The Best Places to Donate All Your Unwanted Items

published Dec 9, 2020
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donation box filled with clothes

I feel like I’m drowning in stuff. There are days I look around my just-shy-of-1,000-square- foot apartment (which I cohabitate with a husband and 5-year-old twins) and think it would be better if we just got an enormous dumpster instead of trying to Tetris our belongings into the kitchen/bath/kids room.

But one thing that makes me despondent more than the mismanagement of the Covid crisis is being wasteful. I’m not a KonMari type of person. I don’t thank things for coming into my life and then toss them. I thank them and give them value and then let them take up space in my home and mind until I feel like the walls are closing in.

Which is why I recently found myself doing a deep dive into the best places to donate my goods

But First, the Right Way to Donate

It’s important to note that donations should be in clean, workable order and also: No one wants your old prom dress (unless it’s a specific kind of drive like Project G.L.A.M). In addition to Covid restrictions, many places have halted goods acceptance because editing through bikini bottoms, stretched-out gym shorts, and moth-eaten cashmere takes away from the task at hand—helping those in need. Always call or email prior to dropping off items to make sure the organization is truly getting what they need. 

The Best Places to Donate Unwanted Goods

  1. Your children’s school: Schools may have pivoted to remote learning schedule, but there are still families that need warm clothing for their school-age children. I coordinated with the on-staff social workers at my kindergartners’ school to determine the items most needed and dropped off snow boots and ski pants that my littles got too big for before they were ever worn.
  2. Vietnam Veterans of America: Toys, bikes, clothing, dishes—if it’s small enough for one person to carry it, Vietnam Veterans of America will take it. What makes the PickupPlease initiative so amazing is that they—you guessed it—pick up your donations. Add the fact that you can arrange it all online, and it’s a winner. Small kitchen appliances and electronics are also accepted as are unopened beauty and grooming products. If you’re not sure if an item is acceptable, send an email or call prior to packing.  
  3. Project Beauty Share: If you’re like me, you probably have a moisturizer with texture that isn’t your favorite or a shampoo with a scent just a bit off for your liking. The West Coast-based Project Beauty Share collects gently-used and brand-new beauty and personal care products. These products are donated to women and families overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness, and poverty. Visit the website for info on drop-off centers, mailing address, and a list of accepted items.
  4. Animal shelters: Textile waste is one of my pet peeves. That’s where animal shelters come in. Animal Care Centers of NYC is local to me and takes old towels, sheets, and shams. They also accept pillows, something we never seem to get just right for our bed.