Family

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!

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

Keep Reading Show less