Maven Moment: Have Extra Stuff? Bring It to Work

Sometimes, when I was cleaning or decluttering, I found multiples of the same type of item. This might be anything from umbrellas to reusable takeout food containers to pens and note pads. What to do with the extras? Mom’s answer was simple and smart: “Bring it to work!” After all, someone might be able to use it.

This practice has served me very well over the years. Take umbrellas, for example. I have found that keeping an extra umbrella or two in my locker at work comes in handy for me or a coworker when there’s an unexpected rainstorm. Even an umbrella that is broken on one side can provide enough protection for a mad dash to the car or subway.

Although I seldom eat takeout food now, I had an accumulation of cleaned-out takeout containers in my kitchen cabinet — more than I could use. I brought them to work where we often have catered meetings and there are always leftovers. Now, instead of wasting the uneaten food, any of my coworkers can easily take some home.

Also, those little packets of condiments that come with a takeout meal (did I forget to tell the restaurant I didn’t want them?) can be placed in the company fridge — maybe someone else can use them.

Recently, I cleaned out my stationery drawer and found more than 19 pens. I brought most of them to work, and they all got used! As did the sticky note pads that my mom got from Catholic Charities. I got more space in my drawer and passed on useful items I wasn’t using to my coworkers — win-win!

Other extra items that my coworkers and I exchange include the calendars my friend gets from nonprofits she donates to — I always appreciate a new one. I exchange plants with a coworker who is an avid gardener like me, and I pass along my magazines to a lady who loves to read.

On the way to work, you might realize that some of these extras could come in handy in your car. Maybe you need a pen and notepad in the car to jot something down. Or it might suddenly start raining and you need an extra umbrella. Even broken items can be useful: a broom with a broken handle is a great tool for pushing snow off of the car in the winter.

Sure, you can try to find organizations that will take your extra items. But why not opt for a simple solution that’s right under your nose? And this option does not require any extra driving or more time than it takes to get to work.

So do as Mom would say, “Bring it to work”!

Feature image: Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels

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Joanna Lacey
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