Couple celebrating Christmas

With an increased awareness of the impacts of global warming on our planet, it’s no surprise that this year has seen an explosion of zero-waste, DIY and minimalist Christmas gift tips.

Despite being far more conscious of the ecological impact of our Christmas shopping, in Australia $980 million in presents will not be used, and in the UK it is estimated that £2.2 billion worth of presents are unwanted, whereas in the U.S. Americans return nearly $90 billion worth of gifts every year.

So, as you start to pack down your Christmas tree, box those decorations for next year and vacuum the tinsel from the corners of every room, it’s a great time to also do a clean out of your wardrobe, garage and cupboards to see what you could donate.

Decluttering is good for the soul

As bestselling author and tidying expert Marie Kondo says, if it doesn’t spark joy, let it go. The Konmari method aims to help people live a life that sparks joy by making room for meaningful objects, people and experiences.

“Tidy your space, transform your life.”

Marie Kondo

In our house, we have a one-in-one-out motto for non-essential items, which means that for any item of clothing, entertainment or decoration that we buy, we have to let go of an old item. It’s amazing how this has changed how I shop. I used to pick up items I liked off a shelf and if I could afford it, I’d buy it. Now, I often find myself picking up an item off a shelf and saying, “It’s nice, but I don’t need it.” …much to the amusement of my husband who always thought that way.

I also don’t find myself at shopping centres as often, and find I am more content with what I have. It’s also far easier to clean my house when there’s less stuff lying around.

So, while you’re already cleaning up and packing down after Christmas, why not take a look at what you received this Christmas, and what you already have, and see what you could let go of.

Giving also makes you sexier

If the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you to donate, then consider that being altruistic makes you sexier to the opposite sex.

A 2016 study by the British Journal of Psychology found that participants who were given $100 in potential monetary winnings, and who were willing to donate that money, also reported having more lifetime and/or casual sex partners over the previous year.

In short, altruists get more sex!

Here are some fabulous charities that could use your ‘gently-used’ donations

Dress for Success improves the employability of women in need by providing free professional clothing, a network of support and the career development tools to help women achieve self-sufficiency. Donate your work clothes to give a woman a new start.

The Red Cross* provides clothing for victims of natural disasters, and the Red Cross Shops sell new and donated clothes, accessories and homewares to raise funds to help people in need.

The Salvation Army* serves 130 countries around the globe. It is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church which aims to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. Donations help serve the most vulnerable members of your community.

Ronald McDonald House* was an absolute saviour for my family, allowing my mother to stay for free within minutes of the hospital at which my 12-year-old sister was being given the treatment she needed to save her life. These homes away from home serve all types of families, so your donated games, toys and household items could go a long way to bringing some joy to these families during a tough time. Make sure you call ahead before dropping off goods.

*Australian links provided, but you can Google these charities in most countries around the world.