I thought you guys might be curious to know where exactly all of the review and sample items I receive end up. I have seen many bloggers write similar posts, so I know it’s a somewhat common blogging “problem”. What do you do with all of the extra stuff you accumulate as a blogger?
For some the answer might be to use it as gifts, or to donate to a favourite charity. For me, while some items do get squirreled away for gift giving, the majority of the items I get that aren’t the perfect fit for my family get sorted into one of three piles; stuff for my mom, stuff for the next mystery box giveaway and stuff to donate.
That’s not to say I don’t genuinely love the items I give a positive review to on here, but just for example Kinder tends to send me Kinder Surprise eggs far faster then I dole them out to my kids (yes, I’m a mean, stingy mom), or there was the time when I worked with HEXBUGS and they sent me enough cool little robotic critters to keep three or four kids happy. Also every once in a while I make a deal to work for something I don’t need or already have, specifically with the intention of giving it away.
So the point is, I end up with a pile earmarked for donation that looks like this:
And then what do I end up doing with it?
As a Procter & Gamble ambassador, aka #PGmom, I get a monthly box of goodies from P&G. P&G makes over 300 different products. Every once in a while my package includes something I don’t use, or use infrequently enough that I have a bunch on hand already. For example I have a high efficiency (HE) washing machine, so I can’t use the non-HE liquid Tide they’ve sent me. I had a dickens of a time giving that laundry detergent away. My nearby family members all have HE washers. So I had this stockpile of non-HE friendly Tide detergent. My husband has friends over fairly frequently to game. I have found myself popping in downstairs and saying, “Excuse me, what sort of washing machine do you have? No, what about you? Is it a HE machine?” trying to wheedle someone into taking a few bottles home with them, as the guys all stared at me like I was a total nutter.
Up until now I’ve been donating my excess stuff pretty much randomly. For used items I often give to the Canadian Diabetes Society or the Salvation Army. But what about brand new stuff? I would try and talk friends into taking it. I would drop it in the donations bin at the nearby Metro, or drop it off at the Food Bank. To be honest I began to feel really frustrated. Friends and family didn’t seem thankful when I gave them stuff, to the contrary I felt like I had to talk them into it. Just dropping stuff off in a bin also felt wrong somehow. I knew there had to be a better way, but for a long time I didn’t have a clue what that might be.
Then a few months ago a little light bulb went off in my head, and I sent an email off to an old friend of mine who works for the Children’s Aid Society. Did they accept donations? Did she think this was the sort of stuff they might have a use for? She explained to me how she works with many families who are new to Canada and don’t have much. She said she would very happily accept my donations, and that they would be put to good use. Best part of the deal? She swings on by during her lunch break to pick the stuff up, and we get to have a short visit over tea. I feel good knowing my extra stuff is going to be put to a good use, and I get to visit with an old friend. Win/Win.
So when P&G put out the call to P&G Mom’s, asking if we would be interested in giving away some Pampers Swaddlers for newborns, I said “Yes, please!”. They sent me two cases of newborn diapers, and I passed them along to my friend. She told me she was working with a young, poor, first time new mom who was due soon and would be ecstatic at receiving diapers.
I’m happy I finally figured out what to do with my extra stuff. I love knowing that the stuff I get from blogging can give back to my community. I love knowing it’s going to folks who need and appreciate it. And, yes, I also love having an excuse to get together with another grown-up, chat and have tea.
What about you guys? When it comes time to clean house, where do you donate your extra stuff?