Big Pile of Usable Discards? Great Places to Donate in Austin

In the spirit of starting fresh for the new year, many of you will clean, sort and organize your home, ending up with a pile of stuff that you no longer want or need. If you're anything like me, you're never going to get around to having that garage sale, so you might as well put your usable discards to good use! If you're in Austin, here are some of the best places to donate your various items!

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One Fell Swoop
After the clean, you've probably got a varied assortment of items that you're ready to part with. For one-stop-shopping, it's pretty easy to donate pretty much anything to the Goodwill of Salvation Army. You can help put people to work by dropping off your goods at one of over 45 Goodwill locations in Central Texas. Keep in mind, though, that Goodwill cannot accept large appliances, building materials, mattresses and box springs, auto parts, or or furniture that is worn or soiled. Otherwise, they'll take your items, sell them in their retail locations, and help provide job-related services and work to folks that need assistance and employment. The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center ministries are faith-based and focused on basic necessities. They, like Goodwill, accept all manner of goods in order to re-sell and fund their mission. Find their local Austin dropoff locations here, and know that your donation will help folks in need.

There are plenty of other fantastic organizations in Austin ready to accept your donation! If you've sorted your items and would like to spread the bounty between multiple causes, here are some other great options!

Organization: Safe Place
SafePlace is a fantastic organization that is committed to ending sexual and domestic violence. They provide safety and support to individuals and families affected by this kind of violence, who often bring none of their possessions with them. Their wish list itemizes things that they are critically low or out of, making it easy to see where your gently used items might make a big impact.
Needs: Food, Clothing, Cell Phones, Infant & Toddler Products, School Supplies
Wish List: here
Drop Off: 1515 Grove Blvd; Tuesday-Friday 10-3 and Wednesday 10-6

Organization: Caritas
With the mission to provide "a service continuum for those experiencing poverty that begins with a safety net and links them to resources to achieve self-sufficiency," Caritas is helping the underprivileged in Austin every day. Through assistance with housing, food, education and employment, Caritas is helping families and individuals in need.
Needs: Household items (from furniture to flatware--think about what you would need in your first apartment) and food for their pantry.
Wish List: here
Drop Off: call 512.479.4610 for drop off specifics

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Organization: Austin Pets Alive
Focusing on rescuing pets that "have already been passed over by other groups and the shelters' adoption programs" and are about to be euthanized, Austin Pets Alive is working to eliminate the killing of companion animals. They are trying to fill the gap between other Austin resources for animals by honing in on healthy and treatable pets that are left with no other options.
Needs: Items for animals (from medical items to toys---you'd be surprised what you might have that they can use!) and items for their building
Wish List: here
Drop Off:2807 Manchaca, any day between 11-7

Organization: Cell Phones for Soldiers
It seems like we all have one or two old cell phones lying around. Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your gently-used mobile phone and turn it into free communication tools for service men and women. Working with recycling partner ReCellular, they are given money for the phones, which they use to purchase calling cards and other communications devices.
Needs: well, cell phones!
Drop Off: Locate a drop-off location near you

Organization: Austin Libraries
All of the local Austin Libraries accept donations of books that are then sold via their Recycled Reads store at 5335 Burnet Road. All of the proceeds then directly benefit Austin Libraries. While they do not accept magazine donations, many of the branches have "giveaway tables" where customers can leave magazines for others. Bolster your local branch, whose focus is to provide "easy access to books and information for all ages, through responsive professionals, engaging programs, and state-of-the-art technology in a safe and friendly environment."
Needs: books!
Drop Off: Any branch location, and Recycled Reads, during open hours

Organization: Dress For Success
The foundation of Dress For Success is based in promoting the economic independence of women "by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life." Your "conservative interview-appropriate clothing [and accessories] that any woman can wear year round can help one woman get a job.
Needs: Professional attire, accessories (like shoes and purses), cosmetics and undergarments.
Wish List: here
Drop Off: 701 Tillery Street, Suite A-5 Monday-Thursday 10-4, Saturday 10-2 or any West Bank Dry Cleaning location.

Perhaps this list will even encourage you to give more, to declutter more, and to realize that there is value in your belongings long after you've stopped appreciating them! Clean out those closets and stock someone else's!

Where else to you enjoy donating your gently used goods?

(Image(s): 1. Via Flickr user Bixentro 2. via Little Austinite 3. Via Austin Pets Alive