Where To Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff.

January 19, 2009

If you guys are anything like me, you are always finding stuff in your house that you no longer need and looking for a way to donate or recycle it. The problem is…where do you send it? Who do you give it to? And will they want it? While most communities have charity centers and the like, some do not – so you might have to get creative to be able to donate the goods that you no longer want and keep them out of the landfills. No sense in throwing something away if another person can get some use out of it! I have assembled this list of different ways to donate or recycle your unwanted stuff, and if you have anything to add to the list, please do so in the comments as we can all use more tips.

  • Prescription or Sun Glasses – As my wife wears glasses, I know just how expensive these can be! So to help out people who maybe cannot afford them by donating to places like OneSight.org, LensCrafters, New Eyes For The Needy, or the local Lion’s Club.
  • Art supplies – Can often be donated to schools, churches and day cares for use in student art projects.
  • Packing peanuts – Take them all to shipping stores (Mailboxes Etc.,), who will gladly take them off your hands.
  • Books – Donate them to the library for used book sales, sell on Amazon.com, Ebay.com or Half.com. You could also offer them on Craigslist.org or Freecycle.org as well.
  • Food – Canned goods (say you bought too much) can be donated to homeless shelters or food banks as long as the expiration date has not passed.
  • Computers – Schools will oftentimes take used computers, just be sure to call them first. If your local schools don’t want yours, try the National Cristina Foundation or Goodwill.
  • Wire clothes hangers – Give to local dry cleaners for reuse.
  • Cellphones & Ink Cartridges – Usable cellphones can usually be donated to women’s shelters to be programmed for 911 calls. Ink cartridges and old cellphones can go to some retailers for recycling, or you can put them to even better use by donating them to a program like Cure Recycling, which helps cure childhood cancer.
  • Clothing – Along with the usual suspects of Goodwill and the Salvation Army, you might want to consider something like Dress For Success, which assists low-income women looking for employment.
  • Excess Building Materials – Check and see if there is a Habitat For Humanity ReStore in your local area, so people like me can buy your excess/used stuff and the money goes to Habitat.
  • Furniture – Try local shelters, disabled veterans associations, The Red Cross, the AARP, or local churches.
  • Magazines – Instead of your latest copy getting a single read and heading straight for the recycling bin, see if you can give them to schools, hospitals, senior citizen homes, jails, YMCA’s, libraries, or local coffee shops.
  • Shoes – Approximately 300 million kids around the world don’t have shoes, so don’t let your slightly used ones go to the dump! Check out Soles4Souls, Shoe4Africa, or The Shoe Bank.
  • Sports Equipment – Your kids stopped playing soccer years ago, so why keep their stuff in the garage getting moldy? Instead, donate your sports equipment to Sports Gift.
  • Prom or Wedding Dresses – Check out Glass Slipper Project, Prom Spot, Donate My Dress, or Making Memories.

Looking for even more? Check these out see even more ways of donating or recycling your unwanted stuff:

  • Excess Access – They link donations of business and household items with the wish-lists of nearby nonprofits that can provide pick-ups or accept drop-offs.
  • Dump & Run – They desire to reduce the amount of waste generated at Colleges and Universities by extending the useful life of items no longer needed by the student community at years end.
  • Recycle.net – Established to promote the trade of scrap & waste materials
  • Throwplace.com – A site where users may list goods they wish to give away to others. Charities, Businesses or Individuals that are registered are able to search the site and make requests for items of interest.

So what did I miss? If you see something missing or an organization that should be listed, please be sure to leave a comment letting everyone know!

Filed in: Recycling • Tags: , ,

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (12)

  1. David says:

    Glad to help Jennae!

  2. Great post, David. It’s so important to reuse unwanted stuff. I did a post on the same topic encouraging people to donate unwanted xmas gifts to their local charity shop – the charity shop then resells the stuff to raise money for their cause.

    I’m in the UK though – maybe you don’t have the same kinda thing in the US? Charity shops are a very efficient way of dealing with unwanted stuff: you get rid of it, someone else gets it cheap and the charity raises funds. It’s a win-win-win situation! Plus, the stuff is saved from landfill (for a while, at least!).

  3. David says:

    We have Goodwill and the Salvation Army, which are kind of along the same lines.

  4. This is an awesome and pretty comprehensive list. I have boxes full of packing peanuts that I haven’t wanted to throw away. Now I know who will take them :)

  5. Nice big list, and very timely. I have sooo much stuff to go through.

  6. Patrick says:

    Just a head’s up – many Goodwill locations will not accept computers or computer accessories of any kind – including mice, keyboards, printers, etc. I think there are several reasons (not enough people to ensure the items work properly), liability (nasty virus?), etc. So call before stopping by with a trunk full of printers and other accessories! I know I wish I would have. :)

  7. Squawkfox says:

    Great idea for donating and sharing magazines. After spending eons on time waiting for knee surgery and sitting in doctors’ offices, I very much appreciated all the donated magazines. Nothing eases the mind more than magazines in a waiting room. :)

  8. Lisa says:

    Freecycle.org is another great way to give away stuff you don’t need to others who can use it–and vice versa.

  9. RecycleCindy says:

    Great list of locations and sites for donations. Also I know in the US that Goodwill is taking e-waste like old TVs, computers, and other such electronic items at all their stores so that people don’t dump them.

  10. David says:

    A few months ago Taos had a plastic recycling day, only #1 and #2 plastic. And they have another one coming up this month, but again, only #1 and #2. I bring mine to Santa Fe or Denver when I go.

  11. Kelly Orndorff says:

    We are still trying to find somewhere to recycle plastic (we’re new to Angel Fire area). Does Taos have anything yet?

  12. Judy says:

    You can donate your stuff on Givmo (https://www.givmo.com)! Not only do you save it from the landfill but we donate a $1 to charity for every item so you’re doubling your impact.

    Giftflow (http://www.giftflow.org) is another giving community.

    Oh and when I click the link for Dump & Run, it doesn’t go to an active page. Maybe their domain registration expired?