One Person’s Junk…

By on January 1, 2016

By Sandra Glahn−

If the new year has brought with it a desire to get more organized, why not dispose of items in a way that benefits others or at least has the least effect on the local landfill? Here are some ideas:

Used Bibles and Christian literature. I contacted the Bible League about donating my teen’s kiddie Bibles, and they sent me to Love Packages (lovepackages.org). This ministry has a video posted on YouTube that takes viewers on a tour of the warehouse where they recycle Bibles, Sunday school materials, VBS literature, and tracts. Each year they send millions of pounds of literature overseas. And they even have a dormitory where groups can stay as they volunteer. You can ship your used materials to Love Packages, 220 Union Street, Butler, IL 62015. But you also might want to take a team to Illinois. In addition, our local homeless mission constantly requests Bibles, especially large-print editions.

Cotton fabric. My sister loves to sew, so when she accumulates cotton scraps, she makes pillowcases for the local women’s and children’s shelter. She has also made some baby blankets for her local Pregnancy Resource Center. At the start of a new elementary school semester, she pulled down fabric she had on one of her bulletin boards, washed it, and transformed it into more pillowcases. If you have fabric or gently worn pillowcases you’re no longer using, why not put them to good use? Or maybe you should host a craft night for sewing some. They’re about the easiest thing to make.

Electronics.  I found an electronics store near me that disposes “greenly” of used VCRs, turntables, cassette players, and other electronics; it also pays for used iPods. FYI: They pay more for items that come with cords and aren’t personalized.

Phones. Collect used phones as a fundraiser. Or benefit the troops. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing deployed and returning troops with cost-free ways to communicate with family while serving in the United States military.

Laptops. Our local men’s homeless shelter constantly requests used laptops to aid in their job-training ministry. 

Eyeglasses. I had three pairs of drug-store reading glasses and some inexpensive, non-prescription sunglasses cluttering my purse and nightstand. As it turns out, people living near the equator need sunglasses to shield their eyes, and the glasses don’t have to be prescription. I grabbed a padded envelope and sent my contribution to New Eyes for the Needy. They’re at 549 Millburn Avenue, Short Hills, NJ 07078. The shades and specks you send can help kids succeed in school, enable a senior to read medical labels, or help an adult land a job. How hard would it be to put an announcement in your church bulletin and stick a box in the foyer for the collection of used glasses?

My friend Lisa shared this: “Last year when we went to Burundi in East Africa, I collected about 100 pairs of generic reading glasses in differing strengths. Our team set them out on a table at the women’s leadership conference we were teaching and let the women try them on and find the strength that allowed them to read their new Bibles better. One woman had not been able to read for years for lack of glasses, and she was in tears! It was sobering to me (since I have several pairs scattered around my house because I’m always needing a pair) that something so simple for me to pick up at the grocery store, even, could be literally life-changing for this precious servant of God.”

Unusual stuff.  Karen, another friend, wrote, “I donated bagpipes that have taken up space without being played for twenty-five years. They sold at silent auction for $300. That [money] is now part of a scholarship fund for deserving students from my high school.

In what ways can you clear out space while benefiting others? What do you have lying around that could make a difference in someone’s life?

About Sandra Glahn

Dr. Sandra Glahn is Associate Professor in Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), where she is also editor-in-chief of DTS Magazine. She received her master's in theology from DTS and her PhD in Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/ Dallas. Dr. Glahn is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, including the Coffee Cup Bible Study series. https://twitter.com/sandraglahn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/sglahn.

One Comment

  1. Emme

    January 25, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I’m guilty of overbuying craft supplies. Often after school programs can use those things. I was part of an art program sponsored by my local hospital for chronic pain. We collected broken tile and even dishes to make mosaics with.
    In my area old cellphones can also be dropped off for the local women’s shelter. They’re given to women so they have access to call in emergencies.
    For prescription eye glasses, Lenscrafters has their “gift of sight” program. They’ll take any old pairs (even scratched) and recycle them distributing them across the world.
    Smart use for the bagpipes. Other instruments can be donated to schools. They often have kids who want to learn but can’t afford their own.
    If you have linens that aren’t quite nice enough to up cycle, local animal shelters often need them. Also look for “wish lists” at zoos. The aviary in Pittsburgh always needs sheets.
    One last one printer ink & toner cartridges can often be recycled, but often chairties will collect them and they get reimbursed instead of you just dropping it in a bin at a store for free.

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One Person’s Junk…