Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire,” the novelist Wendell Berry once wrote. Although most of us aren’t considering lighting a match, many of us have possessions which no longer enhance our lives. Rather than spending the next decade postponing a decision about what to do with them, wouldn’t it be better to let them go now, especially if it means changing someone else’s life for the better?
The Allen Graham Foundation is one such charity based in Mallorca which would benefit from your clear-out. The proceeds from their two shops are destined to support the many children who have had a tragic start in life. Funding a safe home for young people who can no longer remain at the family’s home is just one of the challenges faced by this compassionate organisation.
While their Cas Català shop is a small treasure trove, the Allen Graham Foundation shop in Puerto Pollensa has plenty more room to display goods. They accept furniture as well as bric-a-brac, books, clothes and toys. What they aren’t, is a junkyard. “You’d be amazed how many people give us furniture with woodworm,” director Rosemary Stone tells me. If you’d be too embarrassed to give it to a friend, then don’t donate it to them either!
Fundació Deixalles may be the answer when it comes to less than perfect goods. The remarkable charity employs those at risk of social exclusion and promotes sustainable living at their dynamic refuse collection centres across the island. Like the Allen Graham Foundation, they offer free collection of goods. They then select the best items for their Palma-based shops in Calle Blanquerna and Plaza Madrid, and the rest they repair, customise or recycle. For the environmentally conscious among us, knowing an item will be getting a new lease of life is seriously satisfying.
Perhaps there are other great causes you’d like to raise money for, or projects of a personal nature which you’ve been putting off. Wallapop, Spain’s answer to Gumtree, is an easy-to-use app which allows you to advertise goods for sale to cash buyers on the island, who will be more than happy to pop over and collect.
If you find yourself hesitating whether to give something away, then consider the advice of William Morris, the 19th-century textile designer and poet, who wrote: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” The wonderful thing is, since we’re all different, there’s a good chance that someone else might find whatever it is both useful and beautiful – and be very happy to have found it! And who doesn’t love a happy ending?