great articles recently on the value of downsizing our belongings. Yet even with the best intentions to pare down, it can be hard to part with certain things. If you have items you're waffling over donating (the microwave you barely use, the business suit you wore once) here's a list of 25 organizations that will happily take your stuff and put it to great use.
I think we can all agree that we probably have too much of something or items that serve no real purpose in our homes, whether it's clothes, DVDs we never watch, unused kitchen gear, the list goes on. National charity organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are always great places to donate, but while looking for more specific ways to donate some children's toys I came across multiple websites for children's hospitals that are collecting gently used books and toys for their waiting rooms and activity centers. This got me thinking that there are likely lots of ways to donate items to fill a direct need. I find it incredibly motivating to think of de-cluttering in this way; if someone else can put my stuff to better use, that's exciting. Feel free to include any organizations you know of that are seeking specific items in the comments section. Books 1. Operation Paperback sends new and gently used books to troops overseas. They also distribute children's books to the families of troops in the U.S. 2. Books for Africa sends books to students in Africa. They accept many types of books, but are especially interested in current textbooks. 3. Local children's hospitals (or children's wings) are often looking for new and gently used books. Contact your local hospital for more information. Clothes 4. Soles 4 Souls and Clothes 4 Souls work to provide functional footwear and clothing to those who need them. They accept new and gently used shoes (all styles) and clothing. 5. Dress for Success provides stylish, professional clothing to women who are seeking employment. They accept all forms of business coordinates as well as handbags and coats. 6. Career Gear provides suits and dress clothes to men seeking employment. They accept all forms of business attire as well as briefcases, portfolios, watches and cufflinks, and coats. 7. One Warm Coat holds coat drives nationwide during the fall and winter to help local charitable agencies distribute warm winter coats to those in need, free of charge. Cell Phones 8. Hopeline from Verizon provides cell phones to survivors of domestic violence, helping them stay connected to their support system as well as providing a necessary tool for achieving a fresh start. They accept used but functional cell phones. 9. Lifecell Project recycles used cell phones in bulk, collects the funds from bulk recycling, and uses the funds to purchase Lifestraws (an award winning water filtration system) for those without access to clean water. DVDs 10. DVDs 4 Vets provides DVDs to veterans who are unable to obtain access to films or who are in rehabilitation. 11. Kids Flicks helps create movie libraries in children's hospitals and children's wings throughout the U.S. They accept children's and young adult-oriented movies and shows. Computers 12. World Computer Exchange strives to expand access to technology in the developing world. They accept a wide variety of used (but must be in fine working condition) computers and electronics. 13. Gift my PC works with local educations organizations as well as the Wounded Warrior Project to provide students and veterans with working computers and electronics. Furniture & Home Goods 14. Furniture Bank Association of North America collects gently used home furnishings and donates them to families in need. FBA has national drop-off centers and accepts any items that will help a family start over, such as beds, tables, chairs, and lamps. 15. Habitat for Humanity's ReStore has locations nationwide and provides everything from home furnishings, appliances, and decor to building materials and paint. They accept new unused and gently used items and materials. 16. Freecycle is a well-known organization that offers an online forum for people to give away their goods to those in their community. It's a nice way to offer up furniture and home goods to those in your community who may not be able to afford them. Fitness & Sports Equipment 17. Bikes for the World collects bikes and usable bicycle parts to provide transportation to those in the developing world. 18. Fitness for Charity provides gently used fitness and sports equipment to individuals and organizations, such as foster homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers. They accept a wide variety of equipment as long as it is in working condition. 19. One World Running collects running shoes and running gear to distribute them to those in need in the U.S. and around the world. They have nationwide drop-off locations. Baby & Children's Gear 20. Loving Hugs provides stuffed animals to children in hospitals, refugee camps, natural disaster areas. They accept new and gently used soft stuffed animals. 21. Local women's and family shelters are often in need of gently used toys and games. 22. KIDS distributes new baby and children's clothing to children whose families are experiencing economic distress. I know I had quite a few duplicates and outfits my children never wore as babies, and this is a great opportunity to re-gift those items. Art & Craft Supplies 23. Carewear knits hats, blankets, and outfits for premature babies in neonatal units. They accept donations of yarn, knitting supplies, as well as handmade items. 24. The Knitting Connection makes handmade items for children in need. They are looking for donations of yarn, knitting needles, books, as well as finished knitted or crocheted items. 25. Dreaming Zebra provides music and art access to underserved children. They accept donations of art supplies as well as gently used instruments. (Images: Shutterstock, Shutterstock)