Where to Donate Different Items: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated: 4/14/22

As a forever work-in-progress minimalist, I'm always looking for ways to smartly let go of items in my home. I try to limit incoming items, but somehow things pile up, and every once in a while I find myself with things to get rid of. To avoid anything ending up in a landfill, here are some places I've found helpful to consciously say goodbye to things.

Do you have something you're trying to get rid of and don't know where to bring it? Leave it in a comment and I'll add it to this list. My goal is for this list to be as comprehensive as possible to avoid further pollution and to give items a new home. (Please note: some of the below links will include referral codes, so if you sign up I might receive compensation of some sort. Questions? Leave a comment below and I'll address it!)

Consignment/BST (Buy, Sell, Trade) Shops - Do you have clothing and accessories that are still trendy and in good shape? Consider bringing them to a consignment or BST store (like Plato's Closet, for example). Here you can get cash money or store credit for your items. These stores can be a bit picky with what they accept (understandably), so make sure you don't waste your or the shop employee's time by bringing items that should be donated. I recommend bringing your stuff here first, and whatever they don't take can be donated to a place like Goodwill.

Goodwill (or similar thrift shops) - This is where you can bring pretty much anything that is in good shape to resell. Clothing, toys, housewares and decor, shoes, bags, the list goes on and on. Some stores won't accept things like furniture or medical supplies, so it would be wise to give them a call and ask first before lugging everything over.

Online Reselling - There are SO many options for reselling your old items, but such a large market too! Personal recommendations are -- Etsy for vintage; eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, and ThredUP for vintage or modern; Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist for just about anything (it seems). This option works best if you have the time to photograph, list, and store these items in your home until they sell.

For Days - I found out about For Days this past year. They have a program where you can send worn and damaged clothing to them to be recycled. I recommend reserving this option for the truly tattered or irreparable items. No need to recycle clothing that's in good shape to wear, ya know?

Knickey - Similar to For Days, Knickey offers a service where you can recycle used (clean! obviously!) underwear, bras, and tights.

Animal Shelters - Old towels, blankets, sheets, and pillows are always warmly accepted at my local animal shelters. As well as pet food, costumes, and other supplies. I recommend calling ahead of time to ensure they accept the items you have. We wouldn't want to inundate them with things they don't need; they're busy taking care of those sweet animals!

Grocery Stores - Do you have a hundred plastic shopping bags floating around? Even though you think you only use reusable bags? I swear they just appear somehow!! Anyway, most grocery stores will have a receptacle in their entranceways to collect used plastic shopping bags for recycling. Keep an eye out the next time you go shopping, and bring your bags next time!

Women/Children's Shelters - Feminine care items, razors, hygienic products, clothing, shoes, and more. Call ahead to ensure they are accepting items.

Food Banks/Soup Kitchens - This might be obvious but -- non-perishable foods! Also some places might take perishable food, but be sure to call ahead and ask. This is also a bit random but I had a bunch of plastic fork/knife/spoon packets wrapped in plastic from takeout orders over the past year, and I brought them to a church in my neighborhood. They gladly accepted them. Think outside of the box!

Town Recycling Centers - I've helped out family members with drop-offs at recycling centers. This is a great option for things like mattresses, old electronics, paint cans, cardboard, and more. I might sound like a broken record, but call or look up online ahead of time to see what's accepted and what isn't.

Yard Sale - Man oh man, do I miss having yard sales. My town requires permits so I haven't had one in a long while, but hopefully one day soon. You can post on Craigslist or other yard/estate sale websites to advertise, or go old school and make some signs to hang up in your neighborhood! This is a simple way to get rid of practically anything, big or small. Plus you can make some money to buy lunch or coffee for the people who helped you set up.

Swap with Friends or Straight-Up Give Things to Friends or Neighbors in Need - Just have a chat about things with your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers. You never know if someone you work with might need a rolling pin and you were just about to throw out yours because you never use it. Or what about that dress that doesn't fit you anymore but your sister has loved for five years? Give it new life!

OneSight - OneSight is an independent nonprofit committed to eradicating the global vision care crisis in our lifetime. They dispense 100% new eyewear to patients, but they accept eyewear donations. Donated eyewear is sent to several Lions organizations and is used to support their domestic and international programming. Find out more at onesight.org.

VSP Global - VSP® Eyes of Hope® collects and distributes new and gently used eyewear to help people in need across the globe. Learn more at VSP Global's site.

Electronics - Best Buy's website claims they have collected over 2 billion pounds of e-waste and appliances, making them the nation’s largest retail collector of e-waste. You can recycle up to three items per household per day, including computers, phones, printers and ink, and more.

Books - Old or gently used books can be donated to so many places, especially libraries, shelters, or schools. Remember to reach out to your local organization first.

Uses for old K-cups - some brands of coffee pods claim to be recyclable (depending on where you live) but there are other uses for the plastic cups. I peel off the lid, dump the grounds into the Lomi or compost, and use the cup for: storing small items like toothpicks, paper clips, etc., painting/crafting, sprouting seedlings, and more.

Vases/pots - I've recently learned that some florists might accept donations of gently used vases and flower pots. Check with them first, as always.

Finally: don't forget to Google. It is your best friend when it comes to this kind of stuff. There are so many programs that vary from city to city, town to town, that a quick search could turn up so many different results!

Disclaimer: Please do not donate your cat. Thank you! ;)