As we head into fall and cooler weather, and away from summer’s dog days, energy returns, and many of us want to reorganize rooms or simply rid ourselves of years of accumulated clutter. Others may be preparing for a move to a new home, perhaps a new city or state.
In addition to reviewing home insurance options, part of your moving preparation may include donating unused or unnecessary items to charitable organizations. In most cases you will have the option of dropping off items or having them picked up.
Think of your relationship with the charity you select as a partnership — a win-win arrangement where everyone benefits. While your donations will allow you to rid yourself of unwanted items and potentially even see tax benefits, those very same items are welcome resources for those in need who eventually receive them. Depending on your location, the following donation locations may be available to you.
GreenDrop is a donation program that serves the east coast, selected by the American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and others, to raise funds. Focused primarily on furniture and clothing donations, Green Drop offers related services for families on the move like its “Home Clean-Out” free service that helps you sort and organize household items and clothing.
GreenDrop accepts items such as:
- Household goods
However, GreenDrop does not accept consumer electronics and large appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators. Other household items not accepted are described in this detailed list.
GreenDrop is an important component of the fundraising process helping to convert many household and clothing items into funds for use by America’s well known charities.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a popular nonprofit organization serving all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and 70 countries around the world. It assists in the construction of affordable family homes for those in need. If you’re looking to declutter or donate items, Habitat for Humanity also provides a furniture pickup service and a service for donation drop offs.
Habitat for Humanity accepts a wide variety of items, including:
- Building materials
- Most types of vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, and has even accepted airplanes
- Construction equipment and tools
- Farm equipment
In turn, the organization sells many of its donations which are in good condition at Habitat for Humanity’s Restores. The Restore sales proceeds are then used in the repair and construction of its family homes. You can learn more about Habitat for Humanity here, and call to arrange for a pickup.
AMVETS, short for American Veterans, is dedicated to supporting veterans and their families. To this end, AMVETS uses funds raised with donations to provide jobs, service programs, and other assistance to well-deserving veterans.
AMVETS accepts many types of items as donations, including the following:
- Small appliances
- Curtains and drapes
- Exercise equipment
The AMVET website provides more instructions on how and where to donate or arrange for pickups in your neighborhood, plus you can learn where to obtain and complete a donation pick up form. If you are in an area where pick up services are offered, you will be asked to pack your items into boxes, mark each box “AMVETS,” and simply leave them in front of your door by 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled pick up day.
Your donations allows AMVET to stock and sell items in thrift stores, which subsequently raises funds for all of AMVETS programs for veterans.
The Salvation Army
Founded in 1865, the Salvation Army is a global organization assisting people with a wide range of serious needs such as disaster relief, hunger, poverty, addiction, and human trafficking. The Salvation Army pick up donation service is the primary means of program support.
The Salvation Army accepts donations of furniture, clothing, appliances, kitchen items, automobiles, and other items. Items that are not accepted based on government reselling regulations include:
- Particle board furniture
- TV armoires
- Metal desks
- Baby items, like car seats and high chairs
The best way to determine if the items you wish to donate are acceptable is to visit the Salvation website and call your local chapter.
The Salvation Army sells donated items in their family thrift stores. With funds raised, the Salvation Army has assisted over 25 million people annually by supporting the organization’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers, which help people address addictions, develop work skills, and restore their families.
Pick Up Please
Pick Up Please is part of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) organization. Pick Up Please, as the name suggests, provides pick up service for furniture that you want to donate.
Pick Up Please accepts items that have been gently used including:
- Most household goods
- Smaller furniture, like nightstands and office chairs
Learn more about Pick Up Please here including convenient ways to arrange pick ups that can often be scheduled within 24 hours. Arrangements can be made to box and leave items for pick up even if you won’t be at home.
At this time Pick Up Please services are available in designated cities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The website provides details about where to donate.
To fund its many VVA local, state and National programs, Pick Up Please sells donated items to private companies.
Goodwill operates at local levels with the overriding goal of training job seekers and providing other employment services. Goodwill has over 150 community based organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, and 12 other countries. The organization also operates over 3,000 popular stores in North America.
Goodwill accepts a very wide variety of donations including:
- Dishes and glassware
Additionally, Goodwill allows you to make arrangements to donate most automobiles, trucks, boats, RVs, campers, and riding lawn mowers. In many cases the vehicles do not necessarily have to be in working condition either.
Goodwill sells donated items in its stores and on the Goodwill auction site. The funds raised are then used in supporting its employment assistance programs. Visit Goodwill’s site to learn about it’s other humanitarian efforts and convenient ways to donate.
Furniture Banks is a group of registered charities, not-for-profit organizations, and social enterprises that are designed for, and committed to, providing good-condition used furniture and other household items to people in need, at very little or no cost. Furniture Banks primarily serves at-risk women and children, immigrants, unemployed persons, and formerly homeless people, establishing a home with the furnishings.
Furniture Banks accepts all varieties of furniture, plus it welcomes donations of cars and recreational vehicles that can be in any condition. To facilitate donations, Furniture Banks also offers free pick up of donations and vehicle towing where required.
Furniture Banks does wonders with furnishings that most people take for granted. Furniture is given a second life when redirected to families who truly appreciate donations. You can learn more about the organization and steps to arrange pick ups on the Furniture Bank website.
The Arc was founded in the 1950’s to address the needs of the intellectually or developmentally disabled to avoid the harsh realities of institutionalization. The Arc’s driving purpose has consistently been to help children to be raised in a family home.
Since its inception, the Arc has established over 600 local chapters and developed over 1,000 national and community programs for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. A key component of this effort is to raise funds through the Arc’s free donation pick ups.
The Arc accepts many household and other items including:
- Kitchen items
- Home decor items
Funds raised through donations are utilized to support a number of policy, education, and legal programs aimed at protecting and bettering the lives of the intellectually disabled. These include initiatives for criminal justice reform, health improvements, and family support. The company provides more insight on its website about the goals of the Arc and how you can help through donations and other effort.
Kars4Kids was founded in 1994 based on a unique idea. Instead of promoting its business as a source of private donations, Kars4Kids highlights the public service it provides in helping people dispose of hard to sell large items and properties. The organization funds its many programs directly from the proceeds of disposing of this donated property.
Kars4Kids accepts big ticket items in all 50 states and Washington, D.C: boats, cars, and real estate. Real estate donations are not limited to personal homes. All types of real property are accepted, including:
- Mobile homes
- Commercial and industrial property
- Apartment buildings
Funds raised by Kars4Kids support its many programs geared toward the protection and development of children. Built around its core children mentoring programs, Kars4Kids also provides a wide variety of education and development programs. Learn more about these goals and the steps to follow to donate property to Kars4Kids here.
Soles4Shoes is a nonprofit organization that has found a creative way to turn extra or unwanted shoes and clothing into abundant opportunities for those in need. Rather than going to waste, these donated items are put to good use. In its own words; “providing relief, creating jobs and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.”
Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes as donations, simply asking that the shoes donated are new or in good condition. No furniture is accepted, but Sole4Souls takes new or gently worn clothing through its sister organization, Clothes4Souls.
Soles4Souls’ many programs are supported directly with its donated shoes and other items. The goal is to “make a measurable impact on people and the planet” and programs distribute donated items to those in need, help people build small businesses by selling donated items, and support women in a variety of ways. Learn more about Soles4Shoes programs and how to donate on the Soles4Souls site.
Donating old items to others is a wonderful way to clear your own clutter while helping others. Organizing this process in the midst of an already complex move can be a challenge, however. That said, you can overcome any difficulties with careful planning and organization. Here are some tips:
- Create a written schedule of what you will accomplish everyday. If necessary, break your schedule down to half days or even hours, but try to adhere to your timetable. Build in enough time for each task in your schedule to make sure everything you hope to accomplish is feasible.
- Contact the organizations you intend to work with and make sure you clearly understand what they will take and how they will want it boxed or packaged. This will help you identify any extra tasks or steps required to complete the donation.
- Keep the process itself organized by going from room to room, making all decisions of what to donate in each room before moving to the next.
- Carefully assess your items by considering your true plans and needs for using the item in the future. A good indicator of how often you really expect to use the item is to honestly review how often you have used it during the last year. If you have not used it in a year or longer, you are unlikely to miss it if you donate it.
- Organize your items in piles, dividing them logically with similar items of, for example, books, clothes, electronics, household items and other goods.
- Finally, pack and bag your items to ready them for drop off or pick up.
By donating items you no longer need or use, not only do you benefit from a decluttered house for whatever life transitions you face, but you also provide benefit to many others in need. While this benefit is tremendously impactful to others, it also comes at no additional cost to yourself.