Where to Donate Clothes, Books, Furniture & Other Used Items

It’s a well-known fact that many Americans struggle with clutter, but you may not realize how much this habit is actually costing you. According to the AARP, clutter costs us additional living space, clean up costs, and monthly storage fees.

woman donating used items

But most importantly, it costs valuable time that we could be spending with our friends and loved ones. This is why a growing number of Americans have taken steps to embrace minimalism and get rid of the clutter in their homes.

The question is, what do you do with all the stuff that’s been accumulating over the years? Well, one of the best things you can do is donate these items to a charitable organization to help someone in need.

Items You Can Donate

Here are some of the items you can donate:

  • baby items
  • breast pumps
  • books
  • clothes
  • fabric
  • furniture
  • eyeglasses
  • hearing aids
  • magazines
  • mattresses
  • medical equipment
  • old computers
  • old cell phones
  • stuffed animals
  • VHS tapes
  • walkers
  • wedding dresses
  • wheelchairs
  • toys
  • yarn

Benefits of Donating Used Items

There are many benefits to donating your used items to charity. One thing that many people don’t realize is that many of these donations are tax-deductible.

If you donate your items to a 501c(3) tax-exempt organization and receive a receipt, you should be able to claim this as a deduction come tax season. However, you should always consult with an accountant for guidance.

Another benefit of donating used items is that it’s beneficial for the environment. Many people end up throwing away their used items once they no longer need them, and all of these items end up in landfills. By allowing your items to be reused, you’ll be helping the environment and eliminating waste.

And most importantly, you’re helping your community by donating used items. There are many people who would find your used clothing, furniture, and household items very valuable.

By donating these items, you’re supporting your community and giving to individuals who may not have the resources to purchase these goods on their own.

Steps to Take Before Donating Your Things

Now that you’re on board with donating your used items, there are a few steps you need to take first. For one thing, you need to determine whether the items you want to get rid of are actually useful and worth donating in the first place.

Items that are broken, in poor condition, or don’t work anymore aren’t going to do anyone any good. But if you have items that are gently used and still in good condition, it’s likely someone else could benefit from them.

So take some time to sort through all of your items and put them in two separate piles; a “donate” pile and a “throwaway” pile.

If you’re not sure whether or not something should be donated, consider whether or not you could still use that item. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not going to be helpful to anyone else either.

The Best Places to Donate Used Items

Now that you’ve gathered the items you’re planning to donate, it’s time to decide where you’re going to donate them. Listed below are some ideas to get you started.

Goodwill

Goodwill accepts a number of items, including gently used clothes, furniture, books, electronics, and household items. The company sells these items and then uses the proceeds to provide job training and career advancement opportunities for those in need.

Goodwill recommends that you visit a donation center to hand off your items, but you do also have the option to leave your items in a Goodwill bin. Just make sure the donation bin clearly displays the Goodwill logo.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army exists to support anyone in need, including children, families, veterans, and the homeless. There are a number of ways you can support the Salvation Army’s mission, including donating used clothing, furniture, and household items.

The charity resells these items, and the funds go to support rehabilitation programs for families. You can either drop your items off at a nearby location or schedule a free pickup at your home.

Local Shelters

One of the best places to donate used clothing, toys, and other household items is to a nearby homeless shelter. These shelters provide housing, food, and clothing to individuals in need.

You can contact your local United Way for recommendations on nearby shelters. Just make sure you contact the organization first to find out how they prefer to receive donations.

The Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House is an organization that provides care and resources for families with sick children. They offer lodging and support to families with children who are staying at nearby hospitals.

Often, families are forced to travel to other states so their children can receive the medical care they need. The Ronald McDonald House makes it possible for these families to stay near their sick child.

For that reason, the organization is always in need of gently used toys and household items for the children that use their facilities.

One Warm Coat

If you have old coats to donate, then consider donating these items to One Warm Coat. This organization donates used coats to those in need, so no one has to suffer without a coat during the winter months. You can check the organization’s website to find drop-off locations near you.

SAFE

SAFE is a volunteer-run nonprofit that accepts stuffed animals, books, children’s clothes, and baby items. These donations are used to support children who have gone through traumatic experiences like a fire, illness, abuse, and homelessness.

The benefit of donating to SAFE is that none of the items are resold, and are always given to children in need.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores

If you have old furniture you’re trying to get rid of, consider donating it to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Habitat ReStores are independent reuse stores that are supported by your local Habitat for Humanity.

These stores sell home improvement items at a much lower cost than regular retail stores. The proceeds are used to support the local community.

Final Thoughts

If you have used clothing, furniture, or other household items that you’re looking to get rid of, these items don’t have to go to waste. Take the time to see if there are any local shelters, nonprofits, or charities that could benefit from a donation.

Many of these organizations do a lot of good in your local community and help support families, veterans, and homeless individuals. This ensures that you clear up some of the clutter in your own home, and do your part to make the world a better place.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about a variety of personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.