Drowning in empty boxes? This nonprofit's latest move helps you do good — and clear the clutter.

The holiday season can be a bit ... overwhelming. So here are some easy-peasy ways to spread some cheer.

They may not be playing "Frosty the Snowman" on the radio yet, but I'm already starting to feel the chill.

Am I the only one dreading the moment when "Let It Snow!" comes to life? *shudder*


That baby's expression perfectly sums up my feelings about being out in the cold. Photo by U.S. Army/Flickr.

As the holiday season rapidly approaches (when did December get here?), your wallet has probably already started getting thinner ... and thinner.

Luckily, there are some amazing opportunities for you to get into the holiday spirit without doing the "spending more money" or "going outside" thing.

AND no pants required! *\\o/*. Image via iStock.

1. It's a box revolution!

If your apartment looks anything like mine, you've got a growing city of cardboard boxes taking over a corner.

This is actually a selfie. You just can't see me. Because presents. Photo by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

Sure, I did my holiday shopping early, which is great. But that stack of empty boxes from seemingly every website ever gets taller and taller.

No bueno.

Thankfully, there's an amazing service that lets you tackle the discarded-box problem overload all while giving back.

Goodwill teamed up with GiveBackBox.com to create a simple and genius solution:

Step 1: Take those empty boxes, throw in some household goods, clothing, or jewelry you've been meaning to get rid of.

Step 2: Go to GiveBackBox.com and print out a FREE shipping label.

Step 3: Someone will come pick up your package the next day and send your donation for processing!

Brilliant.

Goodbye clutter, helloooo organized closet! And you get an automated tax-deduction receipt, too!

GIF via "Sex and the City."

You get to recycle, get more space, and give back? It's a win-win-win situation!

Want to keep that giving-back high going (but, you know, still stay inside?) I got you:

2. Use this search engine to plant some trees while you're looking up holiday recipes.


Photo by Eleabarjavel/Pixabay.

3. Need to brush up on your vocabulary before those intense holiday party convos? Test yourself and help fight hunger.

Image via iStock.

Yay, Free Rice. Everyone will be so impressed at your vast lexicon!

4. Not feeling like being tested? Support autism research — or many other causes, including DONKEYS! — with a simple click.

I dunno about you, but I'm feeling pretty great that I got to help these cuties today. Photo by lanzeppelin0/Pixabay.

GreaterGood.com has a network of sites dedicated to various causes from hunger to animal welfare to literacy that lets anyone help raise money. Thanks to some generous sponsors, they make their donation to each cause a little bit bigger with each click they get.


5. Don't even want to look at a computer? You can donate your computer's downtime to help scientists do things like cure diseases.

Your computer will never feel lonely again! Photo by josecamoessilva/Flickr.

Projects like Folding@home, BOINC, the World Community Grid, and LHC@home harness unused computer power to help their orgs do tasks like understand proteins, analyze weather cycles, and even cure diseases! That's a pretty great thing to accomplish by doing, you know, nothing.

6. Need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Read a classic book that needs to be turned into an audiobook.

Photo by Darien Library/Flickr.

Use LibriVox to find public domain books you can read out loud while recording yourself. Donate your glorious reading to the site and voila! You just helped made a great literary classic available to folks who have difficulty reading.

7. And if you forgot someone on your list and have to buy a last-minute gift, make your purchase go further with iGive or Amazon Smile.

Photo by Simon/pixabay.

The first time you go to the site, you select the charity of your choice. Then a small percentage of every purchase made through that link is donated! Giving money without expending extra money? Love it.

Thanks to technology, we have more ways than ever to give back to our communities. You don't have to have a big bank account or a full gas tank to drive to the nearest soup kitchen. These small wins add up. Our collective power to change the world — even while we're in our pajamas — is kind of awesome.

So get out there stay right there and start doing some good!

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Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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