Category Archives: Resources

Goodwill for the homeless?

I don’t need to look far in San Francisco so see what homeless looks like here. Several homeless people camp outside my son’s office in the Mission District. Matted hair, dirty face and hands, worldly possessions stuffed into a garbage bag stuffed into a shopping cart pinched from Safeway.

In the past month of radical downsizing I delivered to Goodwill the equivalent of a dozen shopping carts-full of perfectly good clothing and under-used household goods.  And several more cart-full equivalents to other local charities.

What does Goodwill DO with all that stuff?

I had washed and neatly folded the sheets, blankets, and quilts. I tried to pin, tape or tie shoelaces together, pants and jackets of suits, lids and pots, so that they would actually be useful to someone.  However when I got to Goodwill the man placed anything that seemed hard (shoes, pots etc) into one bin, and tossed everything soft into a bin marked “fabric”.

Suddenly I remembered that my friend Kristen goes to the Goodwill outlet (can you believe, even Goodwill has an outlet!) and pays something like a dollar for five pounds of fabric (which could be anything from perfectly good sheets, sweaters, kid’s overalls, to rags).  She uses it for various forms of fabric art.

I wanted to snatch back the quilts and blankets. Hey! That could go to the guy on Ethan’s corner who sleeps under pieces of cardboard.  Even if that sweater was a little “tired” (as Judi called a few of my clothes) and beyond reselling, it would keep someone on the street warm on a winter’s night.

If you go into a Goodwill these days, you’ll see that they have quite a retail operation going. In fact in my town alone there are at least two “Goodwill Superstores.” Salvation Army is another that has expanded mightily – but I don’t donate to them because I don’t appreciate their missionary zeal.

If I’d had more time and energy during the downsize process I’d have researched the most direct and cost-effective places to get my good stuff to the folks who need it most. Goodwill was close by and easy.

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Filed under Downsizing, Emotional issues, Resources, Spiritual lessons

Youth employment opportunity!

Young helpers

Young helpers

As I prepare my house for selling, there is altogether too much that needs doing which I don’t have time to do.

And let’s be honest, I also don’t want to FIND the time to do these tasks, because who wants to demoss the roof, wash windows, or pressure wash the sidewalks? Not me.

There are scads of companies out there (see Angie’s List, Craigslist, or the Yellow Pages) who do these tasks for a healthy fee. But I’d rather pay an eager unemployed young person with the unsullied energy that accumulates during the long jobless days of summer.

So I found one of Obama’s campaign former campaign organizers who is currently helping out in the local mayoral race part time, but still needs to eat.  It just so happens his parents have a pressure washer and a hedge trimmer, so the equipment is covered. I’ve got the window washing supplies, the rake, and the lawn mower.

For $12 an hour miracles are happening around here and Eric and I are both happy campers. My grandsons idolize him and want to help too.

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Filed under Baby steps, Getting organized, Resources