If you are an avid reader of this blog, you’re probably already familiar with the challenge I’ve given myself for the month of August, but if not, welcome, and you may want to go read this post and this post before you continue. I will say I’m having to get a little more creative with some of these ideas, and this week was a little overwhelming in other ways, so while I’m still enjoying this challenge, it was harder to remember (hence why I forgot on day 12) and follow through.
Day 7: Homemade Dog Toys
So a while back, right around the time everything happened with my parents actually, I wore through a pair of my jeans (#thickthighprobs), and I wasn’t really sure what to do the jeans. Obviously they were ruined, so I couldn’t really continue wearing them, but I also couldn’t donate them. I thought about trying to do some sort of textile recycling program, but I didn’t really know a lot about that and felt overwhelmed by that idea. So they sat in my closet for months, but when I got it in my head that I wanted to do this, I thought it would be cool to make something out of the jeans. After a little Pinterest research, I found a very simple braided jeans DIY for dog toys, and I thought it would be perfect to donate to our local animal shelter. (Note: I did call to make sure they were still taking donations and would take dog toys.)
I would consider this activity free because I had already bought the jeans a long time ago, and they had gotten more than their fair share of wear. It did take a decent amount of time, but honestly, not as much as I thought it would. I ended up using my pair of jeans and a pair of jeans that Ron had that had a lot of paint splatters on them, and to make six rope pulls out of those two pairs of jeans probably took me about an hour to maybe an hour and a half to do. Also, if you’re not super crafty, don’t worry, this was super easy to do! Your cuts don’t have to be super straight, and as long as you know how to tie a knot and do a simple braid, you can do this. Full disclosure, I made this on the seventh day, but didn’t actually donate them to the animal shelter until day 13.
Day 8: Goodies to Outdoor Workers
This was one that made me get out of my comfort zone a little, even though I was really excited about it. The basic idea was that I would give a bottle of water (we have some either from stuff people gave us after my parents died or a panic trip to the store when quarantine started and we always used our reusable bottles) and a snack to the people whose job it is round up the carts at the big Walmart in our town. It has been ridiculously hot for what seems like forever, and I know that is not an ideal job even on a decent day. What made it a little uncomfortable for me was that I had to approach the worker up close and personal, whereas things like the thank you note and the chalk messages, I was able to do sort of anonymously. Ron came with me for this one, and we both walked up to give the guy the water and snack, which made me feel a little more comfortable. The man’s reaction to us giving him something so small and simple was all worth it though. He said thank you multiple times and told us that we were “sweet” after we had started walking away. It was clear that he really appreciated it, and so we decided to do the same thing to the cashiers that have to work in the garden center at the Lowe’s nearby too.
I counted this day/act as free because we already had all the supplies on hand, but if you did decide to do it, it would still be one of the cheaper options. It also didn’t take us much time to do because all we had to was drive to the Walmart and hand over the stuff and we were done. It definitely wasn’t the quickest, easiest option of anything I’ve done so far, but it much less time consuming that some of the other things like the trash pick-up or making the dog toys. And while I did have to step outside of my comfort zone and approach the people face-to-face (wearing a mask of course) that I was doing the act of kindness for, that meant I got to see their reaction, and let me tell you, that was pretty cool. This is definitely something I would recommend if you’re looking for something you can do and get your kids involved to show them the importance of kind acts and the impact they can have on the world around us.
Day 9: Domestic Violence Donation
This was one of those ideas I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to do. Since this day happened to fall on August 9, which was the six month anniversary of my mother’s murder, I knew that I wanted to do something in honor of her and everything that happened. For me, it felt like an obvious choice to make a donation to Ruth’s Cottage, a local women’s shelter in my area that provides housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, services to sexual assault victims, services for victims of child abuse, and valuable education on all three topics, and use a good deal of the money that I had budgeted for this challenge to do that.
I spent $50 on this day/act to make this donation, spending a third of my initial budget, but it was more than worth it. If it can go toward saving even one life, it’s worth it. And while this act was not time consuming, it was also not simple. It was honestly a difficult day for me to get through, and I wished that I could do more that make what felt like such a small donation.
Day 10: Inspirational Notes for Coworkers
With this challenge, I am trying to reach all of those close to me in some way, and I did this act as a way of trying to brighten up a Monday morning for my co-workers. Technically I actually did the work for this the day before, on day 9 (which was a Sunday), so that my co-workers could come in and see it on day 10, but I just took sticky notes and wrote a personalized message for each individual co-worker’s desk/computer area. I then also wrote other little inspiring notes that I stuck in random but visible places around the office like “Today is a good day to have a good day,” on the coffee maker or “You’re doing a great job” on the copier.
This act was free, and going into it I thought it would be fairly easy and quick. And don’t get me wrong, it definitely wasn’t on the level of the trash pick-up, but it also wasn’t quite as easy and quick as I thought it would be. Firstly, it was hard to come up with messages for everyone’s desk/computer area that didn’t all just say “Have a great day,” and I had to go deeper into Pinterest than I thought I would to have to find some suggestions. The problem was a lot of the things that pulled up on Pinterest were more related to teachers leaving notes for their students, which is awesome, but not really the same sorts of messages I was going for. Also, while there are only six other people in my office, our offices are sort of spread out from where I had all my sticky notes and Pinterest search set up, so I kept having to do a lot of walking back and forth (which was good for me!). Then, I added on the idea of putting other sticky notes in random places sort of last minute, so I had to come up with things to put on them and think of places I could put them where everyone would see and they wouldn’t fall off easily. Overall though, I think my co-workers really appreciated it, and it made a Monday morning a little less depressing.
Day 11: Nurse Care Package
Both of my sisters (and my sister-in-law) are nurses, so this was a nurse/sister care package. My oldest sister has been working in an ICU through all of this, and while she hasn’t had to work with COVID patients the entire time from what she’s told me, she’s definitely had to in the past, and even more recently because of spikes in Florida where she lives. This on top of everything we all went through earlier this year does not make for an ideal situation, so I thought it would be good to try and send her some essential pandemic supplies that would be useful but also brighten her day a little. I sent a N-95 mask, some hand sanitizer, and Red Bulls (and believe me, those are essential in her book).
So obviously this one was not free. I paid about $10 for the energy drinks, and I already had the mask and hand sanitizer. I was not anticipating that the cost to ship all of this would be as much as it was (about $15), and so I honestly had not budgeted for that. However, some of the other things I had planned to spend a little bit of money on later this month aren’t working out as well as I wanted, so it may all shake out in the end. This also didn’t take a ton of time, although again, full disclosure, I didn’t actually mail this off until Friday. I bought everything for this on day 11 though, but it was just a tough week.
Day 12 (sort of): Linens to Animal Shelter
This was the day that I totally forgot to do my act of kindness in general, and by the time I remember, the animal shelter was already closed. So I have it listed as day 12 because that’s when it was supposed to happen, but I actually did it on day 13. For this all I did was donate some old towels of ours, this padded material that keeps coming in our Misfits Market box, and some tablecloths from work that have an old brand name on them for the shelter to use as bedding for the animals.
Again, I’m counting this as free because I didn’t go out and buy any towels, and to me this is a great way to “reuse” your old items because you know that you’re truly finding a home for them, rather than throwing them away or even donating them to a large donation center like Goodwill where they may end up in the trash anyway or shipped off to a third world country where they can disrupt their local economy. This also didn’t take a lot of time. I knew that I wanted to donate all of this stuff, so I had kind of already gathered it up together. Then on this day after work, I just went by the animal shelter instead of going straight home, so pretty easy. I also took this opportunity to drop off the homemade dog toys I made out of the old jeans (another great way to “reuse”).
Day 13: Goodies for Postal Worker
This is honestly very similar to what I did on day 8 (I told you it’s getting harder to be creative!), but I basically just left a couple bottles of water and some little snack bars out on our apartment complex mailbox with a note for the postal worker. I thanked them for all the work they do and told them I just wanted to leave them a little something on a hot day as a thank you.
This was very simple and easy, and if you are still wanting anonymity or a little bit of distance with something like this, but like the idea of water and a treat on a hot day, this is a good alternative to the act I did on day 8. Same as that day, I am counting this as free in my book because I already had the supplies on hand, but if you decide to do it on your own and have to spend that money, it is still one of the cheaper routes.