"Spring cleaning" has always been a deeply personal ritual to me. Every time a season or a chapter in my life ends, I make it a point to take stock of my belongings, savour the ones that incite cherished memories (if any), and let go of those that no longer serve their purpose.
"I ... share the joy of owning the things that I used to love."
Letting go of my old things not only frees up closet space, it also releases me from the mental and emotional clutter entailed by these possessions. In doing this, I make room for new things and experiences to enter my life. At the same time, I am able to share with others the joy of owning the things that I used to love.
In passing on pre-loved treasures, I go by one simple guideline: Avoid passing items to those I live with, as this defeats the purpose of clearing physical spaces. Nonetheless, this guideline often gets lifted for items like children's clothes and toys that can be handed down to younger family members out of practical reasons. Besides, kindness must always start in one's own backyard.
I then make a mental survey of the people I know who might find my "pre-loved" items useful, provided that they are still in great condition. On some occasions, I crowdsource through my social media accounts in case I have contacts or followers who are into organizing and supporting related community projects.
After I have exhausted the options from my personal network, I take my cherished possessions to the following organized charities:
1. Caritas Manila's SEGUNDA MANA Project
This project is my favorite go-to after every major cleaning. For one, Segunda Mana is a catchall drive for every only-used-once or pre-loved item in every home and closet, from clothes to footwear and other goods that may still be sold. The proceeds of the sales fund the technical-vocational and college scholarships of marginalized youths, as well as provide livelihood opportunities for informal settlers in communities like Baseco and Payatas. (Click here for more information.)
More importantly, at least for me, donating my items is very convenient as Segunda Mana dropboxes are located almost all over Metro Manila. Arrangements for pick up are also possible, but I have not yet tried this option.
To inquire about pick up or the nearest Segunda Mana in your location, you may call (02) 564 0205 or 562 0020 to 25, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. OWNDAYS' Respectacle Program
OWNDAYS have dropboxes for used eyeglasses in all its branches here in the Philippines. Donated eyeglasses are refitted to benefit people living in impoverished communities during Eye Camps. (Click here for more information.)
Alternatively, you may try inquiring from the ophthalmology departments of your nearest government-run hospital or the corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments of any major private hospital. I have previously donated eyeglasses to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and the Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH). Feel free to inquire from any of the numbers below:
PGH Institute of Ophthalmology - (02) 524 7119 / 554 8400 (trunk line)
MDH CSR Department - (02) 558 0888 (trunk line)
3. Philippine Toy Library
For children's toys, I highly recommend the Philippine Toy Library which helps in the total development of children through play by building toy libraries across the country. Donations may be dropped off at 56 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City. (Click here for more information.)
4. Adarna Books' Unang Aklat
Drop your old books at the Adarna House on Scout Torillo, Quezon City. They are open on Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 AM to 5 PM, and on Sundays from 9 AM to 2:30 PM. For your queries, call (02) 352 6765 or visit their website and Facebook page.)
5. Books for a Cause
I have not yet tried donating to this group but their Facebook page seems to be active. Books for a Cause is into building and saving libraries so I suppose that they will find good use for all our children's used textbooks, as well as all our paperbacks and reference materials. (Click here to view the drop off points.)
6. The Homeless
In as much as I believe in giving to organized charity, there are still many people who remain invisible to these organizations. They could be the people you pass by every day on your way to work. Seeing their grateful faces after receiving a few pieces of clothing or maybe a blanket and a pillow is priceless.
Do you have a project or an organization that accepts used items? Leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com.