Giving back to the community is a great way to deplete what you own and feel good about what you buy this season. Here are some ideas to help you get started! 

During the upcoming holidays, there are many things that must be done. Food must be bought and prepared, gifts must be purchased and wrapped, and then there's that thought in the back of your mind, where exactly are you going to put all the gifts you and your family receive. It’s a lot to think about, and it can be stressful. The holidays are a time for giving and receiving, and sometimes, if you're lucky, you can manage to do both in one fell swoop.

Today I’m going to let you in on some ideas on how you can achieve your tasks for the holidays, make room for new things, and feel like you have accomplished something great with your time, all in just a few, simple steps. Are you ready for the secret? Okay, I’m sure the title of this blog post and that awesome William Wordsworth quote gave it away, but the secret is giving back! I know giving back to your local community can be time consuming, but by implementing a few or even all of these ideas, you’ll be able to maximize your time and give back to the community with ease!

1 - Don't Leave Us Hanging!

Giving Back Color Coordination Closet Full of Clothes Long Sleeved Shirts Donate Goodwill Thanksgiving

Via Hey, Let's Make Stuff

A quick and easy way to give back is to go through all your clothes and donate what you no longer need or wear. Many different shelters and charities accept clothing donations of all varieties all year long. Take a few minutes each day, or take a weekend, and go through those clothes of yours! Box them up and take them to places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, homeless shelters, or women’s shelters. You might even take a couple of minutes to check with each place before donating your unwanted clothes to see which ones have the most need for what you’re giving away.

If you live somewhere where it gets really cold, think about adding in some of those old coats that just sit in the back of your closet. Someone else might be in great need of a good winter coat. Tackle this slowly, or all at once if you work better that way. You can even encourage your friends and family to do the same, and you can all get together and donate. What a great bonding experience!

The best part of the #holidays is #givingback. Here are some quick ideas on how you can help locally!

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2 - You 'Can' Do It!

Giving Back Pile of Canned Foods for Donation Food Drive Donate Thanksgiving Holiday Season Reduce Waste

Via Behind the Counter

Another easy way to give back to society is to send canned goods to local shelters. When you go to the store to buy all the supplies for cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and later on Christmas (or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, whichever you celebrate) dinner, take a few extra moments and purchase some non-perishable foods to donate. Already buying canned goods? Even better, just add in a few more. You can even throw in a perishable item to donate every time you go grocery shopping, and give what you collect to a shelter after a couple months. Canned goods are relatively inexpensive, too, and can be easily found and purchased. There are two big opportunities for you to donate canned goods this holiday season. Try to do one or both if you can! Also, if you are a pet lover, consider purchasing some canned dog or cat food to give to our furry friends. Check with your local animal shelter to see what they need!

3 - Boxed Up and Already Ready To Go!

Giving Back Box of Donated Toys from Toy Story 3 Thanksgiving Holiday Season Goodwill Disney Toys for Donation

Via Disney

We all have that box of old toys stuck up in the attic or in the top of a closet that no one has played with in years. Pull down that box and peek inside. Are those toys something you need to keep? If they’re truly sentimental, keep them. If they’re just in the box to be out of the way, it’s time to give them to someone who will play with them. There are many different charity organizations that take used toys. Orphanages and shelters are the most common. Make space in your house by packing up those unused and unwanted toys and giving them to a child who needs them. You can make a child’s day by giving them a toy to love. Like Andy did in Toy Story 3 when he gave Woody and the gang to cute little Bonnie Anderson and made everyone in the theater cry, because we all knew those toys were going to a good home and would be loved.

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4 - Reach Out and Volunteer!

Giving Back Volunteer Logo with Multicolored Hands Reaching Up to the Sky Donate Thanksgiving Holiday Season

Via EAPL Thrift Shop

Now, I know the holidays are stressful, and sometimes you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. So why am I suggesting you volunteer? Well, for exactly that reason. One of the best benefits you can receive from volunteering is the fact that even though you are spending your valuable time, you are doing something good with that time, and the resulting feeling of satisfaction is stress-relieving. Volunteering your time will be the hardest of the ideas I share with you, but spending time will give you time as well. It sounds crazy, but it actually works. If you can manage to spend even a little time volunteering at a local shelter, nursing home, charitable organization, or children’s hospital, you will feel better about yourself, and with that revived spirit, you will be able to accomplish more at home. Animal lovers can also volunteer at local shelters. You get to help take care of the animals, and as all pet-lovers know, sometimes just being around those cute little faces makes any day better.

5 - Double the Trouble, I Mean Toys!

Giving Back New Packaged Toys Perfect for Donating Spread the Love Thanksgiving Holiday Season Goodwill Peace on Earth

Via Salon

The last idea I have for you is specifically for those places that only accept new toys because of the children they are giving them to. When you go out and buy presents for your kids, your relative’s kids, or your friends’ kids, grab a few extras. This is an idea that can be used throughout the entire year, especially when you're out shopping and notice a good clearance on toys. You know what day is coming up that is perfect for this very idea? You guessed it: Black Friday. What better use of this enormous holiday sale than to buy items to donate to a charity or hospital?

There you have it! Some quick and easy ways to help you give back to your local community. Please share this post with family and friends to get them involved as well, and comment with any additional ideas on giving back! Stay creative, my friends!

**Featured image via Quotezine