Finding the Right Place to Donate Your Stuff!

We all have stuff that pains us at the thought of letting it go.

However, there comes a time when we need to shed some of our belongings. Donating can be one way that we feel more comfortable and happy with our decision to release our ownership over our stuff. Donations are a way of giving back to those who truly can get value from your unwanted treasures.

So great, you know you would feel better making a donation to someone, some project or some charity and now you have to find the right one. If you have ever tried to donate items it’s sometimes not as simple as showing up and dropping something off. Some places are selective, some cannot benefit and therefore you might need to do a bit of research. Lucky that we have Google and your trusty telephone!

Be Specific in Your Search: Location, Location, Location!

Special fundraisers or initiatives in your community could be looking for your donations. For example, anyone who has attended post-secondary learning may be holding on to a few textbooks. You know, those big heavy books that we never look at, but think one day we might reference.  Check out a new initiative called Text Books for Change. This program collects used text books, re-sells them and donates others to international education programs.

In Waterloo Region, Canada there is community program database that you can search by following: www.isearchmycommunity.ca

Here you seee the lists of community programs and organizations. You can filter by categories like Arts & Culture, Community Groups, Disaster Relief Services, and so on. This might be the best place to find people who rely on your generous donations!

Libraries and Schools are often facing cuts to programming. They run special activities and events which often require resources… these resources could come in the form of your donations.

Try a search of your nearest facilities and give them a call.

Generally most second-hand shops have a doors open policy on donations. Be sure to check the operating hours and whether or not an appointment is required. 

Some stores specifically accept donations of one variety.  Examples of specialty thrift stores could be: record and music shops, clothing shops, furniture and home furnishings, etcetera! 

You might have an item that could be the spotlight of a Museum’s exhibition. Many exhibitions, especially about local history, are often a collection of donations from members from that community. If you have inherited items that could have historical significance you should call your local museum! What do you have to lose?

A hypothetical example:

Sharon is cleaning out her closet. She is frustrated with the lack of hangers available.  She pulls items out to decide on what to keep and what to give away. As she organizes, Sharon stumbles upon her wedding dress. Sharon is instantly overcome with memories and flashbacks to her wedding day… that was 5 years ago.

Sharon realizes that her large and bulky dress has been hanging in her closet UNTOUCHED for 5 years. The dress takes up the same amount of space as 5 other pieces of clothing. But she could possibly give it away or sell it! The dress represents a really important moment in her life and one that cannot be replaced. Then Sharon remembers the daily frustration of getting dressed and the weekly disaster that happens when she tries to put away her clothes. The dress is taking up valuable real estate in her closet and something has to change.

Sharon does a quick and very specific Google search to try and find a place that accepts Wedding Dress donations. Luckily for Sharon she finds a perfect match. Gina’s Closet pops up as a not-for-profit, second hand wedding dress boutique where all proceeds of sales go to Cancer research. Sharon is happy and feels this can be a win-win situation. She can feel great knowing that her closet is a little less cluttered. Also, the dress will give pleasure to an upcoming bridge AND the money raised will go directly to Cancer research. Problem solved!

Try An Exercise!

Look at your bedroom closet and ask yourself if there is anything in it that has not been touched in years. Once you find an item ask yourself, “How does that item contribute to your life right now? Why have you kept that item for so many years? Could someone else benefit from using that item right now?”

Hypothetical Example #2

Steve is going through his home office. While organizing he realizes that there are 2 boxes of old laptops and computer accessories.  Every time Steve reaches for a file, he needs to move one of the boxes. Steve recognizes that this is a pain and maybe it’s unnecessary. Steve has always kept the old parts because he is quite good with technology. “You never know when they could come in handy,” he would always say. Steve decides to put a date on the boxes and keep them taped shut — if he doesn’t touch them within the next 6 months he’ll make a plan to let them go.

Six months later Steve still hasn’t touched the computer boxes, but he doesn’t just want to put them into an Electronic Waste bin. Steve knows the parts are valuable and still usable. Through a conversation with a friend Steve learns about a local computer program that teaches people how to build, repair and re-use computers. Steve takes a chance and calls them to ask if they accept donations. As it turns out, the computer program relies heavily on the generous donations of those in the community. Steve doesn’t hesitate and takes his 2 boxes the next day. Steve no longer has issues getting to his files and also feels a great sense of giving back. Win-Win!

Try A Tip!

Do you have boxes that are taking up space? If they’re difficult to let go of, seal the box and put a date on it — If you haven’t opened that box in the entire time it’s been sitting there ask yourself, “Could someone else be benefiting from your unused items?”

Having a Hard Time Finding the Right Place?

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Samantha provides personal, home and business organization solutions for individuals who are ready for change. She is a Co-Founder of KW Professional Organizers, a sought after public speaker and blogger.