Photo: Three things you didn't think you could donate

Here's the infamous "bra fence" in New Zealand. Imagine if these kilometres of bras were donated to women in need! (Credit: Dave via Flickr)

Crayons donated to children in India: Check.

Bra and underwear donated to women in need: Check.

Nontoxic eco-friendly hair conditioner donated to women in need: Check.

Don't forget that other kind of gift-giving this month: Donate. You'd be surprised at how much of what you're not using is needed by someone else and how easy it is to give.

Seriously, will you ever scrapbook again? Find an organization in need. A co-worker collected craft supplies for children in India. Vancouver's Beauty Night —building self-esteem for women living in poverty—accepts felts, paper and stickers for their "creation station". They also take new, unopened cosmetics.

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Another co-worker collected bedding, towels, underwear, socks, tights, coats, hats, and gloves for the WISH Drop-in Centre for survival sex workers. They also accept personal care products (including new and partially-used makeup and toiletries). Are you onto a fourth type of eco-friendly deodorant, free of the Dirty Dozen toxic ingredients found in cosmetics? Donate the other three.

Once I hosted a holiday party asking guests to bring new toothbrushes and underwear! The Mustard Seed (Edmonton and Calgary) urgently needed those items. Or you can do a towel or blanket drive!

Remember, there are many people who have next to nothing and will appreciate the things you no longer use or need, as long as they are clean and serviceable. To be sure, always contact the organization before dropping off donations.

Help spread the word about agencies in your community that are collecting. What and where will you donate to those in need?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

December 12, 2011

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Feb 28, 2017
3:34 PM

Thank you so much for this list! Some great organisations aren’t heard of enough, like I had no idea I could donate my bra to women in need, I had only seen the breast cancer awareness boxes so far. Next bras will go to women in need, awesome :) If I may point out, in Quebec the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul accepts small appliances like microwaves and toaster ovens.

Jan 23, 2012
2:20 PM

Thanks for the great ideas Lindsay! I just got back from a wonderful trip around the islands of Vanuatu and was inspired to do something to help — and bras would be perfect! A little online searching brought up some local organisations here in Australia and New Zealand (where I live) and so we're going to do a bra collection at work. Fantastic stuff!

Jan 20, 2012
10:46 AM

Thanks for giving us ideas of what we can do with all this type of stuff we have around the house. I have a lot of these types of things to get rid of and never wanted to throw them straight in the garbage — especially since it's still good stuff!! And I agree with Mina — we really don't need all that much — a good point to think about before we go and buy more!!

Jan 11, 2012
8:02 PM

I live in China now- I was living in New York-Tokyo-all my life. We do not need most of stuff we have or own…It took me a year to notice. I'd like to live very simple. Want to give out most of my stuff away!

Jan 04, 2012
5:04 PM

Great reminder Kate! I found it very easy to take in spare bowls, toys and brushes to the SPCA. Of course, then you have to do a round and say "hi" to all the cats and dogs.

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

Dec 19, 2011
1:05 PM

Old blankets and towels to your local animal rescue centre! They'll use them long after humans are done.

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