Spring Cleaning With Goodwill

Cleaning lady vacuuming a soft carpet in living room.

It is that time of year again when we all have the urge to get rid of the useless items , reclaim our garages, and restore order in our home. I used to try to do spring cleaning in one week, but with endless activities on our calendar, it makes it difficult to devote a week’s worth of my time to just cleaning. Who really has time for that?

Instead of doing one deep cleaning try “spring cleaning” all year long rather than trying to set aside a specific time to do this. By simply incorporating smaller scale spring cleaning projects into your daily routine, you can accomplish the same tasks on your limited schedule.

vacuuming dirt off a green carpet

Make a Checklist- Begin by making a checklist of everything that you would normally do during your spring cleaning. Tasks like washing all the linens and drapes, wiping down baseboards, washing windows inside and out, cleaning out your pantry, washing your shower curtains, organizing your linen cabinets, wiping down walls, and cleaning doorknobs and light fixtures are items that are typically on a spring cleaning checklist.

Take Inventory of Your Supplies- Take inventory of your cleaners and the tools that you will need in order to accomplish all of the necessary cleaning. Nothing is worse then getting ready to do your task and then finding out that you are missing that one component needed to complete your task. Put the items that you will need on your shopping list and get these items on the day that you perform all of your errands.

Add Just One Hour- Continue doing your normal daily routine, but add an extra hour each week towards accomplishing just one of these tasks on your list. Check off the items that you accomplish and press on to the next one. By just devoting one hour a week towards your spring cleaning goals you will have a more manageable deep cleaning routine.

Donation Day

Reclaim Your Home- Clear out as much clutter as you can. Make a box for trash and a box for your Goodwill donations and fill these with all of the unnecessary clutter in your home. By donating these items to Goodwill your items continue to help Goodwill’s mission to provide jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment. Not only will someone who needs these items more benefit from your donation, but you can receive a tax break and reclaim space in your own home. If you don’t like to dust it, don’t love the item, and want an organized home- donate it!!

Make Cleaning Convenient- Keep a caddy of cleaning supplies on each floor. I find it much easier to clean my house when I know that the tools that I need to accomplish my task are just a few steps away. Keep your checklist either in one of your caddies or somewhere that is accessible so that you can always stay on track with your deep cleaning.

As an aside, I also encourage you to do your cleaning when it is convenient for you. Some people work better during morning hours while others of us would rather be snoozing and do better in the evening. Take advantage of the times that you work best. If you would rather break the hour into smaller increments that is totally up to you. The idea behind all of this is to make it as easy as possible so fit it in wherever and whenever you can.

bench monday: what a mess

Get the Kids Involved- Enlist your helpers to help you on these tasks. Your children and your husband can be active participants in getting your home organized just like they help to contribute to the clutter. Schedule dad for clearing out the garage, taking inventory of the tools you will need to do your gardening, cleaning out the basement, weeding through the family electronics, or other tasks inside and outside of the home. Children can aid in cleaning their own rooms by helping to remove some of the clutter in the house. Involving your family can be beneficial in showing them all that you do to keep your house running smoothly.

Make it Fun- Whatever you do, try to make the experience a fun one. Turn on some great music, watch television while polishing tables, do whatever you can to make getting your home clean easier and more enjoyable.

What are your best tips for Spring Cleaning? We would love to hear how you accomplish the Spring Cleaning in your home!

Please click on the above pictures for photo credit and to access the photographer information for each image.

Spring Cleaning the Electronic Waste From Your Life

photo credit: dio5

In a world where your phones and electronics become obsolete within a year, it should come as no surprise that there is a lot of electronic waste lying around that could be put to great use and recycled today. In fact, the EPA estimates that in 2007, 157 million computer products were discarded (CPUs, monitors, notebooks, keyboards, mice, printers, faxes, and copiers). Just imagine if those items would have been donated and processed by Goodwill instead how much we would be able to keep out of our landfills?

As the season for spring cleaning is around the corner, consider a spring cleaning of the electronic warfare that is taking up residence in your basements, garage, and home office. Today I wanted to share with you the beauty of donating your electronic items to Goodwill and how some of the items gathering dust in your home could benefit someone in your community!

What is the Dell Reconnect program?

I never truly understood how amazing the electronic donation program was at Goodwill until I took a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and got to see the processing of donations as they were happening in real time. It should come as no surprise that the donations that come in aren’t all in the best condition, but the way that Goodwill looks at donations is that every component of that donation has a valuable part to it. Some of the items that cannot be sold in their stores are processed simply as raw materials, such as metals, plastics, and textiles.

Goodwill has a partnership with Dell to process electronic waste in a technology recycling program that can greatly benefit our community and reduce the waste in landfills. The program is called Reconnect and it offers you an easy, convenient and responsible way to recycle your used computer equipment. You can drop off any brand of used equipment – working or not – at Goodwill’s Drive-Thru Donation Centers at their retial stores.

Project Earth 365:  Day 008

photo credit: tiramisu_addict

What types of items does Goodwill take?

While you may already be aware that you can donate those computers, printers, & scanners, there are some items that you might not realize Goodwill will take for you. For example, Goodwill will happily process those cords and cables (power cord & USB cables) that no longer have a use in your home, your ink & toner cartridges (either full or empty), computer speakers, televisions and software. We even take cell phones!

Items where the glass could be broken, like computer monitors and scanners, just need to be placed into a trash bag or box and clearly labeled that they are broken and the date of your donation. Isn’t it nice to know that even those broken items in our home can be processed for donation?

Old Hard Drive... circa 1982 (1)

photo credit: Taran Rampersad

What do I do about the confidential information on my hard drive?

Unfortunately, Goodwill cannot be responsible for the information that may exist on your hard drive. Just imagine if they had to process that along with the millions of donations that they process each year?

Before wiping your hard drive clean, be sure that you back up whatever you might need from it. Remember that when you clean the hard drive that you will not be able to get anything back from it that you might need later down the road.

It is easy and free to erase your hard drive and there are many free online programs that can help you with this process. This site, for example, offers easy instructions and a program that you can download to help you erase your confidential information. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can always hire a third party company to assist you.

Charlotte Clean & Green

photo credit: goodwillsp

Where do I drop my donations off?

To get your tax donation form, be sure to drop those donations off at Goodwill’s Drive-Thru Donation Centers at your nearest Goodwill store. The bonus that makes the trip entirely worth it is that our Michiana Goodwills offer coupons for every donation that you make. After you create a little space in your home from that donation, you can do a little shopping for another great piece to continue organizing your space!

If your donation is a bulky one, you can call 574.472.7334 and Goodwill will be happy to pick up. There are some areas they cannot pick up from, so call ahead to see if your location is within their range.

Basically, there are just no excuses for not getting rid of the electronic waste in your life!

My Story: Goodwill Industries International employee Sekeno Aldred

Why should I donate my items to Goodwill?

All of that electronic equipment that you donate to Goodwill has value. Whether it is an entirely working operating system or it is simply your empty ink cartridges, your items help Goodwill’s mission to provide jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment. You can feel so proud that you finally weeded through your electronic clutter, happily accept your tax receipt, keep your electronics out of the landfill, and provide jobs for others.

I can think of no other reason than that to make Goodwill a place to unload the electronics gathering dust in your life!


Time to confess! What electronics are you hanging on to that you haven’t been able to part with? I will start the discussion with our Super Nintendo, a whole bin of random cords, an extra printer, an extra scanner, and two old cell phones. What is gathering dust at your house?

Amy Allen Clark is the Founder of MomAdvice.com, a web community where she shares advice on parenting, money-saving ideas, recipes, and solutions for work-at-home moms. Visit her site for more ideas on ways to live on a frugal budget!