The story of the beach chair — don’t throw it away, give it away

I am writing today’s column while vacationing in Fort Lauderdale. More specifically, I am locked away in the bathroom of our hotel, perched on the side of the bathtub with my computer, trying not to wake my husband. My only goal for doing this bathroom balancing act is to convince you to donate something that you no longer need to someone that would love to have it. Cue the beach chair story.

As my husband drove our rental car from the airport, it occurred to me that because we flew instead of drove, I didn’t have a chair for the beach. My whole plan was to sit on the beach all day and read. Not having a chair makes this difficult.

It seemed so wasteful to buy a chair, and then throw it away after a few days. It then dawned on me — the local Goodwill Stores are bound to be full of beach chairs in this beach town. I could purchase a chair, enjoy it and then donate it back to Goodwill.

When I walked into Goodwill, a friendly woman greeted me. I asked, “Where are your beach chairs?” She replied, “We don’t have any beach chairs.” I was shocked. The store is 20 minutes away from a beach and no one had donated any chairs? I walked the store in disbelief, searching for something that might serve as a substitute. That’s when I saw a single camping chair leaning up against the wall. I made a mad dash for it, and felt victorious as I was carrying it to the cash register. I was now a happy camper, so to speak.

Oh, how I loved that chair every day. It made reading on the beach so much more enjoyable.

When it was time to head back to Dayton, my husband asked what I was going to do with the chair. I hated to part with such a prized procession, but I couldn’t keep it. Looking around the beach and seeing people without chairs, gave me the idea to give it away to one of my fellow beachgoers.

I approached four college-age boys. They looked at me with puzzled faces. I’m sure each one asking themselves, “What does this lady want?” I asked, “Do you need a chair?” They all broke out into large smiles and said things like, “That was so nice of you to ask, and you are so sweet.” Their gratitude made me feel like the nicest lady on the beach! Unfortunately, though, they were also leaving and didn’t need the chair. This scenario played out a few more times with other beachgoers, who were also leaving.

I headed for the beach feeling wonderful since everyone made me feel like the nicest person in the world, but I still had the chair. And then I saw them, a couple walking to the beach. Of course, they would take the chair. They were so appreciative. As I walked away, the man called back, “You rock!”

So dear readers, look around your home. What aren’t you using that a stranger may be thrilled to have? For those of you who donate something after reading my words, to that I say, “You rock!”


“Lose Your Stuff, Find Yourself” is an inspirational guide, helping you begin the journey of organization so you can better manage your life.

Each chapter is filled with practical advice, real-life situations and motivational stories, helping to process the emotional grip clutter has on us.

The book is now available on Amazon.

About the Author