Tips for De-Cluttering

a cluttered up closet full of coats, clothes, tools and other personal effects

Spring Cleaning? How About Spring Decluttering?

Even while City Mission takes precautionary measures by limiting volunteer activities to protect our residents you can still help us right from your home! The following article is taken from the Washington Post with some good advice on de-cluttering and what to do with your stuff!

By   Nicole Anzia

Spring is only a week away, and as the temperature warms, many people are motivated to embark on annual spring-cleaning rituals.  After several months of living with doors and windows closed, both dust and possessions have accumulated in our homes, and now is the perfect time to try to reduce both.  Along with the typical spring-cleaning tasks, such as having rugs and draperies cleaned, laundering mattress covers and pillows, and clearing out unwanted items from closets, you might also consider the following clutter culprits as prime targets for removal during your cleanup.

Vases

Everyone should have a handful of vases in different sizes in their home, especially in the spring when flowers can be cut from the garden and brought inside.  But you do not need two dozen large and almost identical vases taking up valuable storage space.  People often underestimate the number of vases they have tucked away.  Start by gathering all of them so you have an accurate inventory, and then decide which to discard.  Vases can be recycled or donated. Many flower shops are happy to accept vases so they can reuse them.  Also, many community-based organizations that deliver flowers to people in hospitals and nursing homes will accept vase donations.  Thrift stores are also good choices for donations.  A quick search online should give you plenty of options.

Hangers

Hangers seem to multiply in people’s closets.  Most closets have a random collection of wire hangers from the dry cleaner, plastic hangers from store purchases, inherited wooden hangers and an assortment of brightly colored plastic tubular hangers.  Keep a few extra hangers, and return excess wire hangers to your dry cleaner for reuse.  All other types of hangers can typically be donated to a thrift store that sells secondhand clothing or to an organization that helps people in need.  Call first to make sure they need your donation before you show up with 100 hangers.  Although it’s not imperative to only use one or two types of hangers in your closet, it will make your clothes easier to see if everything is hanging at a uniform height.

Tools

A lot of us have tools and other hardware supplies in our basements or garages that we have never used.  Either someone gave them to us, or we bought them for a project and never touched them again. In some cases, the previous owner just left them.

Old towels, linens

Towels and linens in good condition can be donated to homeless shelters and transitional-housing organizations or thrift stores. Worn-out or torn linens and sheets can be made into rags or donated to an animal shelter. It’s always a good idea to keep some old linens on hand in case of a plumbing issue or if water accidentally seeps into your basement.

Paint (City Mission does not take paint)

You do not need to keep every can of paint you have ever used. Yes, it’s useful to keep some paint in case walls need to be touched up (and it’s a good idea to have a list of your colors and finishes), but keeping more than 10 cans of paint is probably unnecessary. Leftover paint that has been opened, closed tightly and stored in a cool, dry place should be used within two years. If you have older paint, there are many disposal options that depend on the paint type. Water-based, latex paint can be dried out at home and put in regular household trash. Small amounts of paint will dry if you simply leave the lid off, but larger amounts require combining the unused paint with absorbent materials such as cat litter or sand. You can also buy paint hardener at a hardware store. Oil-based paint is considered household hazardous waste (HHW) and should never be thrown in the trash, even if it is dry. Instead, take oil-based paints to your local HHW facility for proper disposal.  District residents can take old paint to the Department of Public Works’s Fort Totten Transfer Station; to find a location nearer to you, check your local jurisdiction’s website.

Almost everything in your house that you would like to get rid of can be reused, recycled or donated.  It just takes a little bit of research and time to find a recipient and to drop off the items.  Doing some de-cluttering each month will keep you motivated to do more and will save you a lot of time in the future.

You can drop off your items at any one of our seven City Mission Thrift Store locations.

Thank you for giving!

March 16, 2020
Dean Gartland - President/CEO
Dean Gartland
President/CEO
Dean is more than the voice and the face of the mission even though you will hear his voice often on local radio stations and see his quotes and interviews in local papers. His longtime career in gospel rescue missions gives him extensive knowledge that he willingly shares.
dgartland@citymission.org

Recent Articles

Common Ailments Among the Homeless

Hope for the Homeless
September 30, 2021

The homeless population in Pennsylvania is recorded to be over 13,000 people. This includes families, veterans, young adults (aged 18 to 24), and those experiencing chronic homelessness. These are people who may be experiencing problems like lack of affordable housing and poverty, among other things. This is a serious problem, but you can help. Homelessness also brings about serious consequences to overall health and well-being. And as it is very likely that those who are experiencing homelessness would not be able to afford healthcare, the smallest gestures and assistance can go a long way. As Director of Residential Programs Leah Dietrich explains, "One of the largest challenges is access. Homeless individuals are often transient and can't consistently access healthcare and mental health treatment. It takes time and resources like insurance and transportation. Many times, individuals will feel they have no options beyond emergency care, which doesn't allow for underlying concerns to be addressed as would be covered in a PCP or counseling appointment." One way you can help is by learning about the pervasive health issues among the homeless and understanding what you can do. Common Ailments It is very common for people experiencing homelessness to fall ill as they are exposed to increased stress, have unstable sources for food, and stay in unsanitary living conditions – all with limited access to healthcare. Here are the common ailments for those experiencing homelessness: Wounds and Skin Infections This can happen to people who have no homes because they are often outdoors and exposed to the elements. In turn, this leaves them vulnerable to wounds which can lead to infections if not cleaned and treated properly. Malnutrition When someone is homeless, they might not have a steady source of food. This can lead to them not eating enough or having access to food with enough nutrients to keep them healthy. That is why they are more susceptible to malnutrition. This problem can lead to more (chronic) health issues, such as liver disease, heart disease, and secondary malnutrition in the long run if not addressed. Hepatitis People experiencing homelessness who contract hepatitis tend to struggle to get the right treatment. "Hepatitis C cases occur consistently in our population. Lack of access to testing can often lead to positive cases going untreated. Individuals with hepatitis C can develop cirrhosis or scarring of the liver over time. As a part of our intake, we screen for Hepatitis C and connect anyone with a positive test to Central Outreach for treatment. This partnership also provides us with the testing supplies for HIB testing," Dietrich says. The CDC also recommends greater access to vaccines to control hepatitis from spreading. Mental Health Problems Homelessness can also cause extreme stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression. These are serious mental conditions that, if not tended to, can cause physical manifestations. Another way mental health struggles are apparent in those who experience homelessness is when substance abuse enters the equation. Dietrich explained how addiction can develop in our residents: "Self-medication often occurs unintentionally as substances seem to take pain away or give a leveling-out effect, and then the addiction takes off. Other times, our residents are introduced to medications that become habit-forming after surgery, and then the addiction grows." In many cases, seeking psychiatric care might be difficult due to reasons like cost, stigma, and inaccessibility. How You Can Help Give Donations Community lawyer Diane O'Connell says that donations allow the homeless to maintain their autonomy, and that providing them with living essentials preserves their dignity. Because people experiencing homelessness often lack a steady source of income, they may not be able to acquire essentials like food, clothes, or medicine. Being able to supply these basic needs may be able to tide them through tough times. These donations may seem like a simple act, but they make a huge difference, especially since the transportation to acquire such resources may be difficult to find. Connect them to a Medical Professional Being able to give medical care to the homeless is another way you can assist them. Though healthcare can be expensive, some places and people offer their services pro bono or at discounted rates. There are many resources on the internet to be able to find these services too. Most people who experience homelessness can have access to the internet via community resources such as libraries, shelters, and charities. They can go online and contact these health professionals found by you. Online, they can consult with nurses with doctorate degrees who are specially trained in advanced medical issues. More importantly, these nurses have adequate public health experience, so they not only treat ailments at a surface level but also address the health implications of homelessness. Similarly, they can also consult with a charity physician if their sickness requires more complicated treatments like surgery. In order to help them, you will have to set up the online meeting and guide them through it. But by simply giving them the chance to speak to a medical professional you will be offering a great service. Specifically, people who are homeless can get in touch with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). Dietrich highlights how these centers are "federally funded to allow for an access point for the uninsured and underinsured in the community. They serve as a bridge from homelessness and other underserved individuals to the health care system. Because of the transient nature of the homeless, medical providers can become frustrated with the lack of follow-up from the patient, but FQHCs and their providers are more flexible and understanding. Our relationship with Centerville Clinics has allowed our residents to build their comfort with medical providers and discover and address underlying conditions in a safe environment." Doing Volunteer Work If you are looking for ways to be proactive in helping those who are homeless, volunteering is a great way to do so. You can volunteer for organizations like City Mission whose main goal is to care for homeless people as they aim to make a real difference in their lives. These organizations may do different things like offer shelter, have soup kitchens, and hold fundraisers intended to help those in need. By joining, you can assist them in these charitable efforts and initiatives in your community. Helping out those who are affected by homelessness is extremely important and necessary. These are people whose circumstances may be dire and the little bit of assistance you give can go a long way. Written exclusively for citymission.org Written by Jessie Calix

"A Firm Place to Stand"

City Mission Chief Operating Officer, Brian Johansson
September 15, 2021

On Monday at City Mission’s weekly chapel service, Chief Operating Officer, Brian Johansson, paid tribute to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center first by honoring the veterans in our residential program who have faithfully served to protect our nation and then by telling the story of his own personal encounters in New York City on that day. On September 11, 2001, Johansson was the Director of the Bowery Mission, the third oldest Christian rescue mission in the US, just 10 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. He was commuting to work that day, but the subways stopped running, all the bridges into the city shut down, and the traffic backed up for miles. Determined to help during the crisis, he found a place to park his car, and he walked over the 59th Street Bridge from Queens into the city while most New Yorkers were scrambling to get out. It took him nearly 4 hours to walk to work through all the chaos in the aftermath of the attack. When he finally made it to the Bowery that day, there were 50 people, covered in dirt, praying and crying inside the Mission’s historic chapel. He and the staff at the Bowery Mission ministered to and prayed with the victims, survivors, and the loved ones of those who were lost. Johansson, a native New Yorker, grew up the son of a pastor in a blue-collar neighborhood, playing stickball in the street with his friends. “We played stickball games where the manhole cover was first base,” he said, recalling those times in his life for the Mission’s residents and staff. “The Twin Towers were part of my childhood,” he added. “I saw them every day.” Many of those friends he played stickball with grew up to be New York City policemen and fire fighters who have their own firsthand accounts of that day. But Johansson’s story is a little different. He dreamed of becoming a New York City police officer, and after college, he even applied for entrance into the academy, but around that same time, he and his wife, Peggy, began to feel a calling to help the homeless. Every Wednesday, they would pack up some food and drive around New York City ministering to the street homeless. “In 1992, I got a letter of acceptance into the police academy – something I had been dreaming about ever since I was a kid,” Johansson remembered. But that very same week, he also received a letter from the Bowery Mission asking him to be the Director of their Transitional Center, which offers transitional housing for men who have graduated the Mission’s residential recovery program. After much prayer and soul-searching, he decided to follow God’s calling to serve the homeless at the Bowery Mission. By September of 2001, he had been promoted to the Director of the Bowery Mission, the position he held at the time of the attacks. In addition to his duties as the Director of the Mission, Johansson also volunteered as a New York state chaplain, a role he performed for 15 years. As a chaplain, he helped at both Ground Zero and the Park Avenue Armory. At the Armory, he prayed with families who desperately waited for news of their missing loved ones as the search for victims continued. Johansson recalled the despair and confusion of those days just after the attack. “Where there once was a straight and square building, there was now nothing but chaos and rubble. When you were standing at Ground Zero, you couldn’t tell east from west or north from south or up from down.” But he also remembered a message of hope from Psalm 40 that helped bring peace to many grieving families in the midst of all that chaos and suffering. “I cried out to the Lord, and He heard my cry. He lifted me out of the miry pit and set my feet on a rock. He gave me a firm place to stand.” And he encouraged the staff and residents of City Mission with that same passage. “We’ve all had little 9/11’s in our own lives,” he said. “We’ve all had tragedies, challenges, difficulties – whether it’s losing a loved one or struggling with addiction. We’ve all had something. Our response in those situations must be to draw nearer to God. It’s an opportunity for us to come to know Him more deeply. Don’t miss that opportunity.” “You may be in the midst of it right now,” he added. “You can’t tell left from right or up from down. The glass is broken all around. The beams are melting. Your world is turned upside-down. But if you just cry out to God. He will hear your prayer.” There are men, women, children, and veterans at City Mission right now who are hurting. Find out what you can do to help them today at www.citymission.org.