13 Lesser-Known Places to Donate After Decluttering
Decluttering your home is just plain good for the soul. For starters, getting rid of any superfluous items tends to bring more harmony into your space, since it leaves you with a more curated collection of belongings that you know you need. But there’s a more meaningful benefit as well.
That purse or bag you no longer want could be the very same one somebody else has been coveting but couldn’t afford. Same goes for the blazer that helped you ace an interview in the past. Purging your possessions presents you with the opportunity to pass your belongings onto someone else who may need and appreciate them more.
While you’ve probably dropped off items at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center before, there are a number of other organizations that could also use your support. In fact, there are many charities that specialize in specific categories of merchandise, whether it’s professional attire that helps women who are facing poverty find jobs or eyeglasses that aid people without access to vision care.
So the next time you find yourself in the midst of an organizational overhaul, consider donating to the following companies to ensure your unwanted goods are going to those who will get the maximum amount of benefit from them.
What they do: Dress for Success provides clothes and resources to empower women facing poverty to find jobs and thrive in the workforce.
What they take: Women’s suits and other professional women’s attire. Find a local affiliate here.
What they do: Room to Grow helps children born into poverty by offering support, resources, and material goods to parents from the third trimester of pregnancy and up until their child is three years old.
What they take: Baby clothes, books, toys, and room accessories that are clean and in excellent condition, as well as other items. Drop off donations if you’re local to Boston or New York, or ship for free here.
What they do: Soles 4 Souls provides shoes to people living in poverty, and helps with disaster relief efforts. They also help create entrepreneurship opportunities for people in need.
What they take: Gently worn shoes and clothing. Search for a drop-off location or ship for free here.
What they do: Wish Upon a Wedding grants weddings and vow renewal ceremonies to married or engaged couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance.
What they take: Wedding dresses in current styles (from 2012 to present).
What they do: Becca’s Closet collects and distributes prom dresses to high school girls in financial need. They also offer post-secondary scholarships to young men and women.
What they take: Gently worn short and long formal dresses less than five years old, dress shoes, costume jewelry, and evening bags. Find a local chapter to drop off items or ship donations here.
What they do: Free The Girls helps empower girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking by providing them with resources to sell bras in the second-hand market.
What they take: New and gently used bras that are in good condition. Search here for a drop-off location near you.
What they do: Brides Across America gifts weddings and wedding gowns to those in the military as well as first responders.
What they take: Wedding gowns in good condition that are less than four years old, veils, tiaras, and accessories. Click here for information on how to donate.
What they do: Lions Club provides prescription eyewear and hearing aids to those without access to care.
What they take: Eyeglasses and hearing aids in gently used condition as well as unopened contact lenses. Look for a local chapter to donate here, or drop off glasses at a participating Walmart Vision Center.
What they do: SAFE provides comfort to children who have been through traumatic events and emergency situations with stuffed animals, blankets, toys and other child and baby items.
What they take: Clean, gently used stuffed animals, blankets, clothes, and some other toys. You can find more information about donations here.
What they do: Operation Paperback provides books for American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families in the United States.
What they take: Gently used books — but rather than bring them to a donation center, Operation Paperback will provide you with addresses to send to so you can personalize your shipments.
What they do: In partnership with Cellular Recycler, NCADV receives a portion of funds from the sale of refurbished electronics to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.
What they take: Used cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, video game systems, MP3 players, and any related chargers and accessories. Click here for the instructions to ship your items (free if sending more than three items).
What they do: One Warm Coat provides free coats to children and adults who are in need. Environmental sustainability is also a part of their core values.
What they take: New and gently worn coats. Search here for a donation center in your area.
What they do: The Furniture Bank Network operates as a collection of furniture banks that provide gently used household furnishings to individuals or families who are struggling to furnish their homes.
What they take: Gently used furniture. Search here for a furniture bank in your area.
Other Items You Can Donate Locally:
Reusable grocery bags: Reusable sturdy grocery bags are helpful for families to bring home items they need, so stop by your local food bank to drop off extra grocery bags you don’t need.
Blankets: Clean blankets are often a welcome donation at most homeless shelters, but check with your local shelter before you bring items by.
Linens: Many animal shelters are in need of used sheets and towels to serve as bedding for the animals.
Appliances and Tools: If you have any used appliances, tools, or housewares, you could donate them to Habitat for Humanity (they’ll even pick up larger items). They sell used items in their Restores and use the proceeds to help families build affordable homes.
Unused cosmetics: If you have unused cosmetics that you don’t want, consider donating them to your local women’s shelter.
Note: If you’re looking specifically to donate to current disaster relief funds to help recently affected areas, keep in mind that a lot of the things you might plan to donate post-decluttering may not be what is actually needed or accepted.
Most donation centers are specifically looking for canned and non-perishable foods, diapers, menstrual products, toiletries, first aid kits, batteries, and paper goods. In some cases, a monetary donation may be the best option for helping people in these areas.
Before you head to a drop-off center with a bunch of items, check with them first to find out what they need.