Where to donate

Inspirational stories, good news & a focus on the positive

Inspirational stories, good news & a focus on the positive

Where to Donate Your Stuff

By Brad Aronson   |   Posted in: Life Advice
Students from Spark the Wave sort food donations

My wife and I recently realized that we have a lot of stuff collecting dust. Instead of saving it in case we need it in 10 years, why not donate our stuff to people who need it now? In case you feel the same way, here is a list of where to donate clothes, furniture, toys, prom dresses, wedding gowns, DVDs, sporting equipment, musical instruments, eyeglasses, cell phones, computers, appliances, furniture, video games, cars and more:

    Donate cell phones

  • Phones can be donated to National Network to End Domestic Violence which gets funds for recycling them and Operation Gratitude, which uses funds to send care packages to soldiers.
  • Donate cars

  • The Purple Heart Foundation will pick up your car (whether or not it is running). All proceeds support combat wounded soldiers and their families.
  • The Salvation Army accepts cars to support their adult rehabilitation centers.
  • Donate unused gift cards (or portions of them)

  • Gift cards can be donated to people in need via Gift Card Giver.
  • Donate used inkjet and toner cartridges

  • Donated used inkjet and toner cartridges to Operation Gratitude to send care packages to soldiers.
  • Donate computers and electronic hardware

  • National Cristina Foundation has an online database of nonprofits that need computer hardware with a list of what each nonprofit needs. Search by zip code to find nonprofits in your area.
  • Donate interview appropriate clothes and accessories for women

  • Donate interview appropriate clothes for women to Dress for Success for disadvantaged women entering the workforce. Dress for Success provides an interview suit. Once a woman is employed the organization provides a week’s worth of clothes. Here are drop off locations.
  • Donate home goods, furniture, cabinets, electronics, appliances and building materials

  • Habitat for Humanity has ReStores that resell household items. They will come to your house and pickup home goods, furniture, cabinets, electronics, appliances and building materials. Search their 852 US and Canada locations for one near you. Proceeds are used to build and repair affordable housing for people who need it. .
  • Donate clothing, appliances, electronics and furniture

  • New or gently used items can be donated to Goodwill retail stores. There are more than 2,650 Goodwill donation locations. Donations support jobs and job training.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters will pick up your donations of clothing, household items, electronics and other items. They use all proceeds to support mentoring of children. Pickups are currently offered in NJ, DE, PA (Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Bucks County, Delaware County, Montgomery County).
  • The Salvation Army also accepts these items and will pick them up from your house (pickup is only in certain geographies). Donations to the Salvation Army support their adult rehabilitation centers.
  • The Military Order of the Purple Heart will pickup clothes, small appliances, electronics, toys and much more. Here’s a list of what they will pick up. They only operate in NJ, DE, PA, MD, CT, VA and NY.
  • Donate prom and special occasion dresses

  • Donate prom and special occasion dresses to girls in need through Donatemydress.org a service of Hearst Publishing. Here are drop off locations in the US and Canada.
  • Donate wedding dresses

  • Brides Across America accepts wedding gown donations for military brides in need. Gowns can’t be older than 4 years.
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer collects and resells wedding dresses to raise money for Breast Cancer. Brides Against Cancer accepts dresses that are mailed to them. They also request $100 to cover gown prep and warehousing.
  • Donate stuffed animals

  • Stuffed Animals for Emergencies has a list of local chapters that accept new or like new stuffed animals to be given to kids to help them feel a little more safe during emergency situations such as fires, illness, accidents, neglect, abuse, homelessness and even weather emergencies. You can scroll through their list of chapters by state to see where you can drop off or mail your stuffed animals.
  • Donate books

  • You can donate to Books for America.. They build and improve reading libraries in schools, shelters and many other organizations. You can drop off books at their Washington, DC office or ship books to them.
  • Donate Eyeglasses

  • OneSight collects gently used prescription eyewear and non-prescription sunglasses to help patients in their global clinics. You can donate glasses at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, ILORI, Optical Shop of Aspen.
  • You can also donate through Lions Clubs eyeglasses program. Lions club has 18 drop off locations. They distribute the glasses to people in need in developing countries.
  • Donate your new and used video games and game systems

  • The Get-Well Gamers Foundation distributes your games and game systems to hospitals. You mail your games and systems to their headquarters.
  • Donate DVDs and portable DVD players

  • You can send your DVDs to Kidflicks and they use them to stock movie libraries for hospitals.
  • You can send your DVDs and portable DVD players to DVDs4Vets and they distribute to VA facilities.
  • Donate musical instruments and art supplies

  • The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation accepts gently used band and orchestral instruments that it donates to under- funded music programs school across the country. Here’s the specific page for donating an instrument. You send them your gently used instruments.
  • The Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford, CT is collecting gently used cellos, violins, and music stands so that students in their public magnet schools can have music classes. Call or email them to donate your instruments (the contact is listed towards the bottom of the page under “how to donate an instrument.”)
  • The Dreaming Zebra distributes instruments and art supplies to kids in underserved areas. You mail your instruments and supplies to their warehouse.
  • Donate your extra diapers

  • The National Diaper Bank Network has a directory of local diaper banks that accept unused diapers for families in need. If you click the “find a diaper bank” link you can search for a local diaper bank for donating diapers.
  • Donate fitness equipment

  • Fitness 4 Charity accepts used exercise equipment that they distribute to foster homes, hospitals, police stations and other nonprofits. They work nationwide. To donate you fill out a form with details about your equipment and the nonprofit then contacts you about logistics.
  • One World Running provides running shoes to people in need in the US and around the world. Their drop off locations accept new and almost new shoes.
  • Give anything away free

  • The The Freecycle Network allows you to post items that you would like to give away. There’s no tax deduction, but it avoids landfills and can be a huge help to someone. Read Zoe’s comment in the comments below for examples of how her wedding dress and doll collection donated through Freecycle made a difference. They have over 5,000 local Freecycle groups. If you find someone through Freecycle to take your items, they will usually pick them up at your house.
  • Recycle cell phones, tablets, netbooks
    and mobile hotspot devices

  • If you can’t donate these devices you can recycle them through Verizon.
  • Please post a comment, if there are places I should add to this list.

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  • http://www.spitthatoutthebook.com Paige Wolf

    Great post! I have a similar one but definitely need to check out a few of these. The only thing I would add is to donate the women’s clothing to http://www.careerwardrobe.org, a local nonprofit similar to Dress for Success but with a broader mission and Philly-centric reach :) http://www.spitthatoutthebook.com/2011/04/yes-you-can-recycle-that-too/

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brad-Aronson-Author-Page/172730906176262 Brad Aronson

      Thanks Paige. I’ll add career wardrobe in the next few days.

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  • http://twitter.com/appleshinenyc appleshinenyc

    As a professional organizing service, we always encourage our clients to donate and recycle as much as possible. Thanks for compiling such an extensive list, Brad!

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brad-Aronson-Author-Page/172730906176262 Brad Aronson

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • NANDY

    THANK YOU!!!! it really helped me…. i needed this for my article……

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  • http://www.socialstorehouse.com Social Storehouse

    Hey Brad – we started http://www.socialstorehouse.com as a project to help connect people with direct donations. Give it a look – we’d sure like you to share with your audience. Thanks!

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      Thanks for the comment. Looks like you guys have a good idea. Good luck with it. Brad

  • http://www.renaissanceitnow.com/ Brad Castro

    Great collection of resources, Brad.

    In some areas, certain nonprofits and thrift stores will pick up donations from your own door step.

    We get contacted every couple of months by Easter Seals as well as a couple of Texas-based charities letting us know when they’re going to have a truck in our area and asking if we have anything to donate.

    It’s a great motivator for us procrastinator types – I’ve been giving away a lot of physical books.

    The convenience and decluttering benefits of going the Kindle route for me outweigh the nostalgia of the physical book (although I find it easier to do so one box at a time vs. the trauma of all at once).

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for the suggestion. Great idea to call some of your local nonprofits to see if they do pick ups.

      I agree about the books. For some reason, it’s hard to part with books. The Kindle has helped me cut down on my number of books, although I do sometimes miss giving my hard copy books away to someone I know would love to read them.

  • http://www.booksforamerica.org Steve Hersey

    In the Washington, DC area you can donate books to Books for America. We build and improve reading libraries in schools, shelters and many other organizations! You can also ship children’s books to us. Our website is http://www.booksforamerica.org. Thanks!

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      Thanks Steve. I just added this to the list.

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  • Jon

    Thanks for compiling and publishing this list. I joined freecycle and am planning on donating video games and DVD’s as well.

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      You’re welcome.

  • http://www.upspringonline.com Alison

    Don’t forget Habitat for Humanity. You can donate appliances and they will come and pick them up! If you live in Philadelphia, check out habitatphiladelphia.org

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      Thanks Ali. I just added the Habitat Stores to the post. They have 852 locations from which they pick-up.

  • Jenny

    Thank you so much for compiling and posting this list. I generally take my items to our local Salvation Army store, but they don’t accept everything, and they tend to overflow with things like stuffed animals. I am glad to have other places to donate to!!

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you appreciated the post and thanks for donating your stuff.

  • Zoe

    Great list, thanks, Brad! Freecycle, a local Yahoo group operating in many cities, will let you post and give away almost anything. I love meeting the people who receive my stuff, like the head-over-heels rancher who looks stunning in my wedding dress, the teacher whose class inherited our doll collection, and the grandma who was so excited for her grandchildren to use our outdoor furniture. No tax deduction this way, but the feeling makes up for it. Also, Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation accepts and refurbishes musical instruments, making them available for young musicians who can’t afford to rent them. And The Diaper Bank accepts disposable diapers (open packs are fine)–you can read on their web site about the sad measures poor families take to get by without enough diapers.

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      These are great suggestions. I just added all of them to the article.

      Awesome Freecycle stories.

      Thanks Zoe!

  • Vicki Solot

    Thanks for all this good information. I’m in the middle of doing a major clean out and can’t stand to throw anything away. This is hugely helpful!

    • http://www.bradaronson.com/about/ Brad Aronson

      Glad it’s helpful. Thanks for the feedback, Vicki.

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