansClothesCloset
What they do: Hinds Hospice has provided hospice care to 3,300 patients since opening its six-bed Hospice Home in Fresno in 1987. The nonprofit also offers in-home patient care services, a Center for Grief and Healing, professional education and training and hospice care and support for prisoners, children, and families of unborn babies diagnosed with life-limiting conditions.
What to give: Hinds Hospice relies on community donations to remain operational. Gently used items, from clothing to housewares to electronics in good working order are accepted. Mattresses, medical supplies, chemicals, cleaners, televisions and computers cannot be accepted.
How to give: Drop off your items directly to the thrift store between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or call (559) 892-2120 to schedule a pick-up. The Hinds Hospice Clovis Thrift Store has moved; it’s new location is 115 Shaw Ave., just east of Minnewawa Avenue. Details: www.hindshospice.org
Marjaree Mason Center
What they do: Marjaree Mason Center offers legal assistance, counseling, crisis support, education and training for women who are victims of domestic violence. The nonprofit also has MMC Safe Houses where domestic violence victims and children can reside while their situation is addressed. The houses, including the Clovis Safe House and Community Center, feature communal kitchens and play areas for children, and private rooms for families.
What to give: New and gently used items are accepted. Household items are accepted for transitional clients who are leaving one a MMC Safe House to live independently. A wish list can be found on the organization’s website. It includes bedding, kitchenware and tools, diapers, bottles, clothes, cribs and playpens for infants and toddlers, toys, games, art and school supplies, books and large bottles of shampoo, soap and face wash. Cell phones are also accepted in working condition and with chargers.
How to give: Items can be dropped off at Marjaree Mason Center’s main location in downtown Fresno at 1600 M St. during normal business hours. Details: (559) 237-4706 or www.mmcenter.org/partner-with-us/in-kind-giving
Medical Ministries International
What they do: Since 1998, Medical Ministries International has sent surplus medical supplies and equipment, medical teams and construction teams to people all over the world who are underserved and in need of medical support.
What to give: MMI accepts donations of all medical supplies and equipment, eyeglasses, dental supplies and equipment, personal hygiene items and unexpired (by at least six months) nutritional supplements. Also accepted are scrubs, wheelchairs, crutches, used prescription glasses and new adult or child diapers. MMI cannot accept prescription medications, expired IV solutions, clothing/shoes, or any items not directly related to medical, dental or vision care.
How to give: Drop off your items directly to the Clovis location between 9 a.m. and noon on Monday and Wednesday, or the second Saturday of each month. MMI Clovis is at 1004 San Jose Ave., Suite 101, east of Clovis Avenue. Call (559) 324-1255 with questions about your donation. Details: www.medministries.org