Nothing makes clutter clearing easier than knowing your household items, clothes, and shoes are going to a worthy cause. That's why donating is such a beautiful pursuit; it helps other people while freeing you of stuff you don't need any longer.
Below are some of the most popular things to donate, three places to donate them to, and tips on what to do before you donate.
It's hard to give away beloved books—so don't. Keep them, display them, and enjoy them. What about all of those books that you're not reading, though? Donate those. Knowing they will go to a good "home" makes the task of donating books much easier for me.
Places to Donate Books
- Operation Paperback donates books to troops overseas.
- Access Books collects books for relief shelters (think: victims of hurricanes, floods, etc.).
- Your local library will be glad to take your books.
Before you donate: Make sure you've removed any notes or small pieces of paper that may have found their way in between pages.
Again, you could recycle your old car by bringing it to a junkyard and be paid for its price in scrap metal, but why do that when many charities will take your old car and put them to good use? Bonus: You get a tax write-off.
Places to Donate Cars
- America's Car Donation Center accepts donations in all 50 states and allows you to choose the receiving charity.
- Public Radio Vehicle Donation Program—from the popular radio show Car Talk —will allow you to donate to your favorite radio station.
- Trade-in your car toward a new car.
Before you donate: Make sure to search every inch of the car for receipts or papers marked with any identifying information. Give your car a good cleaning, either by hand or via a car wash.
You could recycle your old cell phone, and most people put old cell phones in a box in the basement and forget about their existence until it's time to declutter. Put your cell phone back into use immediately.
Places to Donate Cell Phones
To recycle your non-cellular phone, take it to dump day or donate it.
Before you donate: Wipe your phone of any personal data, such as numbers, notes, and passwords.
Knowing that your clothes are going to a worthy cause makes them much easier to part with on a daily basis. Keep a donation bag or box in your closet at all times and slowly put the items you haven't worn in a while. When it's full, call the Vietnam Veterans of America (or your charity of choice) to come to pick up a bag or two.
Places to Donate Clothes
Before you donate: Clean your clothes.
Some people need to buy computers every year (the "early adopters"), and some like to rehab old computers. Either way, there are a lot of old computers floating around out there that are still in useable condition.
Places to Donate Computers
- Your local school system
- Your local library
Before you donate: Wipe the hard drive, removing any identifying or personal information. Do not count on the person taking your donation to do this for you.
Another great household item to donate is furniture. Only in rare cases would you recycle it, as most furniture will be useful to someone.
Places to Donate Furniture
- Salvation Army will pick up your furniture. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).
- Operation Homefront lets you choose military families for furniture donation.
- The Furniture Bank Network lets you donate your gently used furniture to persons in need, typically formerly homeless people trying to get back on their feet financially.
Before you donate: Dust it, clean it, and make sure there are no ragged, dangerous edges or nails sticking out that could potentially hurt someone.
Glasses and Eyewear
Eyewear is a great recycling option because glasses are always in demand.
Places to Donate Glasses and Eyewear
- Your local Lions Club
- Pearl Vision
Before you donate: Clean your glasses and, if you still have it, return them to their case for easier transport or mailing.
It's always a good idea to organize and declutter your kitchen twice a year to sweep for un-used or no-longer-used kitchen appliances. They take up valuable storage space that may be better used for appliances and foodstuffs you use every day.
Places to Donate Kitchen Appliances
Before you donate: Clean and find all of the accouterments like cords and attachments.
Old and unused linens hang around most homes. The best place to donate used linens is animal shelters where they are used to bathe animals. Another option is to donate them with your clothing donation.
Places to Donate Linens
- Animal shelters
- With your clothing donation
Before you donate: Wash the linens and call ahead to see if your local shelter is accepting donations.
This is a big one because many times we buy tools or a toolset for a specific project and then after we're done, the tools collect dust and take up valuable storage space.
Places to Donate Tools
- Habitat for Humanity
- Other construction-focused charity
Before you donate: You don't have to do much except box your tools up. Just make sure you don't have anything dangerous floating around in a box in case of someone roots around, i.e., small saws, nails, etc. Contain those items or label them and donate them separately.
IRS Guidance Explains Rules for Vehicle Donations. Internal Revenue Service.