Kudos from the Glebe Zero Waste Committee

Donations That Do Good

By Katie Fice

Martha Tobin is thrilled that her new business not only helps clients get rid of clutter, it also helps the environment by turning up a wealth of unwanted items that are recycled for others to use instead of being dumped in a landfill.

“I love that we transform lives for the better every single day,” says Tobin, who started Room2Breathe, her organizing and decluttering business, in July 2020 when COVID-19 steered her to a career change. Never looking back from that decision, she has helped countless clients throughout the National Capital region to reduce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed by helping them organize and declutter their homes.

“I decided to follow a lifelong passion and pursue organizing and decluttering,” she says. “I love it, and it’s been successful since day one.”

Tobin says the Room2Breathe team is sometimes asked just to declutter a basement, kitchen or garage but it’s often contracted to do an entire house. While helping clients get rid of excess things they no longer want or need, Tobin realized there were many wonderful and worthy items that could have a second life with others who could use them. Through this realization, the Donations That Do Good program was born.

The program decreases the waste sent to the landfill and gives back to the community by donating items clients no longer want to local charities. In many cases, clients are more willing to let things go when they realize it can help someone else through the donation program. “We are proudly committed to making a difference in our clients’ lives as well as in the lives of those in need in our community,” says Tobin. Her enthusiasm for her work and the donation program is obvious.

She explained that due to the challenges of finding places and time to drop off donations, unwanted items removed during decluttering would usually be put out on the curb on garbage day. To avoid that waste, the Room2Breathe team pack up their vehicles at the end of the day and take the items on behalf of their clients to local charities that are looking for those specific items (e.g., clothing, dishes, toys, small appliances, etc.) When there are larger items, like furniture, that Tobin’s team cannot handle, they recommend charities that the client can contact for a pickup.

“Our Donations That Do Good program is a win-win for our clients and our community,” says Tobin, “and it’s also a huge win for our planet in that we ensure that these donated items have a second life and are not going into landfills.” The charities that they can currently donate to are the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, Caldwell Family Services, CompuCorps, EcoEquitable, Bruevére, Heartwood House, Salvation Army, Diabetes Canada and Habitat for Humanity.

Tobin loves making connections with charities or other organizations that can use the donated items to raise funds or provide them to those in need. Items collected during a recent day of decluttering were donated to a garage sale for a refugee family. All proceeds went to the family, and unsold items were given to Caldwell Family Services. If you are a charity that needs specific items or you know a way the donations could help others, please reach out to Martha Tobin at martha@room2breathe.ca or 613-868-5197.  To learn more about Room2Breathe and their Donations That Do Good program, check out the website at room2breathe.ca.

If you’ve been making efforts to reduce your waste, we may feature you in a future column. Please send a short paragraph explaining how you are reducing your household or business waste to environment@glebeca.ca, attention Katie.

Katie Fice joined the Glebe Community Association’s Zero Waste Committee (a subcommittee of the Environment Committee) to learn about waste reduction and raise awareness of simple changes in our daily living that have a positive impact on the environment.

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