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 us all out as we work to declutter our homes (one less thing to think about!), 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
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, and inquire about any restrictions (every center has the right to refuse items based on their condition or use).
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.
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.
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 & Bridal Dresses
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.
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
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.
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.
Some public libraries still take donations (especially children's books). However, donating books to these organizations above will help promote literacy and education within our country's many correctional facilities.
Art Supplies & Musical Instruments
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.
OneSight.org (Eyeglasses: Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears, Target)
GiftCards4Change.org (Gift card balances to charitable sources)
PetFinder.com (Linens for animal shelters)
DiaperBankNetwork.org (Un-used diapers)
SuitcasesForKids.org (Suitcases to Kids in Foster Care)
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:
Re-edited from a post originally published 1.24.2014 - TW