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NORTHEAST POLK – Home organization is trending.

In recent years, tidying expert Marie Kondo has sold millions of home organization books. Her methods are designed to help folks determine what brings them joy in their lives — and to eliminate what doesn’t.

Spring cleaning dates back hundreds of years, though.

Back in the 1800s, spring cleaning was needed to clean the soot from the interior of the homes whose fireplaces and lamps burned wood or coal. Spring cleaning is also a custom of the Jewish faith and Passover — the cleaning marks the removal of yeast or yeast bread. Persian and Chinese cultures also have traditions of spring cleaning.

For many Americans, this is a time to begin fresh and it starts with homes.

Spring is the time of year that many do a thorough cleaning of their homes, including discarding things that they no longer need or use. To get rid of those items, people will have yard sales, give them to friends or family members, or make donations to local organizations such as thrift shops.

The Four Corners area has numerous places that happily accept donations.

One of the largest is the Lake Wales Care Center. The non-profit has two locations: one in Lake Wales and one in Lake Hamilton.

“The Lake Wales Care Center accepts and appreciates all donations at both of our thrift stores. Any gently used items that you no longer need, please consider donating it to our organization, where it can go to bless another family,” said Mike Morrow, Director of Resource Development. “We utilize the items to help families, churches, schools and other organizations in our communities and the surplus items are placed in our thrift stores for anyone to purchase at very reasonable prices.”

Five locations for donations:

The Care Center, in Lake Hamilton

Donations are accepted during regular business hours: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 pm. The center accepts donations in good condition, except weapons. The Care Center will pick up large items or donations. Proceeds go to help residents with short-term emergency needs, to operate a food bank, to fund 22 transitional living units and a free health clinic. Proof of donations for income tax purposes are provided.

For more information, call 863-439-6000. The center is located at 29696 U.S. 27, in Lake Hamilton.

The Way 2 Shoppe, in Haines City

Donations are accepted Tuesday – Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Please call ahead with large donations. Proceeds go to support The Way, a Faith-based non-profit community agency providing services to families in need or crisis.

For more information, call 863-422-2309, or drop off donations to 20 North 6th Street in Haines City.

Hope Thrift Store, in Davenport

Donations in good condition are accepted seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Clothes are provided to the needy and proceeds from the store are used to fund a food bank.

For more information, call Gilles Fernandez at 863-588-7703. The store is located at 42665 U.S. 27 in Davenport.

Goodwill, in Clermont

Donations are accepted. This location accepts clothing for all ages and occasions, as well as many more items.

For more information, call Goodwill in Clermont at 352-404-7777, or drop off donations to 1855 S Grand Highway, in Clermont.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Thrift Shop, in Haines City

Donations are accepted during business hours: Monday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Proceeds go toward helping the community. Contact St. Mark's Episcopal Church Thrift Shop by visiting 102 N. 9th Street in Haines City, by emailing office@stmarkshc.com, or by calling 863-422-1416.

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There are other thrift stores in the area that need donations.

And remember that, with donations to local organizations, “your donations stay in your community to help your neighbors,” Morrow said.

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