Clear Out & Help Out: A Big List of the Best Donation Centers for All Your Stuff

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Professional Organizer Amelia Meena helps clients get their homes in order and, as we all know, that often involves getting rid of things no longer needed. To help out with this weekend's outbox assignment, I asked her to share her list of great places to donate, because if you're clearing out, you just may be able to help out as well! She kindly shared her big, professional-strength, power list of the best of the best - from ways to recycle to organizations that will make the most of what you have to share.

Homegoods + Furniture

VVAPickup.org
SATruck.org
Goodwill.org
PurpleHeartPickup.org

These are the classic go-to’s for donating any and all homegoods. Friendly advice: Schedule a pick-up in advance; Plan your de-cluttering project around your pick-up date; Inquire about any restrictions (every center has the right to refuse items based on their condition or use).

Habitat.org
Freecycle.org

These are two of my favorite resources because they connect your donated goods directly and immediately to a needy cause. Habitat for Humanity can take gently-used or like- new household items to outfit the structures built by volunteers. And Freecycle is a grassroots community of people giving away their old belongings to others within their own town.

Clothing

ClothingDonations.org (Vietnam Vets of America)
PVA.org (Paralyzed Veterans of America)

In addition to scheduling a pick-up or drop-off time with one of these organizations, I encourage my clients to find a Family Shelter in their neighborhood. As a temporary home for men, women and children alike, they often welcome a variety of clothing (as well as toys, electronics and some homegoods). Make sure to call ahead and inquire about designated donation times/practices.

Professional Clothing

CareerGear.org (Men’s)
DressforSuccess.org (Women’s)

Both of these non-profit companies focus on outfitting an individual for a professional job interview. If their NYC-based headquarters are inconvenient for you, they offer lists of local affiliates. Keep in mind the clothing must be business-professional, gently-used, clean and in style.

Formalwear, Prom and Bridal Dresses

BridesAcrossAmerica.com
BridesAgainstBreastCancer.org
DonateMyDress.org

Love, love, LOVE these organizations! From prom to weddings, sweet 16’s to a quinceanera, formals to black-tie events, women often buy a dress for a single occasion, never to be worn again. Let that dress have another night out, even if it’s not with you.

Electronics

BestBuy.com
TekServe.com/recycling
1800recycling.com

Did you know that most tech companies are recycle-savvy? Apple will offer you a discount when you recycle an old iPod or iPhone with them. Staples will accept all Dell products for recycling. And most BestBuy stores have a recycling center in their front lobby for most electronics and large appliances (even if you didn’t buy it from them).

DVDs + Video Games

GetWellGamers.org
KidFlicks.org
DVDs4Vets.org

Give your unwanted video games and movies to sick children, veterans and others in need? It’s that easy?? Yes, it is. No more excuses- just do it.

Cell Phones

NNEDV.org (National Network to End Domestic Violence)
GRCRecycling.com (Operation Gratitude)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found an Appleshine client’s cell phone stash. A pile of old cell phones that they’re hanging on to because...well, just cause. Now you can turn that old phone into a new sense of empowerment for others. And most mobile carriers offer in store recycling, too.

Books

PrisonBookProgram.org
BooksforAmerica.org

Admittedly, hardcopy books are on the decline. Some public libraries still take donations (especially children’s books). However, donating books to these organizations help promote literacy and education within our country’s many correctional facilities.

Art Supplies + Musical Instruments

DreamingZebra.org
GiveKidsYourInstruments.org
MHOpus.org (Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation)

Funding for music and arts is often the first to get cut. Lack of funding means lack of instruments and supplies. Consider these organizations, or even check with your local school system, when you have some spare Crayolas, construction paper or old Recorders lying around.

Random Stuff

OneSight.org (Eyeglasses: Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears, Target) Suitcases4Kids.org (Suitcases to Kids in Foster Care)
PetFinder.com (Linens for Animal Shelters)
GiftCardGiver.com (Gift Cards to Charitable sources)
DiaperBankNetwork.org (Un-used Diapers)

Finally, if this list has proven anything, it’s that the Internet has made donating, recycling and reusing old materials simple and easy. Just a quick Google search can provide a few choices. And if you’re ever stumped on the best way to donate an item, just go back to source. Call the store, company or person that you got it from and see if they have any ideas.

The resources listed above represent a small portion of donation centers across the country (and the world). As awareness grows, so will this list. Feel free to add any of your favorite Donation Centers in the comments below!

Big thanks to Amelia Meena of Appleshine for the super helpful list. Check out more from Amelia on Apartment Therapy:

(Image credits: Nicole Crowder)

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