Whether you’re moving or cleaning a loved one’s home after they pass, donating household items is a part of life. Taking the time to get rid of the things you no longer need can be therapeutic, and it also clears the way for new belongings.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Where You Can Drop Off Household Items
- Places That Offer Free Donation Pick Up
- Frequently Asked Questions: Donating Household Items
However, donating household goods isn’t always that straightforward. Charities and nonprofit groups have limits to what they’ll accept, and it can be confusing to know where you can make donations.
When you donate things you no longer need, they have the opportunity to be used by someone who does have use for them. Not only is this eco-friendly, but it’s also a way to do good in your community. Even better, these donations are often tax-deductible.
With that in mind, where can you donate household items? Whether you’re cleaning out a parent’s house after they die or spring cleaning, this guide is for you. Continue reading to learn where you can drop off items, get free donation pick up, or find the best local charities.
We also have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Where You Can Drop Off Household Items
The most common way to donate your household items is through a drop-off donation. This is when you visit a donation center in-person, transporting your household items yourself. There are a lot of great, well-known donation centers that allow drop-off items, but you’ll want to be aware of what they take before you make the trip yourself.
First, the most popular place to drop off household items is Goodwill. Goodwill has over 3,200 stores across the nation, so it’s usually easy to find a location near you. Keep in mind that they have both stores and drop-off centers, and they’re not typically the same place. Make sure you’re dropping your belongings off at a Goodwill location that accepts drop-offs.
When it comes to what Goodwill takes, new and gently used items are collected and sold in their store and online. Goodwill also accepts electronics and devices which are recycled in your local community. Goodwill also provides career assistance and training to those in need, including veterans, those who lost their jobs, and people with disabilities.
Items Goodwill accepts: Clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, books, media, dishes, tools, and sports equipment
2. Habitat for Humanity Restore
Another nonprofit is Habitat for Humanity. This is a global nonprofit that collects both monetary and physical donations to build and renovate affordable housing for those in need. Though they’re mostly known for their home build projects, they also have a ReStore that resells household belongings to fund its humanitarian efforts.
They accept some unique things at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, including building materials, home accessories, and even large pieces of furniture. However, these can be harder to find in some parts of the country.
Items Habitat for Humanity accepts: Building materials, furniture, appliances, and vehicles
3. Local libraries
Did you know you can also make donations at your local libraries? It’s true, and this is an option a lot of people don’t think about. You can donate all types of things beyond books at your local library. Libraries repurpose these donations for their community centers, but they often sell them to raise funds.
When you make a donation to your local library, you know you’re doing a world of good. Any funds raised from donations go toward library events, community initiatives, and special activities.
Items libraries accept: Books, DVDs, CDs, multimedia tools, vinyl records, textbooks
If you have a lot of baby items in your home, it can be hard to get rid of these things you no longer need. This is one of the most common things to declutter. Whether your children have outgrown these childhood items or you’re clearing out the attic, you can donate baby toys and supplies to Baby2Baby.
Baby2Baby is a nonprofit that collects baby gear for shelters, children’s hospitals, and families in need. They accept most any new and gently used items that are used by babies or their caretakers. Since these items are typically only used for a few years, they make great donations. If you’re wondering where to donate used toys, this is a great pick.
Items Baby2Baby accepts: Clothing, diaper bags, backpacks, diapers, beds, cribs, blankets, car seats, and more
5. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is another well-known place to donate goods. Salvation Army Family Stores are a way to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers. These are created in communities to help those suffering from addiction.
There are many Salvation Army drop-off locations throughout the country, and they accept a wide range of household goods. Knowing your old belongings are serving a higher purpose is a great source of comfort.
Items the Salvation Army accepts: Clothing, furniture, vehicles, household goods, appliances
6. eBay Giving Works
Another alternative if you’re familiar with the eBay auction platform is eBay Giving Works. This online marketplace is designed to make it super easy to donate to charity. When you auction items off through the eBay Giving Works program, customers donate a percentage of the final sale to a charity of their choice.
Items eBay Giving Works accepts: Anything
7. Local food banks
If you’re cleaning a home with a lot of leftover food, don’t let it go to waste. Too many people go hungry, and we can all work together to solve the hunger crisis within our communities. Local food banks and pantries bring non-expired, healthy food to their community through a variety of outreach programs.
You can donate more than non-perishable, shelf-stable food as well. Food banks often accept fresh produce, frozen foods, packaged baked goods, and even pet supplies. Some also are in need of cooking ware and kitchen supplies.
Items food banks accept: Non-expired, unused food items
Places That Offer Free Donation Pick Up
Did you know some places offer free donation pick-up? These options below will pick up large items from your home, making it easier to donate household items. Whether you’re cleaning someone’s home or downsizing, you don’t always have time to visit a donation center yourself.
8. Habitat for Humanity
While you can donate things at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore yourself using their drop-off program, they also have a great option for pick-up. If you’re donating large furniture, cars, or appliances, many local chapters will drive to you for pickup. This makes the process a lot simpler and more accessible for all, no matter what you’re donating.
Items Habitat for Humanity accepts: Vehicles, appliances, building materials, and large furniture
9. Pickup Please
Pickup Please is one of the fastest, most convenient ways to donate a variety of things without leaving your home. Created by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Pickup Please coordinates with local movers to pick up your household goods within 24 hours.
All household belongings are donated to private companies through an annual bid. This funding goes to support local, state, and national programs for the Vietnam Veterans of America. Though they’re only available in a few states, Pickup Please is a great, beneficial service.
Items Pickup Please accepts: Clothing, shoes, jewelry, house and glassware, books, toys, radios, electronics, and tools
Another pickup option is GreenDrop. This organization only serves the east coast, but it’s used by well-known organizations like the American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. GreenDrop offers free donation pickup to raise funds for these organizations.
In addition, GreenDrop has a unique service known as Home Clean-Out. This is a program that helps you clean and donate large volumes of things, including a professional concierge. Having someone to help throughout your donation makes GreenDrop a top pick.
Items GreenDrop accepts: Clothing, household goods, electronics, toys, furniture, and more
11. Furniture Banks
Next, Furniture Banks helps those in need access basic furniture in good condition. Everyone deserves to have a comfortable, functional, and warm space to call home. Located in 34 states across the nation, Furniture Banks will schedule a free furniture pick up from your home if you qualify.
The furniture collected by Furniture Banks helps battered women and children, immigrants, the working poor, and the previously homeless. Once donated, your items are redirected directly into the hands of families that need help the most.
Items Furniture Bank accepts: Furniture, vehicles, and recreational vehicles
12. The Arc
The Arc has one simple purpose: to protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With over 600 local chapters and community programs, this is a great option if you’re looking to donate your household items.
Your donation is sold by The Arc in its local thrift stores. These are used to fund initiatives and programs for Arc chapters across the country. Check your local Arc chapter to see if they do pickups near you.
Items the Arc accepts: Furniture, clothing, shoes, books, kitchen items, vehicles, electronics, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions: Donating Household Items
Donating your household items is an act of kindness, but it can also be confusing. Here are the most frequently asked questions about donations and their answers. When in doubt, contact your donation center to see your local regulations.
Are there any household items that you can’t donate?
There are some household items you can’t donate. Most donation centers only accept new or gently-used items. This means if anything is no longer functional or sanitary, it’s not eligible for donation. Things like carpets, mattresses, or used personal care items are not accepted because they pose a sanitation risk.
Each organization has its own rules and requirements. It’s best to check with the specific nonprofit when planning your donation. The last thing you want to hear is “no” when you’re bringing in a large donation.
How do you find a local charity that will take household items?
The best way to find a local charity is to do some research. Searching “household donation charity in [City]” is the best way to get started. Professional organizers can also point you in the right direction with groups available in your region.
Don’t be afraid to talk to friends and family. Most people have donated goods at one point or another. Talking to your loved ones about places they’ve donated or volunteered is a great place to begin.
What can you do with things you can’t donate?
Sometimes, there are things you can’t donate. Either these things are too used, no longer functional, or are simply too outdated. When it comes to these things, you have a few different options:
- Gift: If there’s someone in your life who might appreciate this item, ask them. Sometimes things are too personal to donate, but they make great gifts.
- Recycle: There are many recycling nonprofits and programs that help everyday people recycle things in an eco-friendly way. For instance, old clothes can be donated into fabric scraps, turning them into new fashion.
- Trash: Ultimately, some things will need to be thrown away. Learn to recognize when there is no more value to be found in a specific item. It’s okay to throw things away when the time comes.
Make Your Own Donation
In this guide above, we explored some of the best donation programs for household goods. Whether you’re spring cleaning or emptying a loved one’s home, donating these goods you no longer need is a great way to give back. Not only will they be appreciated by someone else, but they also raise money for charity.
Donating things you no longer need doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you’re mindful of the quality of your donations as well as the donation requirements, you’re on the right track. Feel good about making this decision to donate things you no longer need.