Putting it All Together: How Do You Give Back?

BlogHer Original Post

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Over the weekend, my husband and I started our spring cleaning. This is the cleanup that's not just about getting things spiffy (although I did spend an hour on Saturday scrubbing down the patio furniture) but about getting rid of things. We went from room to room in our house and asked ourselves: what can go? A lot of things, it turns out.

Woman selecting clothing

For us, cleaning house is more than just getting rid of stuff; it's a way to share what we have, quite literally. We're always looking for easy, everyday ways to give back, for moments of giving that are part of the routine of our life, and giving away what we aren't using or don't need is the simplest way. We constantly cull our closets and our bookshelves and toy bins for things we've outgrown or stopped using; at least once a month, my kids show up at my neighbor's with a bag of hand-me-downs for her son or books for the baby. Wade and I keep a big bag in our closet for household things we're no longer using; when Big Brothers or the Vietnam Vets or Habitat for Humanity calls, we put the bag outside for them.

That's not the only way we give, though. When my sons come home and announce that their class is out of Kleenex or glue sticks or snacks, I pick some up at the grocery -- I'm there anyway, right, so what's one more jumbo pack of tissues in my cart? Easy. For my family, giving back most often manifests in material forms: we talk often with the kids about how since we have so much, it's our responsibility to share what we have with those who have less. (It also helps that Wade and I are both minimalists when it comes to possessions; we would rather have a few nice things than a lot of anything, and nothing makes us happier than getting rid of extra stuff.) But there are other ways to give -- writing a check or donating time or ... well, you tell me.

For the next installment of BlogHer's Putting it All Together video series, I'll be looking for your ideas on giving back. At the end of the month, I'll head over to Ree's ranch to shoot this particular video; Michelle Woo will be joining me as my co-host. I'm excited to meet Michelle and see PW's home, but I'm also excited to hear about how you all are giving back, what you're doing to make your community a better place. In the next few weeks, I'll be telling you about some of my favorite ways to give back and about some people who inspire me; I'll also be sharing your stories of giving. So let's hear them.

Your turn: How do you give back?

Susan Wagner writes about pragmatic fashion at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate, where this post originally appeared.

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