Archive for charity

How to organize a Little Free Pantry

You may have heard of little free libraries.  They are cupboards mounted around neighbourhoods where you can donate a book and take a book, for free.  This Thanksgiving my niece introduced me to the Little Free Pantry in her neighbourhood.

Community Fridges have been around for several years, beginning in Germany and Sweden in 2012 and now several exist in many countries and across Canada including one in Hamilton and eight in Toronto.

Giving opportunity

My niece asked everyone in the family to bring canned or boxed goods or baby food and diapers to our Thanksgiving meal.  She collected them and is putting them in The Little Free Pantry as items are taken to help restock the cupboard. I was honoured to be asked to contribute to this project. The pantry is there for anyone to take some food or donate food to help everyone have better food security.   “Take what you need, leave what you can”, is their tagline.   Why are they doing this, to “build a better community by fighting hunger today.”

A wooden cupboard with four shelves filled with food having a glass door mounted on a wooden stand

519 community collective 

This project sprung up out of Covid. The founder is Julie Sawatzky.

They are one of many groups working together to fill gaps for seniors, single parents and families who are living in shelters or transitional living by providing emergency aid and essentials to create a better and more stable tomorrow.

The 519 Community Collective has 12 programs including a community fridge nourish kitchen, 2 urban gardens, 23 little free food pantries installed across the region, an assortment of emergency food programs, and more.

Lincoln County Community Fridge 

Down the road from where I live is another food pantry project.  On July 5, 2021, the Lincoln County Humane Society launched the Lincoln County Community Fridge at its animal shelter in St. Catharines, Ontario.

A large cupboard sitting on the side walk to take donations of food.

What is a Community Fridge?

This is how they describe their program.  “Our fridge, like others, is a place where anyone who needs food can come to our Community Fridge and take what they need.  We have a large, double glass doored fridge in a new room we built, out of a former cat gazebo. The insulated room is also equipped with 2 pantries to hold dry goods and some limited amounts of toiletries and hygiene products.

A fridge holding food donations

As I walk around my community I love seeing the many ways people are sharing to make their community better for everyone.

Tell me about sharing projects in your community.  

Julie Stobbe, professional organizerJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space


Share this:

Organize your clutter free gift giving list

There are many considerations when trying to purchase the perfect present. Sometimes the person has everything.  Some people may feel that they have enough stuff and they don’t want to have to decide how to store more items. Some people feel that they need to keep everything they are given whether they need it or like it or can use it. They are afraid of hurting the giver’s feelings.  It may feel like an impossible mission.  Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs

Give tickets to an event

Sporting, theatre, art gallery exhibit, musical event.  Most of these types of events have virtual performances.  Give them tickets so it won’t be a gift card that they file or lose.  Most performances will allow tickets to be exchanged for a different date.  You can support your local community by purchasing tickets to a little theatre production, concerts.  Give them the gift of entertainment.

Rent a sports venue

In some places, this will not be possible this year.  It can be an hour of ice time, indoor soccer, indoor tennis and indoor golf.  This type of gift usually gets people together to socialize and be active.  It is a gift of physical and emotional health.

Give an experience as a gift then there is nothing to store Click To Tweet


You can give lessons to a person.  Art lessons, wine tasting, golfing, home improvement, music, craft, beading, the ideas are limitless.  Many lessons are delivered virtually.  Goggle virtual _______lessons.  You fill in the blank  It can be one lesson or a group of lessons. You can do it as a group or the person can do it solo.  Give the gift of a new experience.


Give a gift of a meal, prepared by you for them on a mutually agreed date.  You may want to give them a batch of muffins every month or whatever their favourite food is.  People enjoy receiving homemade Christmas cookies or a fruit plate.  You can go on line and search COOKIES in a Jar.  The recipient of the cookie mix adds water or milk and bakes the cookies. Give the gift of sharing your time with others.

A Service

Someone may enjoy being relieved of performing a tedious job.  Arrange for a cleaning service, car detailing, professional organizer, snow removal, lawn care.  Give them the gift of time for themselves.

Professional Organizing Services


There are many charities that can benefit from donations.  Select a charity and make a donation in the name of the person.    Look at one aspect of the person’s life and try to find a charity that represents their interests. Give them the gift of generosity.

Give the gift of Fun

One year a we rented a hot tub for a week . Another year I bought rocket kits for everyone, we built the kits and shot off the rockets.   Easy enough to do with social distancing.

Give the gift of memories

This year may be the perfect time to collect family photos and make a calendar.  There are many online sites you can use to make the calendar.  At the end of the year, you can let it go and make a new one.  Give them the gift that keeps on giving.

Here are a few gifts that are clutter-free, personal and thoughtful and the ideas are endless.  Don’t let Covid stop you from creatively finding the gift you want to give safely.

Share your idea in the comments

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

Share this:

Recycling and Donating

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Recycling and Donating

OES Ontario Electronic Stewardship

If you are looking for locations to recycle your computers, TV, printers, fax machines, etc., this website will help you find a location near you.

Highlight Consumer/Retailers then click on Recycle your electronic

Go to the bottom of the page and type in the name of your city in Ontario and it will give you a list of locations


If you have books you would like to donate, libraries and used bookstores may take them.  There is a new organization that is able to put books into prisons.  It is call Books to Bars.  It is dedicated to promoting literacy, creativity and functionality in correctional facilities.


Clothing can be donated to women’s shelter as well as Salvation Army, Value Village, New Horizons Store on James St, Hamilton ON. There is a children’s store that is called Once Apon a Child and a teen and young adult store called Plato located at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington ON.  They are not consignment stores.  You bring in your clothes and they buy it (what they want) on the spot and give you the money right away.

Building Supplies

Habitat for Humanity Restores will take building supplies.  Call ahead to see if they need the items that you wish to donate.

Antique Stores

Some antique stores will take window frames, furniture etc.  I have an artist that is looking for  antique items to use in her craft business.  Contact

Decore on a Dime

This store is located in Hamilton, ON and will take some stylish home furnishings on consignment.

Orange Drop

Check out this website to learn locations to drop off your corrosive, flammable, explosive and toxic items.

Single Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off with your electronics but they will not take single use batteries.  Try contacting your local stores to see if they are a collection depot for single use batteries.



Please go to  and click on the links page for more ideas about recycling and donating good used items.  If you have and questions or other great recycling and donating ideas click on the contact page, I’d love to hear from you.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Share this:

Some Donations go to Charity and Some Don’t

CBC has a great article about how companies help charities and are able to make a profit for their business.  Click the link to learn more about the business of donations.

What is your favourite place to donate to?
Share this:
On-line Lifestyle Organizing Coaching leading professionals From Clutter to Freedom
Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area