You’ve purged and downsized. You’ve made great strides in your journey to simplify your life. Now comes the time to donate your decluttered items.
But where? Where do you donate your decluttered stuff? Especially if it’s still in great condition and could be appreciated by someone else.
I faced this issue recently when our family downsized from a 3-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom apartment. We decluttered in several stages, but we eventually simplified to the point where the only items left to address were sentimental.
I found myself needing to donate a lot of perfectly good stuff. I was also holding onto items that had wonderful memories attached to them, but I was ready to let go of the item and only hold on to the memory.
That said, I couldn’t merely take these items to Goodwill. For the sentimental items, it wouldn’t appropriately honor the memory. But where else could I take them?
If you’re currently facing this issue on your journey to simplify, I’ve compiled this list of 15 different places where you can donate your decluttered items. Even if you haven’t yet tackled the sentimental stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to have options of donation places beyond your local Goodwill.
When it comes to simplifying, donating is usually a better path to take than trying to sell all of your items one by one.
1| Adorned in Grace
This one may be dear to some people’s hearts. Nevertheless, after moving 4 times in the last 8 years, I was getting tired of finding a new place to store the huge box that held my wedding dress each time we moved. I felt that it just took up space and wouldn’t be something I’d wear again. I’d also had the experience of trying on my mom’s wedding gown and didn’t feel the experience was compelling enough to cause me to keep it for my own daughter to try on in the future.
So, I donated my wedding dress to Adorned in Grace, a non-profit second-hand wedding dress store in the Pacific Northwest that channels the proceeds towards helping victims of human trafficking.
Sure, I knew of consignment stores in the area where I could take my wedding dress and try to make a small profit off of it. However, too many years had passed since my wedding and they are usually strict with how old the dresses are so that they have the most current styles and can make a profit themselves.
I had also listed my dress on second-hand wedding dress websites that work in a similar way that consignment stores do. All I got were a few low-ball offers from brides on a super tight budget.
Ultimately, I felt that donating my dress to a charity that’s for a good cause would do the memory of my wedding justice. Not squeaking out whatever money I could from it.
By donating my wedding dress to Adorned in Grace I would pass along my wedding memory so that it could be a part of another bride’s wedding memory.
Lastly, I knew that the proceeds of donating my dress would go to helping women in need – the victims of human trafficking.
Another great place to donate your wedding dress? Angel Gowns – they repurpose wedding dresses or children’s christening gowns into custom attire used in final photos and burial services for families that lost their babies.
An object you wore on a cherished day could provide support and encouragement to families grappling with an unimaginable loss. This is priceless.
READ ALSO: 8 Reasons Why It Is So Hard to Declutter
2| Quilts for Kids
If you have excess quilts you no longer us, Quilts for Kids is a great place to donate them.
I have a wonderful memory of making a special Broadway-themed quilt with my mom before I went off to college to major in Musical Theatre. I have pictures of us making the quilt, planning it out, and of finally holding up the finished product, beaming with a sense of accomplishment and teamwork.
However, I realized that I haven’t actually used the quilt itself in over 10 years. I keep telling myself that I can always display it on a wall or have it to show my daughter. But it doesn’t mean to my daughter what it means to me.
Now that my husband and I have a certain decorating style, the quilt no longer fits in our house. Honestly, the quilt has sat in a large plastic tub for years.
At first, I had a hard time coming to terms with this. How could I get rid of this? Wouldn’t it be like throwing away the memory of making it with my mom?
No, it would not. Because the memory is in my heart. And it’s summed up in the beaming smiles on our faces in the picture where we’re holding up the finished quilt.
When I looked for places to donate the quilt, I found Quilts for Kids. They take family quilts that are no longer used, whether they’re heirlooms or from a family that loves to quilt. Then they donate the quilts to kids staying in a hospital for an extended period of time due to severe sickness, disease, cancer, or terminal illness.
Right then I knew that’s where I would donate my quilt.
Perhaps there’s a child or teen out there who has a love of theatre or the arts but isn’t able to pursue that passion because they’re in the hospital. Such a child would appreciate my Broadway-themed quilt. I boxed up the quilt, mailed it out, and received an email a few days later that my quilt had been received.
It put a huge smile on my face.
Do you have an extra-loved quilt that is too worn to pass on or that you can’t part with? Simply cut out a square of the quilt and frame it.
3| One Warm Coat
An excess of winter coats is something we may hold onto “just in case.” When decluttering, we may find reasons to justify keeping more winter coats than we truly need.
Also, just like anything else we own, winter coats can hold sentimental value, causing us to hold on to them unnecessarily.
“It’s a fur coat.”
“I climbed a mountain in it.”
“I was wearing it when I met my spouse.”
These are all hypothetical and valid reasons as to why we hold on to coats we no longer need. I don’t mean to trivialize momentous occasions at all, but letting go of the physical object is not letting go of the memory behind it.
Memories are not held in objects. Especially if the object is no longer serving us.
If, for whatever reason, you truly can’t part with a coat then just keep it. But if you are serious about decluttering anything in your life that doesn’t allow you to move forward and live with intention, then don’t hesitate.
Instead, donate coats to One Warm Coat. They give coats to those in need. This is especially great for kids coats since they outgrow them so fast!
Rest assured that your donated coat will go to someone in need.
4| Dress For Success
If you have professional attire or business suits that no longer fit, Dress for Success is a great place to donate them. Clothes the Deal and Career Gear are two other places that receive donated work attire as well.
Dress for Success helps “women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools” to succeed in both work and life. They also help businesses conduct donation drives as well. They have numerous locations worldwide. Here is a link to their different locations for donation purposes.
Career Gear accepts new and gently used professional business attire for men only. This includes suits, dress shoes, ties, briefcases, belts, dress pants, blazers, sport coats, and even new dress socks. Here is a list of what they do and do not accept.
Clothes the Deal offers a Dress to Impress workshop which helps job seekers not only receive the attire they need to attend interviews but the coaching they need as well to help them land a job.
Suiting Warriors helps outfit veterans who are job searching or transitioning back into civilian life.
5| Women’s Shelters
Pretty much any and every baby item you can think of can be donated to a local women’s shelter.
Baby clothes, toddler clothes, blankets, crib sheets, cribs, strollers, and every other item of baby gear. Goodwill doesn’t take baby gear for liability reasons, but many women’s shelters may.
Unused diapers, wipes, or unopened formula are tricky to declutter but can be a godsend to a mom who is escaping domestic violence with no money, just the clothes on her back, and her kids in tow.
Maternity clothes are easy to donate to women’s shelters as well since they will have the ability to give it directly to an expecting mom in need.
6| Child Care Centers
While we’re on the topic, another great place to donate baby or toddler gear is a child care center, daycare, or preschool.
This wouldn’t be the place to donate diapers or unused formula, but it is a great place to donate toys! Train sets, mega blocks, play kitchens, tricycles, Little People sets, and more can be donated to a child care center or preschool.
They will be extremely grateful for your generosity and of course the children there will enjoy playing with them!
TIP FOR KIDS STUFF:
Keep a “Donate” bin in your kid’s closet or another accessible place in your home. This makes it easy to drop the outgrown items (clothes, toys, gear, etc.) in the bin when it’s time to move on to the next size clothes or the next developmental stage of toys.
7| Church Donation Centers
Continuing with the topic of children, many churches will gladly receive your kids outgrown toys or baby gear if they could use them for their nursery or toddler rooms.
Churches are also places where people often turn to for help when they don’t know where else to go. If they don’t know where the nearest women’s shelter or homeless shelter is, they may just wander into the nearest church building and ask for help. For this reason and many others, some churches have thrift shops connected to them.
Church donation centers may take any and all items, serving as a one-stop-drop. Just be sure to call beforehand to confirm that they do accept the items you’ll be bringing in.
8| Foster Care Centers
Imagine for a second the feeling a child has when they’re removed from their home and placed somewhere new. Imagine that on top of this, the child has minimal or zero belongings.
Children in the foster care system need a myriad of normal kid stuff. Whether they’re babies or teenagers, children need stuff.
The reality is that many families that receive foster children may not have much notice as to the age or clothing size for the children that will soon appear on their doorstep. Foster Care Closets may allow these families to shop their store for free in order to provide for these kids.
Here’s a brief list of items that can be donated to Foster Care Closets for children in need:
- Suitcases / Duffel Bags
- Backpacks / Lunch Boxes
- School supplies
- Personal hygiene products (unused, unopened)
- Purses / Jewelry
- Swim Suits
9| Stuffed Animals for Emergencies
What? There’s a place to donate stuffed animals?! Moms everywhere rejoice!
Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) accepts donated stuffed animals in order to help children in traumatic and emotional situations feel safe. They especially provide stuffed animals to children affected by natural disasters. Here is a link to what they urgently need.
Be sure to launder the stuffed animals in the washer and dryer before sending them in the mail for donation. When I recently decluttered my daughter’s stuffed animals I involved her in the process by telling her they were going to kids who didn’t have any. She was immediately on board and willing to give her stuffies to other children.
10| Animal Shelters
Speaking of animals, animal shelters are often willing to accept used blankets and towels that you no longer need. Even decluttered sentimental items like old monogrammed towels and childhood blankets could be donated here. Just be sure to call and check first before dropping off a plethora of old blankets.
11| Operation Prom
Besides donating your wedding dress, any gently used prom dresses can be donated to Operation Prom. They help low-income teens (who are passing all their classes) attend their high school prom. The impressive part is that the entire operation behind the scenes is made up 100% of volunteers.
12| Soles 4 Souls
Donate your used shoes to Soles 4 Souls and help others in need of the basic necessity that is a pair of shoes. Visit the Donation Page to donate your own shoes or host a shoe drive. Here is a list of DSW stores where you can drop off your donation in exchange for 50 rewards points!
13| Free the Girls
Have you ever thrown your used bras in the trash thinking there was nothing else you could do with them? Next time, consider donating them to Free the Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking worldwide.
When you Donate Your Bra, women in developing countries can make a living selling second-hand bras in their country. This affords women economic independence and allows victims of sex trafficking a path to reintegrate back into their communities. Yes, donating your used bras could help women the world over.
14| Eyes of Hope
2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to the eyewear that they need. 2 billion! Eyes of Hope provides eye care and eyewear to people in need around the world. Gently used prescription glasses, readers, and sunglasses can all be donated through the Eye Make a Difference donation program. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to request a donation box.
15| Operation Paperback
Operation Paperback helps send books to deployed troops overseas. When you sign up as a Volunteer Shipper for Operation Paperback, you will be able to ship books directly to a service member or their family. Simply enter the genres and types of books you have when you apply to be a book shipper.
Donating Your Decluttered Stuff
Hopefully, this list has provided you with a few new and different places to donate your decluttered, and maybe even somewhat sentimental, items.
It’s always nice to know that the decluttered possessions you no longer need are being put to good use by someone else.