Household items that you no longer need can be a great resource for local charitable organizations and the individuals or families they serve through charitable outreach programs. Rather than tossing out home goods that you no longer need but are still usable, donate them to a nonprofit organization in your community.
Finding Local Places to Donate Household Items
In most communities, there are likely several charities requesting donations that would be happy to accept your unwanted household items. Whether you're looking to donate home building materials, used furniture, home decor, kitchen items, appliances, electronics, clothing, or other goods, there are plenty of charitable organizations that will gladly accept your items. Since household items can be pretty bulky, it's generally best to give your items to a charitable group near you. Examples include:
- Thrift stores: Identify thrift stores operated by charitable groups in your area, as these items typically sell donated items as a way of generating revenue to support various charitable endeavors. Examples of groups that operate thrift stores throughout the U.S. include AMVETS, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. Some locally based organizations also operate retail stores where they sell donated items to raise money. The best way to find them is simply to search online for thrift stores in your area.
- Relief groups: Some charitable organizations gather household items to distribute to people who have lost their own possessions due to natural disasters, fires, fleeing domestic violence, and other difficult circumstances. Research to see if there are women's shelters in your area, as well as disaster recovery groups and other organizations that help people get back on their feet after a tragedy. These groups may take items to distribute directly to individuals and families rather than to sell as a source of funding. Contacting your local United Way or American Red Cross can be a great way to identify such groups in your area.
- Church outreach programs: It's not unusual for church groups to collect household items for distribution to needy families in the local area, as well as to people in need in surrounding impoverished communities or areas that have been particularly hard-hit by natural disasters. Contact large churches in your area to find out if there are any accepting household items. If the ones you contact are not doing so, ask if they are aware of any churches or other groups in the area that are currently seeking these kinds of donations.
- Electronics recycling programs: United Cerebral Palsy operates an electronics recycling program in some communities. They accept donations of old computers and many other types of electronics, which are recycled to raise money for the organization. Other programs, such as Recycling for Charities, accept donations of cell phones and other wireless devices for recycling and allow donors to designate a charity to receive a portion of the proceeds.
Getting Donated Items to Charitable Groups
Most charitable groups that accept donations of household items have designated drop-off locations, such as thrift stores and remote collection sites. Some will even come to you to pick-up items, particularly big pieces such as furniture and appliances. Once you identify one or more organizations to which you'd like to make donations, simply review their website or call their office to verify what types of items they accept, if they'll pick up the items from you, or where you should deliver your donation.
Keep a Record of Your Donation
When donating household items to charity, be sure to ask for a donation receipt. Depending on your tax situation, you may be able to deduct the value of the items you share in this way. Even if you can't, it's good to keep track of what items you donate just to give yourself an idea of the overall size and impact of your efforts to get items into the hand of those who can use them and out of landfills while they are still in working order.