Festive Designs for Your Independence Day Celebration

By Julia Marchand

With Independence Day right around the corner, you may be looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate. Of course, a parade and fireworks are basically mandatory, but don’t forget to dress up yourself and your home! These are two of my favorite ways to enjoy holidays since they really set the tone for whatever merriment is approaching.

Photo 1                                                      Image via GoodwillEasterSeals.org 

The first thing I like to do to prepare for an upcoming event is to pull together at least one themed display at home. Just setting something up on a tabletop or bookshelf doesn’t take long, but can make a great statement. You don’t even need to have guests over to appreciate it! I find that changing up my surroundings even just a little at a time keeps my home feeling fresh and inspiring. This quick and patriotic display made by Sarah for Goodwill Easter Seals (Saint Paul) is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s bright, bold, and brilliantly priced since she found everything at Goodwill!

Photo 2                                                                                                                     Image via GoodwillFabulous.com

Be a firework this fourth by decking yourself out head-to-toe in red, white, and blue like Molly and Penny, the sisters behind the blog Goodwill Fabulous. Can you believe that the dress Molly scored for $4.99 from her local Goodwill originally retailed for $138? That’s about 96% off! I’d say the hunt is well worth it for a price like that. What do you think?

Photo 3                                                                                                    Image via ItAllStartedWithPaint.com 

Another aspect of Independence Day that I truly adore is how social the holiday is. This is not one of those intimate family days like Easter nor is it a one-on-one type evening like Valentine’s Day. It’s an all-you-can-eat, everyone’s invited, break out the sparklers kind of jubilation! As such, it might be a good idea for you to have some snacks and activities on hand. Here are some fantastic ideas for themed décor and pastimes from Marion Goodwill Industries (OH) including the super simple silverware stash above!
But perhaps the most patriotic thing about celebrating the Fourth of July by shopping at your Goodwill is that every dollar you spend is going back into your own community. Eighty-three percent of collective revenues raised through the sale of donated goods support and grow Goodwill’s critical community-based programs and services. Thrifting at Goodwill is such an easy and effective way to help keep your unique community strong to ensure that we can continue to applaud it every July 4th for a very long time.

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Earth Day Zero Waste

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Earth day is this week, but you can celebrate every day! One way you can do your part to reduce waste is by embracing reusable alternatives when you’re eating at a restaurant or anywhere on the go. Here are a few simple items you can thrift at your local Goodwill to help you be prepared!

Reusable Bag:
The perfect way to keep your kit together, great for runs to the store, useful for transporting food – skip the flimsy plastic!

Cloth Napkin:
Pass on the paper and go for a cloth option. Practical, washable, durable – just throw a few in your kit!

Metal Straws:
Make plastic straws a thing of the past by keeping a few of these on hand, plus you’ll never have to contend with the occasional dreaded punctured straw…

Reusable Drinkware/Travel Mug:
Keep your drinks warmer/colder longer and avoid disposable drinkware.

Divided Container:
Great for bringing lunches or taking leftovers home. Skip the Styrofoam and plastic to-go boxes!

Silverware:
Handy for avoiding disposable plastic alternatives, easy to clean – keep a few sets on hand so you can wash and rotate.

Glass Jar:
A great small container option for snacks or drinks.

Small Containers:
Have a few for dry snacks or smaller to-go items – flexible, convenient, a must in any kit.

Preparing your own zero waste kit is a fun challenge that will help you avoid unnecessary trash and single use items in your daily routine. Create your own, and share any new ideas you discover by tagging us on social media: Marion Goodwill.

 

FIVE TIPS TPO REORGANIZE AND LET IT GO

Declutter, Donate and Shop at Goodwill to Give a Fresh Start to Someone in Your Community
By Lorie Marrero

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Spring is a time to refresh and renew. With the change in seasons, why not make some changes around the house by decluttering your basement, attic, garage or closet?

When you’re organizing, it can sometimes be difficult to let go and get rid of the things you’ve been holding onto. Here are five tips to make it easier to say goodbye to some of your stuff.

1. Make room for new things by clearing out the old.
You can’t allow anything new and useful and beautiful to come into your life if you don’t have room for it. So, if your closet is stuffed full of clothes that you don’t wear, or you can’t even see, then you can’t make room for anything new and gorgeous and fun to come into your wardrobe. You have to get rid of the stagnant stuff: Have a flow in and out.

2. Memories of your possessions may no longer be serving you well.
Some of your possessions have memories associated with them, but perhaps they only remind you of things that are better left in the past. Maybe you have items belonging to your ex-partner that were left behind after a breakup or divorce. It can be very therapeutic to get rid of these items. Maybe you are hanging on to paperwork from an old job that you didn’t like. You may also have pleasant memories of a loved one who passed away and you want to honor that person. But what you don’t want is their belongings dominating your space, preventing you from moving on to a new chapter in your life. Whatever you keep, make sure the memories are serving you in the right way.

3. Don’t be a slave to possessions that take time and energy to maintain.
You might want to get rid of things that eat up your time. How much are you dusting and polishing these items? Replacing batteries and parts? Does any of your stuff require care when you go out of town? Time can be a factor to help you decide whether to get rid of something.

4. Fewer possessions simplify your choices and decision making.
Fewer choices mean easier decisions. So if you’re going to select a pair of shoes, it’s much easier to choose if your collection is smaller. It takes a lot more time to make that decision every morning if you have dozens of pairs. You want your possessions to represent who you are and who you want to be. You want your environment to support your goals moving forward. So if you’re debating about whether to keep certain things, and they’re not meeting those criteria, you should probably let them go.

5. “Perfectly useful” possessions may not be perfectly useful to YOU, today.
This is why I love donating my clothing and household goods to Goodwill. Because I know that, not only is the person purchasing that item going to enjoy it, but the revenue is going directly to create opportunities for someone in my community — my own neighbors. Goodwill provides job placement and training services for people facing challenges to finding employment. And that’s a compelling reason to let go of things that are not useful to me anymore, because I know they’re going to a good home and they’re going to do good in the world.
As you reorganize your closets and refresh your wardrobe this spring, give people in your local community a fresh start by shopping at and donating to Marion Goodwill.

Lorie Marrero is a home and lifestyle expert and media personality. She is the bestselling author of The Clutter Diet and The Home Office Handbook. She has served as a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries International, and for other companies, including Microsoft, Staples, Rubbermaid, ClosetMaid, Brother and Swingline.

LET YOUR RESOLUTION TURN INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB SOLUTION

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By organizing your home and donating items to Goodwill, you can be a job creator!
Are you having trouble coming up with a good new year’s resolution — one that you’ll actually stick to this time? Don’t worry! Goodwill has just the incentive for starting off the New Year right, with a resolution that will help you — and your neighbors, too. By clearing out the clutter from your home and donating unwanted items to Goodwill, you can help fund job training programs and services right in your local community.

The new year is a great time to resolve to clean out unwanted items from your home. It’s also a time of year when many people set out to find new jobs or career paths. Thanks to Goodwill, many people can make good on their de-cluttering resolutions this year — and it all centers on donations.

Marion Goodwill has 9 retail locations and 2 Attended Donation Centers that accept donations of clothing and household goods. We also accept donated electronics, computers and furniture. Goodwill then sells those items in its stores, generating revenue to fund job training programs for people with barriers to employment.
In the past year, donations to Marion Goodwill allowed over 3,400 individuals access to career, family and financial services. Our Education and Training Center helped individuals find new jobs thanks to the generosity of Goodwill donors.

“Your donations to Goodwill have a direct, positive impact on the lives of people in your community,” said Kathy Wink, Marketing Director of Marion Goodwill Industries. “By donating just two bags of clothing and a working computer you no longer need, you can help fund eight hours of classes for someone searching for a job. Every donation helps.”
Visit http://www.mariongoodwill.org to find your nearest Goodwill donation center.

How to Age Books with Tea and Tights

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Yes, you read that title right! It turns out that it’s really easy to make thrifted tights into spooky spider webs and for tea to stain the pages of a secondhand book creating the perfect antique appearance. These two projects partnered with our tips for aging the outside of Goodwill books will give your library a complete facelift just in time for Halloween. One thing that I love about creating custom decor from Goodwill finds is that they look more authentic than the plastic props you’ll find in chain stores. The other benefit to updating thrifted purchases is that since Goodwill donations are the beginning of job creation, when you support our stores you’re helping people within your community find employment. So, without further ado, let’s jump into these projects, shall we?

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Project 1: Turning White Tights into a Spider Web

Materials
White tights or nylons
Scissors
A microplane or food grater (optional)

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This project is so incredibly easy that I don’t even think I need to write out the steps! All you need to do is use scissors and/or a microplane/kitchen grater to put runs into the tights. Then with your fingers, stretch the runs so the fabric separates into web-like threads. Keep snipping, grating, and pulling until you like the way your web looks. I found it helpful to have the books I was decorating right nearby as I made the web so I could stretch it into place as I went. Since there’s so much elasticity in tights, it’s really easy to stretch them around items so they stay in place without tape or tacks.

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Project 2: Tea-staining Book Pages

You may have tea-stained paper before, but the process of doing it for bound books is a little different because you can’t bake the pages to dry or completely cover them with tea (that would dampen the binding and make it hard to properly dry every page). Thankfully, the way that books age usually shows a darkening of the page edges while the inner portion stays lighter. This is easy to replicate with tea! Here’s how:

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Materials
A book to age
Two large stacks of books to stabilize the tea-stained book as it dries
A heat-safe dish that is longer than the height of the book
2 cups of boiling water
4 tea bags (not herbal—I used Earl Grey)
A fan
A paintbrush (optional)
A kettle

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Step 1: Put the kettle on to boil the water. While that heats, build two stacks of books with the dish between them. The stacks need to be tall enough that the book can hang from it to dry (scroll down to see the picture of drying if necessary). Set the fan up so it blows on the area between the two stacks.

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Step 2: Place the tea bags into your dish and pour the boiling water over it. Let that steep for ten minutes.

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Step 3: Carefully remove the tea bags and set aside. Open the book holding both covers in one hand so the pages hang down. Dip the long edge of the pages only (not the cover or binding) into the tea. You can dip it in several times or hold it in the tea for a few seconds. Then pull it out of the tea and hold it above the dish for a few moments to let the tea drip off.

Step 4: Turn the book upright over the container and use the paintbrush or a tea bag to brush tea onto the top edges of the pages. Start on the corner that is already tea-stained then brush softly in toward the binding so the tea stain will fade slightly as it gets closer to the spine. Avoid getting the binding and cover wet. Then turn the book again and do this same brushing technique on the bottom edges of the pages.

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Step 5: If your book is still dripping, set it up to dry by placing its front and back covers between the two stacks with the container still underneath. If it’s not dripping, feel free to move the container so the stacks can be moved closer together. Turn on the fan to help the book dry. As it dries, the tea stain will darken.

Step 6: Wait for an hour then turn the book around so the other short side of the pages is closer to the fan.

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Step 7: Wait for a half-hour while that side dries then you can remove your book from the piles and stand it upright with the pages fanned slightly to finish drying. At this point, the edges of every page should be perfectly browned just as an old book is! Each page will also gain a well-read crinkle/warp so they appear to have been leafed through again and again over the years.

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And that’s it! Your spell-binding aged books are ready for display this Halloween season. You could use these to decorate around your candy dish on All Hallows’ Eve or as a centerpiece on your October dining table. We’d love to see your creativity if you decide to try these projects yourself!

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This Earth Day, Save, Shop at and Donate to Goodwill to Help People in Communities

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Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability and job creation makes for a happier planet

Every year, people clean out their closets and homes to start fresh for the spring season. This Earth Day, Marion Goodwill is encouraging people to live more sustainable lifestyles and help people in their local communities find jobs. In addition, people can shop at our Goodwill stores and save while collectively diverting more than three million pounds of items from landfills impacting environmental sustainability. By shopping at and donating to Goodwill, you can people find employment, and build their work skills.

Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of clothing and other goods, and earns revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services and other important social services, such as credentials, job readiness classes, financial education, and more. Donating to Goodwill is a simple way to begin living more sustainably. Last year, college students at more than 55 colleges and universities participated in Goodwill Campus Move-Out donation programs. Students donated what they no longer needed to Goodwill before moving out of their dorms or apartments for the summer. In the process of giving these items a new life and collecting more than 1.1 million pounds of donations, the Goodwill Campus Move-Out programs collectively helped fund more than 26,000 hours of critical job training and placement services for the people in the various communities where the programs took place. Our Goodwill partnered with Ohio Wesleyan University on the move-out donation program.

“Revenue raised through the sale of donated goods creates employment opportunities and important social services to help transform someone’s life. This is all done through the simple act of cleaning out a closet,” said Bob Jordan, President, CEO of Marion Goodwill. “Making a commitment to reduce, reuse and repurpose this Earth Day is as simple as heading to the nearest Goodwill store or donation center.”

Every donation at Goodwill provides on-site training, access to computers for job search assistance, employment placement job training and other community-based services such as career counseling, financial education, industry-recognized credentials, and résumé preparation for anyone facing challenges to finding employment.

Dispelling the “One Person Can’t Make a Difference” Myth

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Public awareness about the value of recycling is at an all-time high, but currently fewer than 35 percent of households and 10 percent of businesses in the United States recycle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sometimes the enormity of a problem, such as massive amounts of waste headed to our landfills, keeps people from taking small steps that could add up to make a big positive change. It’s the “one person can’t make a difference” myth.

November 15 is America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful. This national commemoration is the perfect opportunity to raise public awareness while encouraging action, because every person can make a difference.

Marion Goodwill Industries is a proud supporter of America Recycles Day. Environmental sustainability has been central to Goodwill’s mission since its founding 111 years ago. Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of usable clothing and other goods, and earns revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services and other important social services that benefitted more than 6.7 million people last year alone. In the process, thousands of tons of waste are diverted from landfills.

Goodwill offers this advice for America Recycles Day in hopes that occasional recyclers will become regular recyclers.
1. Make it simple.
2. Make it meaningful.

This model works successfully for Goodwill’s donated goods retail business. We provide easy-to-access donation drop-off points in convenient locations. We demonstrate how donations make a positive impact on the donor and the community: Donations are sold in stores. Store revenues fund job training and career services. People get jobs. Families grow stronger. Communities thrive.

The model can work for recycling as well. Breaking down your efforts into simple steps can help. To start, choose to recycle one item — whether it’s newspaper, aluminum or glass — for six months. After that time period, start recycling a second item that you use regularly until it becomes a habit. You can continue to add to your recycling efforts as they become part of your daily life.

Then, understand that your actions have impact. For example, recycling one aluminum product can save enough energy to allow you to listen to a full music album on an iPod. Recycling 100 cans can light a room for two weeks.

Whether you donate regularly to Goodwill or just recycle your aluminum cans, you help dispel the myth that small acts aren’t important. On America Recycles Day, it’s appropriate to celebrate all the ways we collectively and individually protect the planet.

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