All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Think of your fellow man, lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart...

Wow, this is it--the week of Christmas (if that's what you celebrate)!

This year has been pretty low-key for my little household. We decided to just exchange a few little gifts, and for the ninth (?) year in a row, we're having a big Chinese dinner with some (mostly) Jewish friends on Christmas Eve.

So what's the big how-to tip for this week? I wish I had photos from all my various "theme" trees over the years to share with you. I've always started with some "base ornaments" of plain silver and clear glass balls that create a foundation from which I used to add handmade decorations each year. One year it was all white origami cranes. Another year it was papier-mache Day of the Dead-style Mexican skeletons and cardinals and crepe paper snowflakes. The year I did homemade gingerbread ornaments with popcorn/cranberry garlands didn't work so well--the gnats started appearing after a week or two...

But I had a better idea for this week: How about decluttering your home and getting rid of some old things that could be better used by others?

For instance, my partner and I just donated a big box of books to Community Thrift in San Francisco, where you can designate the beneficiaries of your donation. So when/if these books sell, community organizations that we've chosen like the SPCA or Pets Unlimited will receive part of the proceeds. A good friend of ours is also having a book exchange party on Tuesday that allows us to part with a cherished book and receive another one that was once equally important to someone else. What a great way to share.

We're going to give our old (clean) towels directly to Pets Unlimited, where they can be used to wash/dry/comfort dogs and cats who have been rescued from the area. This local no-kill shelter has a special place in our hearts because it's where I got our magical cat over eight years ago.

And old electronics (even broken ones) will be sent to Goodwill, where they can be recycled even if they no longer work. I must say, it's better than throwing away those tools and gadgets with missing parts or chargers. Old (but working) cellphones will go to Verizon, where they either recycle them or donate them to victims of domestic violence.

At Ye Olde Dayjobbe, we had a surplus of paint from a commercial project (25 gallons of off-white interior latex paint!) What to do? I contacted our local school district, who are more than happy for the donation. Other places that can accept business donations or large quantities of things are SCRAP (who will provide my old interior samples to teachers who can re-use them for art/craft projects) and Habitat for Humanity. Local mural artists Precita Eyes would have also taken the extra paint from my office. Check in with your local organizations and nonprofits--they might be able to use your in-kind donations, too.

It feels good to not only get rid of "stuff" that's cluttering my back storage room, but to know that's it's going to a good cause. That's two-thirds of what Retrograde is all about--rethinking and recycling!

These days, not all of us can give monetary donations (I know I've had to tighten my own belt a little since making the transition to interiors.) So these in-kind contributions are a way for many of us to still help. Share your own links and organizations with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Put a little love in your heart...and have a good holiday!

1 comment:

Debra said...

You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Chinese food on Christmas! Great ideas, here, by the way. I'm totally going to clean out some clutter this week--thanks for the tips.