Philanthropic Friday: Declutter for Good
Frugal by nature, I use coupons and shop at Goodwill so having a yard sale for the things we no longer need is a nice way to get back a little extra money.
For the past few summers, I’ve planned to have a yard sale. We have accumulated stuff of all types including clothes the kids have outgrown, clothes that I’ve grown tired of, toys that are no longer worthy of the kids attention and all kinds of other knick-knacks.
But when I say I have *planned* to have a sale, I use that word loosely. As in, “Hey, we need to have a sale this summer” then nothing else. We have been perpetually busy traveling or running the kids places. Trips to New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Origins Game Fair and Gen Con took priority along with a variety of other adventures.
The stuff (AKA junk and a few other terms I won’t use on this site) has continued to pile up and it’s starting to drive me crazy. Despite efforts to find ways to organize, even nicely stored in boxes, it takes up a lot of room. There comes a point in time when it’s better to get rid of it than to let it take up space in the home and mind. So Scott made the executive decision to donate it. We’re going through it in pieces so it isn’t overwhelming, selling high value items online and taking the rest to different charitable organizations. Here are some ideas on where you can donate what you no longer need or want.
Clothing, housewares, personal care items
Battered women shelters
Family resources – unlike many other places, they’ll accept donations of stuffed animals.
Pregnancy crisis centers
Colleges – Local schools often seek professional dress clothes and accessories to assist needy students in their job pursuits.
Student drives – Our local high schools and junior high schools run annual charity drives, primarily around the winter months when coats, hats and mittens are needed.
Bedding materials, towels
Animal shelters – They are always in need of food and pet supplies, but many people don’t realize they need other items as well. During a recent trip to our local animal shelter, I inquired about a couple comforters I have and asked if they could use. They said definitely! There are many older dogs who are admitted to the shelter who have difficulty handling the concrete floors. They put used comforters down to provide geriatric dogs with a little extra padding. Blankets, towels, throw rugs, brooms and dustpans are among the list of items welcome at most shelters.
Animal rescues – Needs vary based on the size and setup of the rescue. If you love a particular type or breed of animal, search for rescues in your area and ask what their needs are.
Books, magazines, records, games, puzzles (and some toys)
Public Libraries – Our local library utilizes magazines in their cafe where they are sold for 10¢ each. It might not seem like much but those dimes add up quickly. Additional items such as books, games and puzzles are resold during their semi-annual library book sale.
Little Free Library – These miniature boxes are popping up all over the place running on the concept of take one, leave one. But if you have a few extra books you don’t want, this is a good place to drop them off. You may actually find one you want to bring back home.
Nursing homes and Senior centers – I never really gave this much thought before, but my mom said the senior center where they snowbird often asks for extra puzzles and games. It makes a lot of sense because game pieces get lost or damaged while doing the same puzzle over and over just gets boring.
National Guard – A few years back, I discovered that they often assist in filling in gaps caused when a parent is called for service. As part of a blogger outreach campaign, we donated toys around Christmas that were given to the home parent to supplement their Christmas purchases. Contact your local National Guard to see if they accept donations of any kind to support the family members of servicemen called to duty.
Hospitals / Children’s Hospitals – Once again, this is a case by case basis. Many hospitals, especially with pediatric areas, accept toy donations. Magazines and books are often welcome donations as well. Contact your local hospital to see what types of donations they accept.
Local schools and preschools – Their needs vary, but teachers at every level are often accepting of book donations for their classrooms. Toys and games are often welcome as well depending on the grade. If you have a friend that is a teacher, they’ll be able to tell you what their local needs are.
After School programs – Books, toys, games, crafts supplies and sometimes even sports equipment are welcome additions to after school programs.
Furniture and Appliances
Almost any kind of donation accepted
Churches – Some items are distributed directly to parishioners or community members in need while others are sold at church rummage sales.
Disabled American Vets
Vietnam Veterans – I noticed there are a variety of chapters that serve different areas and regions of the country. Start with the map located on this site but don’t be startled if it redirects you to a regional site that utilizes a different URL.
Purple Heart – Their list of acceptable items is extensive.
National Children’s Center
American Cancer Society Discover Shops – These are upscale resale shops, going above and beyond to even dry clean clothing donations before setting them out for sale. Our local shop offers clothing and accessories as well as some housewares, books and artwork.
Items still in boxes or with tags – These make great additions to programs such as the Toys for Tots program, Angel Tree and even as donations for prizes at charity trivia nights and school fundraisers.
We know first hand the great items that we can purchase at local thrift stores, but there are definitely a multitude of places that items could be donated and put to immediate use by families in need. If you find yourself buried in clutter or with boxes overflowing with stuff you no longer need then consider uncluttering for good.
What is your favorite place to donate things you no longer need or want?
19 thoughts on “Philanthropic Friday: Declutter for Good”
I’ve been in the process of cleaning things out. Usually I just take stuff to our local thrift store, but I hadn’t thought of these other places. Thanks for the ideas!
Good to see people giving back and making good use of used items.
Pass it on!
I love the idea of donating to senior centers. I had never thought about that. I buy socks every year and hang them on the senior tree for Christmas but Puzzles would be so much better to add to it. Oh and I just LOVE those Free Library houses.
Great ideas that I’ll pass on.
great donations! love seeing this
i will donate mine to the local nursing home,,they love puzzles
Nice! I love these ideas! Thanks!
I’m glad they have places like this where you can donate your old puzzles. That’s awesome! There are always kids out there that would love to have them.
Our library has a puzzle exchange. Borrow a puzzle, then either return it or donate a different one.
That’s a cool idea! I’ve heard of book exchanges like this but never puzzle. I’m going to pass this idea along to our local librarians!
We give the items we no longer use to the Veterans or to the Epilepsy Foundations. They usually come and pick the things up. We also have a Goodwill store near us that we take our clothes to. We feel good doing this! One person’s garbage is another person’s treasure!
Awesome suggestions! I like be the idea of giving back.
Goodwilil remains my favorite place to donate unless I personally know someone looking for something specific.
I give to the same places that I listed above.
This year I have also given away things to my neighbors that had a rough go of it this year.
I do this once a year to declutter and for the tax write off. Make sure you get a receipt.
Wow – Thanks for the great ideas. Love the sheets and towels to animal shelters… Woot