Found: Best Places To Donate Your Old Clothes & Wares For Most Eco-Friendly Impact

August 18, 2017

Moving is a great time to go through, organize, and get rid of all the unnecessary things that you’ve acquired along the way.  It forces you to come to terms with how much stuff you own versus how much you actually need and use.  Currently, I am preparing for a large move overseas and, as a result, am furiously going through everything I own and asking myself if I actually need it.  In many cases, the answer is no, which has left me with boxes of stuff and the question of, “what do I do with it now?”  After doing a bit of research, I found a lot of organizations that can take your unwanted stuff so you can clear out the clutter and simplify your life.  Not only that, but you will be helping protect the environment by keeping stuff from ending up in landfills, and the money generated from your donation can go to help people in your community and around the world.

Where To Donate Your Old Stuff

Whether you’re planning a big move, reassessing what you really need before a big trip, or simply feeling inspired by the minimalism movement, the following organizations can help you find a home or use for things you no longer need.

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Most cell phone service providers offer an upgrade every two years, some even more frequently than that, so because of this, there are a lot of unused cell phones out there in the world.  As I was going through my stuff, I found three old cell phones…three!  Sure, they had broken screens, but the good news is that they don’t have to be working in order to donate them.  Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles your old phone for you and uses the money earned to provide calling cards so that troops can call home at no charge, allowing them to connect with their loved ones while they are overseas.  The organization also offers grants to aid veterans in making the transition back home.  You can donate your old cell phone, tablet, or MP3 player by mailing it in or going to one of their drop off locations.  Before donating, you can choose to do a factory reset on your device to remove any personal information; however, the organization works with the National Association for Information Destruction to wipe any hard drives before the phones are used again.

Goodwill

This is perhaps one of the most well-known donation organizations.  Goodwill has many retail and donation centers located throughout the US and Canada.  As kind of a one stop shop, they can take everything from clothing and shoes to household goods and furniture.  Even your old electronics can be donated here through their Reconnect program in their partnership with Dell.  You can take in your old desktop, laptop, printer, or gaming system, and they will refurbish and resell what they can and recycle the rest.  Whatever cannot be reused will be broken down and recycled responsibly.  Most of the revenue that the organization receives is generated through the sales at their retail stores.  Goodwill helps people with job training and placement, and in 2016, the organization generated $5.71 billion in revenue and was able to use 87% of that to directly help people in the community.  Not only are your donations helping people develop marketable work skills, but by giving your clothes a second life, you will be keeping pounds of textiles and environmentally sensitive materials from ending up in the landfills.  You can use their locator to find a donation site near you.

Where To Donate Your Old Stuff

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Habitat for Humanity is best known for their construction projects, building houses to provide shelter, a basic human necessity to all.  A lesser known way to contribute to this organization is by donating to one of their home improvement stores.  The Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, and building materials to the public at a fraction of the price and the money is then used on one of their many projects.  This is a great way to give your old sofa a new life or to get rid of leftover supplies from your latest home renovation project.  You will not only clear out your own home but will be helping to give someone else a comfortable place to live.  Visit their website to learn more about their ReStores and to find a location near you.

Planet Aid

If you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, you may have noticed one of Planet Aid’s bright yellow donation bins.  Not only will they accept your clothes that are in good condition, but also any garments with rips or stains can go in there as well, you can even put it all in the same bag!  They will recycle what they can’t sell and keep it from ending up in a landfill in efforts to protect the environment.  The money raised from any donated clothing goes to help impoverished people through their sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.   As great as it is to help people in your community, it is equally as important to think globally, and Planet Aid makes it easy to do that.  Currently, they have donation bins in 20 states; you can view their website to see the areas they are currently serving.

Kars 4 Kids

Perhaps it is your garage you are cleaning out and have something much larger to get rid of, like a vehicle or a boat.  Even if it is no longer running, Kars 4 Kids will come and tow it away for you free of charge.  Since they use no third-party processing service, all of the funds raised from your donation go directly to help educate and support children in the community.  Their programs include educational services, youth mentorship, summer camps, and after-school programs.  Kars 4 Kids offers pickups in all 50 states and will come to haul away your car or boat within 24 to 48 hours.  All donors receive a tax donation of the appraised value as well as a vacation voucher good for a two-night hotel stay.  You can learn more about the organization and schedule a donation directly from their website.

Are there any other donation organizations that you’d add to this list?

Also by Kathryn: How To Win At Vintage Shopping (When You’re Like, Over 22)

Related: How To Tidy The 7 Spaces You Probably Haven’t KonMari’d–But Totally Should

How Paris Turned Me On To Minimalism & 4 Ways to Do It Anywhere

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Photo: Kaboompics

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Kathryn is a vegan cook and nutrition consultant based in Los Angeles. She uses yoga in the park, runs by the beach and hikes through the mountains to connect and inspire creativity that she brings to her dishes. She is determined to make the world a healthier and happier place one meal at a time. Read more at ZENutrition or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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