Spring Cleaning and Responsible Reuse
As winter ends many of us get down to the ritual of spring cleaning. It feels great to fling
open those closets, cupboards, and garage doors, take stock of what is no longer useful
and clear it away. You can feel even better when you thoughtfully allocate your castoffs
to organizations who can use them directly, because your unwanted goods will have
longer lives in responsible hands.
We are lucky to have robust charitable communities and a vibrant social services sector
in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. The organizations that operate in service
to our state’s communities give us limitless ways to responsibly divest of unwanted
items, making it possible for each of us to be active collaborators in the reuse
Here are 10 stellar nonprofit organizations doing good work that have created ‘Wish
Lists’ to take the guesswork out of what they need and what they can put to immediate
Bridging (http://www.bridging.org )
Bridging was founded on the idea that together we can create a bridge between those
in need and those with excess. Since 1987, and nearly 50,000 square feet later, Bridging
is the largest furniture bank in North America and has served over 80,000 households.
Bridging continues to accept quality, gently used items, and by doing so, diverts 200,000
pounds of inventory from the landfill each week.
Bundles of Love (http://www.bundlesoflove.org )
Bundles of Love is a volunteer driven organization that partners with community service
agencies to assist Minnesota families in need by providing handmade baby clothing,
bedding, and basic care items for newborns. In 2016, the organization served an
estimated 5,657 families.
Wish List: http://www.bundlesoflove.org/help
Citizens Supporting Our Armed Forces (https://www.csoaf.com )
Citizens Supporting Our Armed Forces mission is two-fold: 1) Increase community
support and awareness of our troops and their on-going military deployments, and 2)
Direct troop support through the shipment of care packages to those deployed. The
goal is to send needed items to our troops as often as possible and to as many as
Wish List: https://www.csoaf.com/donations.html
Crisis Nursery (http://www.crisisnursery.org )
Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery remains the only residential crisis nursery in
Minnesota, and one of only 20 in the country. Crisis Nursery started, 32 years ago with a
goal to establish a crisis helpline 24-hours a day, seven days a week; and to shelter six
children per day. Today, the organization answers over 4,000 crisis calls and shelters
over 2,200 children a year.
Keys 4/4 Kids (http://www.keys44kids.org )
Keys 4/4 Kids accepts donations of used and unwanted pianos and its professional piano
technicians rejuvenate them for resale. Proceeds from these sales programs that
provide opportunities for artistic expression in our youth, encourage community
partnerships, and make the arts available to all people, regardless of income, age, or
previous arts experience.
Wish Lists: Donate Pianos: http://www.keys44kids.org/donate-a-piano/
Piano Parts Upcycled: http://www.keys44kids.org/shop/?category=Upcycled
Leonardo’s Basement (https://leonardosbasement.org )
Leonardo’s Basement is a one-of- a-kind creative learning environment for “kids” of all
ages to design and build from their imagination. Kids choose and direct their own
projects, create, and build solutions to problems and go on field trips. Over 11,000
students have been served by the organization since 1998.
Minnesota Homeless Coalition (http://www.mnhomelesscoalition.org )
Since 1984 the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless has worked to ensure that
everyone has a place to call home through advocacy, technical assistance, and building
public awareness. Together with partners, the Coalition has advocated for state funds to
build over 9,000 units of affordable housing.
Wish List: http://www.mnhomelesscoalition.org/give-now/
Open Arms of Minnesota (http://www.openarmsmn.org )
Open Arms of Minnesota cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with
life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities. With the help of over 5,400 volunteers, the
organization will cook and deliver more than 600,000 delicious meals this year to people
living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as
to their caregivers and dependents.
Operation Glass Slipper (http://operationglassslipper.org )
Operation Glass Slipper was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to providing prom gowns
and accessories - at no charge - to high school girls throughout Minnesota and western
Wisconsin. The organization serves young women who would otherwise be unable to
attend prom due to difficult financial or family circumstances. Each year over 1,000 girls
are outfitted for prom.
Wish List: http://operationglassslipper.org/?page_id=21
People Incorporated (http://www.peopleincorporated.org )
People Incorporated serves people with mental illness in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul
metro area. Founded in 1969, they operate more than 60 programs including children’s
programs, crisis residences, programming to help the homeless, residential programs,
treatment services, case management, and in-home health services. In 2015, the
organization served more than 10,000 people.
Wish List:http://www.peopleincorporated.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015-Program-Wish- List1.pdf
About this month’s blogger:
Beth DeZiel is newly elected to the Board of ReUSE Minnesota and owner of Lasso LLC.
(http://lassollc.com/ ) Seven years ago, she launched a professional organizing business
to help individuals downsize and simplify while being kind to the planet. In a profession
heavily populated with people who counsel their clients to throw things away (or to buy
more plastic bins) in the name of organization, Beth has made it her mission to help her
clients responsibly redistribute their unwanted belongings – going to great lengths to
identify and connect with organizations that will be able to keep these castaways in use.
To that end, she’s set herself apart from the mainstream in a way that resonates with
her increasingly eco-conscious clientele.