Easy Ways to Donate Your Unwanted Items

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Clothing donation box

A cluttered home can become overwhelming. Instead of dumping your unwanted items in the trash when you’re cleaning the house, donate them to a charity.

Donating clothes, furniture and other things is an easy way to help people in need, claim a tax deduction and lessen the load on your local landfill. Here are some easy ways to donate:

Give only usable items. Charities don’t want your trash. They want donated items that are in good condition, contain all of their pieces and don’t have stains or tears.

Goodwill—one of the largest non-profit chains that takes donations—doesn’t accept items that have been recalled, banned or don’t meet current safety standards. For specialty items such as mattresses, computers and vehicles, Goodwill recommends calling your local store to see what they will accept.

Choose a charity. Bringing your items to a drop-off location is easy. Goodwill has a map at the top of its homepage to find donations sites. Search online for other charities that will take your items.

Drop-off bins are another option. Goodwill cautions that many goods in donation bins end up supporting for-profit groups. Before putting something in a donation bin, check if the bin has a mission statement printed on the front that describes how the donated goods are used or how funds are distributed. The bins should also display contact and tax receipt information, a recognizable name and a logo.

Some charities will pick up donations from your home if you have a large number of items to give. It’s common to get a flyer in the mail from a charity picking up donations in your neighborhood on a certain day, so look for the colorful flyers in your mailbox. You can also search for these pick-up charities using a simple Google search.

Donating specific items

Books: If you have a lot of books to unload, your local library may be your best bet. It may sell them or keep them. BetterWorldBooks has a drop box finder where you can find nearby places to donate books in good condition, which are then sold online to raise money for non-profit literacy organizations.

Electronics: Old computers, gadgets and other tech can often be donated to your local recycling center. Call them first to see what they accept. Or search online for electronics recyclers, such as at E-cycling Central, to find recyclers near you. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends deleting all personal information from your electronics.

Toys: Clean, gently-used toys can be donated to a number of charities, including thrift stores, such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army. You can also check with local shelters, charities that benefit children, preschools and churches.

Freecycle is another option for toys or anything else you want to give away; however, the items may go directly to a person instead of a charity. Be sure not to share your address, and always meet in a public place to make the exchange.

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