IN THIS POST: Deciding where to donate after you’ve cleared the clutter doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s a list of 18 options for donating your items that will make you feel better about passing them along to someone else.
If you’ve read any of my declutter tips or posts (the most popular are HERE and HERE), you know I’m a massive fan of decluttering. And even more, I recommend donating your stuff AS you’re decluttering.
The more often you donate, the better you feel about not having a mess while clearing the clutter. Plus, as you develop the routine of decluttering and immediately donating, it gets even easier to remove extra items with each pass through your home.
Consider donating the ‘good stuff’ instead of enduring extra work and frustration trying to sell it. Remember this: Your stuff is not ‘too good to donate’ — so let it go and get on with life. This is one of the Mindset Shifts you should make for easier decluttering.
Want to declutter but not sure how to begin? CLICK HERE to grab my Declutter Plan of Action and get started today!
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Before You Donate
Make sure the item is suitable for donation. Please don’t donate dirty, broken, or ‘questionable’ items.
Check to see if your item has been recalled.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
For electronics, check with the donation location to make sure they are accepted.
Research where you plan to donate to be sure it aligns with your personal values. Please note that not all of the options listed in this blog post are charities.
America’s Charities – https://www.charities.org/what-percentage-donations-go-charity
Charity Navigator – https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.alpha
Decide whether or not you wish to claim the donation on your tax return. If so, you will need to do more work. You’ll have to research to see which charities are approved and give tax receipts, as well as inventory and value your donations. Some people find this worthwhile for high-value items.
For the most part, I advise against claiming your donations as tax deductions. It creates a mental connection between the clutter and monetary value. Believe me, it’s MUCH easier to let stuff go if you’re not thinking about money.
Places to Drop Off Decluttered Donations
Goodwill accepts most clothing and household items. If you want to donate items such as computers or mattresses, you should contact your local Goodwill to ask about any restrictions.
(pickup available in some areas)
The Salvation Army is unable to accept items that are damaged, stained, or contain pet hair.
Vietnam Veterans of America
(pickup available in some areas)
Donate almost anything you like – clothing of any kind, shoes and accessories, jewelry, house and glassware, books, toys, bikes, stereos, radios, portable TVs, small electronics, tools of all kinds. This charity is regional, and you should check the website for specific requirements.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
(pickup available in some areas)
ReStores are home improvement stores that accept small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials and more. Search for a location local to you at the link above and contact them for more details.
Also pickup in these areas:
In Greater Chicago, IL, call 855-968-3662 or visit www.donateillinois.org
In Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, call 888-322-8209 or visit www.donatenewengland.org
Check here to search for other charities that may pick up in your area:
Most public schools are desperate for donations of school supplies. They do prefer new and unopened supplies, which you may have if you tend to overbuy during back-to-school sales. Individual teachers often appreciate donations of miscellaneous craft supplies, fun stickers and pencils, etc.
Some elementary schools also appreciate donations of new and very gently used backpacks, books, clothing, shoes, costumes for dress-up, and winter wear. Storage can be an issue, so please call your local school to check whether or not they currently accept donations.
Churches are often hubs of the community with several outreach programs that are not necessarily faith-specific. Even if you don’t attend, know that your donations of appropriate items are appreciated. Most churches have a contact number where you can find out what types of donations they currently accept.
Shelters and Missions
Look up your local shelters and contact them. Needs vary, but I’ve often heard them request travel-size toiletries, clothing, and bedding.
Many community centers operate on very little money. They often accept donations of all kinds, from used sports equipment to clothing to art supplies. What they don’t use, they usually sell or pass along to those who need the items.
Books! Although it sounds a little silly, public libraries usually cannot accept your book donations to place on their shelves for borrowing. There are normally very strict rules and regulations for obtaining books for circulation. However, many libraries have regular book sales to supplement their meager operational funding. The more books they have to sell, the more services they can offer to the community. Win-win.
Well, obviously food pantries need food. And I would ask that you please not donate damaged or expired items. But if you’re doing a deep declutter, then you will likely end up with several things from your pantry that you know you won’t use. It would be entirely appropriate to pass those things along to a food pantry after checking to ensure your items meet their requirements.
Soles 4 Souls
Donate new or used shoes. They have dropoff locations, or you can get a free shipping label from Zappos.com – https://www.zappos.com/about/zapposforgood/give – to drop off at any UPS store.
Donate any brand of used athletic shoes (except cleats or spikes). Nike recycles the shoes into their Nike Grind – https://www.nikegrind.com – materials. Note: This is NOT a charity, as Nike does not donate the recycled product. However, it does keep some materials out of landfills.
Animal Humane Society
Some — though not all — local animal shelters may also accept used-but-clean sheets. Give them a call and they will let you know what they can and cannot accept.
S.A.F.E. — Stuffed Animals For Emergencies
S.A.F.E. accepts donations of new and gently used stuffed animals, blankets, and books. At the time the article is being written, there are only four locations in the United States. Check here to see if there are any near you or to volunteer: S.A.F.E. Chapters.
Women’s Professional Clothing
Dress for Success
Most affiliate locations accept nearly new, contemporary, seasonal career appropriate apparel, accessories, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. The website states they are always in need of very small sizes, 00-2, and plus sizes, 14 and above.
Men’s Professional Clothing
The website is a little clunky. This does not appear to be a national organization, but you can ship your donations to the main office in New York City. It will take a bit of internet searching to discover whether there are any donation points local to you.
Many communities have Lions-sponsored collection boxes for usable eyewear. Or, you can package and mail them. (Details in the link above.) Lions volunteers sort, clean, and distribute the glasses to people in need. Just a note: I have personally seen the results of this program in my small community, and it’s pretty fantastic.
Secure the Call
Secure the Call provides free 911 emergency-only cell phones to Domestic Violence Centers, Senior Citizen Centers, Police and Sheriff departments. All information is wiped from donated phones before they are distributed.
More places to donate phones: The Best Places to Donate Your Used Phone — Flipsy.com
Now that you know WHERE to donate, get motivated and grab this plan for how to declutter — you could be dropping off your first box of donations by tomorrow!
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