Need an At-Home Project? Here’s How Your Spring Cleaning Can Help Women
Early signs of sunshine may inspire you to take one long hard look at your closet, roll up your sleeves, and start digging—or maybe it’s the fact that you’re stuck at home and need a project to occupy your mind. Spring cleaning is an annual ritual meant to rid our homes (and minds) of unnecessary and unwanted clutter.
Regardless of whether you adopt the Kondo approach or you simply purge and donate, this season encourages a new perspective and new, tidier space. All of your goods don’t need to make their way to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other popular donation centers. In many cases, these hubs don’t accept some of the items you want to give a second home to, like gently-worn bras, unopened (or barely used) beauty products, and so on. Luckily, there are many organizations that dedicate themselves to providing basic necessities to women in need.
From single mothers who survived domestic abuse to young professionals who could use a confidence-inspiring interview outfit to help jumpstart their careers, there are many ways your spring cleaning routine can create a new beginning for someone else.
Where to donate your bras
Perhaps you have gone up a cup size since having your baby. Or, you’ve gone down one, thanks to a newfound love of cardio boxing. Maybe you’re just tired of your old lacy collection and you’re trying your luck with t-shirt bras. Whatever the reason for donating your bras, you’d like them to help someone else in need. Here are a few that do just that:
I Support The Girls
As the name suggests, this non-profit goes above and beyond to help women and girls. You can donate new or gently-worn bras, and I Support the Girls ensures they make it to refugee settlement homes, foster care agencies, LGBTQ agencies, homeless and domestic violence shelters, as well as homes for pregnant teens.
Free the Girls
One of the best ways to end cycles of abuse is through education. And when it comes to the epidemic of human trafficking that impacts millions of women, teens, and children worldwide, providing a job can free them from slavery. And that’s where Free the Girls gets its name. They collect new or gently worn bras to give to women and girls who were victims of slavery, who in turn then have inventory to start their own business selling bras. This allows them to work remotely online and garner an income, all while attending school and taking care of their families.
The Bra Recyclers
You have one bra that’s definitely hanging by its last strap. And another one that probably has another six months left in it. You can donate both to The Bra Recyclers. For those bras that can be loved again, they’ll distribute them to women in need. And if they can’t? They’ll recycle them—so either way, your old bra isn’t contributing to landfill.
Donate Your Bra
Another great name that gets right to the point, the non-profit Donate Your Bra directly benefits women who don’t have access to this everyday garment. It’s completely run by unpaid volunteers who find homes for the new-ish bras at breast cancer support groups, charities, and shelters across the country. All you have to do is mail it in!
Where to donate your unused (or barely used) beauty products
Your aunt meant well—but that lotion set just wasn’t your scent. And you thought a mega sale at Sephora was worth every last penny… yet you’ve barely used any of the sample sizes you bought. Many women have drawers of unused beauty products—from make-up to moisturizer and deodorant—that collect dust. Before they expire, put them to good use by utilizing the services of these charities:
For terminally-ill patients and their caregivers, the last year (or months) of life are exhausting, painful, and terribly sad. The last thing either wants to think about is making a run to the drugstore to pick up shampoo. That’s where Beauty Bus comes to the rescue by delivering must-have beauty products for those facing this difficult situation. Though all products must be new and at least six months from their expiration date, it’s easy to donate and make a difference.
Project Beauty Share
We’re all guilty of being lured into purchasing promising new beauty products, only to figure out it’s not a fit for your shade or skin type. Rather than letting it sit open in your bathroom before eventually throwing it out, consider sending it to Project Beauty Share. This non-profit distributes these goods to various groups that serve women and children going through difficult situations, including poverty and homelessness, as well as abuse and addiction. While only some products can be ‘open’—powder eye shadows, powder blush, bronzers, and so on—it’s worth checking them out to see if your stash is a fit.
Share Your Beauty
Similar to Project Beauty Share, Share Your Beauty is a nonprofit that helps extend the life of your just-used-once products. They’re also open to a plethora of categories, including hair and skin care products, nail polish, perfume samples, and personal care items. We love their mission, which is “to put a bit of sparkle and dignity back into the lives of women and teens in crisis.”
Where to donate menstrual goods
At Cora, we donate a portion of our monthly revenue to provide sustainable period products, reproductive health education, and employment opportunities to girls and women in India and here at home in the U.S. There are other companies who take unopened menstrual products—including tampons, pads, liners and cups—and give them to girls or women who need them the most.
I Support The Girls
In addition to bras, this non-profit also accepts menstrual products, as long as they are unopened. If you have a box that will expire because you no longer need them—due to pregnancy or menopause—consider donating them to this organization.
Many women who can’t afford to purchase menstrual products, or who are living in homelessness, experience shame attached to their monthly cycle. This can lower their self-esteem and make them less likely to seek help. Though Dignity Matters is a non-profit is based in Massachusetts, they accept donations from anywhere in the country and ensure they arrive in the hands of those who need them the most.
Though Aunt Flow is best known for serving businesses with sanitary products in bathrooms, they also donate these same items to women in need. You can donate directly to them, and they will distribute them to the homeless, teenagers in foster care, and beyond.
Simply the Basics
If you’re in the Bay Area, consider giving your tampons, pads or cups to this non-profit. Simply the Basics is dedicated to providing sanitary goods and other hygiene products women need to be healthy and comfortable. Even if you run out of items to give, you can donate dollar amounts that fund wellness packs.
Where to donate your old professional attire
When you’re presented with the opportunity to interview for a cool new job or take on a promising client, you go to your closet, grab your slickest blazer, some red lipstick, and you’re off. Not every woman has easy access to clothes that are appropriate for corporate settings, which can dramatically decrease their ability to gain employment. This disparity is well known by Dress for Success, a well-known and national program. They know that a suit that doesn’t quite work for you anymore could be the perfect fit for a recent grad applying for their first gig. This non-profit collects and distributes professional clothing to women in need nationwide. In fact, every woman who works with this organization will receive not only a two-piece suit but shoes and accessories, too. You can donate everything from these goods to coats, unused undergarments and unopened cosmetics.
Where to donate your old suitcase
After many takeoffs, landings, cabs and buses, you’ve finally decided to upgrade your trusty travel companion. But your old suitcase or bag still has plenty of miles left in it—so what should you do with it? Consider bringing it to your local foster care center, since many times children are given a trash bag to transport their belongings with them when they move to a new location. This can be embarrassing and discouraging for the teen or child, and a simple bag can go a long way to build their confidence. Another option is to contact Suitcases of Hope, who can help source a place for your bag near you, or even distribute it themselves.
Where to donate everything else
Do you have kitchen goods? Photo frames? Shoes you don’t use? Gently-worn anything? You can find a home for nearly anything by signing up with Give Back Box. The concept is simple: put everything you want to donate in a box you likely already have from your latest Amazon order, choose a charity, print a prepaid shipping label and drop it off at your local mailbox. The cost of shipping is fronted by mega-companies like Lego, Levi’s, and others, who are hoping to make it easier to help others.
Author Bio Lindsay Tigar is a travel and lifestyle journalist. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today and countless other publications. When she isn't collecting another passport stamp, she can be found scouring a city for the best coffee, going to a boxing class or falling in love with each stray dog she meets. A collection of her work can be found at LindsayTigar.com.