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    25 Things You Should Know About Donating Your Stuff To Charity

    Here's what you should actually do with the books, clothes, beauty products, and electronics that you don't want anymore.

    If you've been watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix, you probably have piles of stuff you want get rid of.

    Luckily, there are a bunch of organizations that will accept β€” and really appreciate β€” new, gently used, and (in some cases) damaged items. That said, it can be confusing working out what you can donate and where to do it. While it's wise to contact your local donation center if you're feeling stuck, this is a general guide to what Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and many other smaller charities and organizations will and won't accept as donations.

    (FYI, we've included The Salvation Army in this post because we know many people are likely to donate to them. However, we are also aware that the organization has a history of discrimination against the LGBT community, which we feel is important to note. While their website currently says that they're committed to serving this community, it's up to you to decide who you're most comfortable donating to!)

    Here's everything you should definitely donate to charity, and everything you shouldn't:

    1. DO: Clothing

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    Of course you can donate clothing! Anything from T-shirts and coats to shoes and accessories are accepted. As a general rule, you only should donate clothing that's actually wearable, e.g,. all items should be washed and free of stains, holes, and rips.

    2. DO: Books

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    Getting rid of books can be the most difficult step in the tidying process, so it's important to remember that by donating your books, you're passing them on to someone who may get more use out of them. Both Goodwill and The Salvation Army accept new or gently used books, but they probably won't accept books that are heavily worn, e.g., have missing pages, torn covers, or water damage. Here are a few other places you can donate books:

    β€” Prison libraries are always accepting new or gently used books as long as they're not children's books or outdated textbooks.

    β€” Operation Paperback will help you ship your books to troops overseas, veterans, or military families that need them.

    β€”Β Local hospitals, schools, and homeless shelters often accept gently used books. So, give yours a call to find out what they need!

    3. DO: Linens, towels, and blankets

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    If you replaced your linen sets during Christmas, you're in luck: You can donate old sheets, towels, blankets, and quilts β€” just be sure to clean them and check for mold before dropping them off. Here are a few other places that may need your linens:

    β€” Local animal shelters use towels and blankets for bedding, grooming, and cleaning no matter how worn they are.

    β€” Operation Blankets of Love will accept towels and blankets, but not bed sheets.

    β€” The Humane Society accepts old blankets and towels.

    4. DO: Tools

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    Clearing out the garage? Great! Both Goodwill and The Salvation Army will accept lawn tools, garden tools, hand tools, and small power tools as long as they aren't too rusty or worn and are still in working order. Here are a few other organizations that accept tools:

    β€” Workaid accepts a wide range of tools. In addition to the items listed above, they also accept sewing machines, typewriters, and metalworking equipment.

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts a wide range of tools, but are especially in need of power tools, sandpaper, and gardening tools.

    5. DO: Baby clothes

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    Organizations literally always need baby clothes! If you've got a little one, you know that the cost really adds up because of how quickly they grow out of those onesies and teeny tiny sneakers.

    6. DO: Kitchen items

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    If your tiny kitchen is overflowing, you're in luck. The Salvation Army and Goodwill both accept dishes, pots, pans, coffee makers, and other gently used kitchen items!

    7. DO: Electronic items

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    Computers, laptops, printers, media players β€” you name it, they'll take it. Goodwill accepts broken computers and some related equipment as well! They will either fix the items or responsibly recycle them. FYI, always remember to wipe the hard drive of any personal information (including passwords) before you bring them in!

    β€” National Christina Foundation will accept desktops, laptops, tablets, digital cameras, and many corresponding accessories. They should be in working order but, in some circumstances, they will accept items that need to be repaired.

    β€” The World Computer Exchange will accept working computers and accessories, unless they're Mac products. Remember to wipe the hard drive of any personal information first!

    8. DO: Vehicles

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    Surprising, right?! Cars, trucks, vans, boats, and even motorcycles are accepted for donation. Even if they're not in working order, some charities will tow it away for you. All you have to do is remove the car's tags, contact the organization, and schedule a free pickup. Find more information about donating your vehicle to Goodwill here and The Salvation Army here. There are also a few other places you can donate vehicles:

    β€” National Vehicle Donation Program will accept most vehicles.

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts almost all vehicles no matter what state they are in.

    9. MAYBE: Mobile phones

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    Goodwill works with partner organizations to recycle old cell phones, so it's a smart idea to contact your local donation center to see if they're able to take yours. If they can, clear your device of personal data before bringing it in. If not, here are a few places that will definitely accept your mobile phones:

    β€” Cell Phones for Soldiers prefers gently used mobile phones, but they will still accept broken or outdated phones.

    β€” Secure the Call accepts any and all mobile phones, including those that are broken or outdated.

    10. MAYBE: Eyeglasses

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    Unfortunately, neither Goodwill nor The Salvation Army list eyeglasses on their websites as acceptable donations, so you'll have to give your local organization a call to double check their process. However, here are a few other organizations that definitely will accept eyeglasses:

    β€”Β New Eyes accept gently used eyeglasses that are not broken.

    β€” Lions Clubs International will recycle your eyeglasses.

    11. MAYBE: Furniture

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    As long as it's in good condition, both Goodwill and The Salvation Army accept furniture. But really take a good look at it before you drop it off! Neither organization cleans or repairs furniture, so they will turn away any that has water damage, rips, stains, pet hair, or structural damage. Here are a few other organizations that accept furniture:

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts furniture that is in good condition.

    β€” Junkluggers will bring your furniture to local charities, but you will have to pay a fee.

    β€” Furniture Bank accepts gently used furniture.

    12. MAYBE: Large appliances

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    Again, fixing or disposing large items such as refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, ovens, or dehumidifiers is often too difficult or costly so these organizations will most likely reject such donations. The Salvation Army can accept large appliances as long as they don't run on gas. Here are a few places to donate large appliances:

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts large appliances that are in clean and working order.

    β€” Donation Town accepts large appliances as long as they are in working order.

    13. MAYBE: Toys

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    Goodwill will accept toys, but The Salvation Army usually doesn't because they are frequently recalled by the CPSC. It's best to err on the side of caution here since small toys can be choking hazards to small children. So, use your best judgment, and call your local organization to find out more. Here are a few other organizations that accept toys:

    β€” The Good Plus Foundation takes new toys, but not stuffed animals or large toys.

    β€” Local homeless shelters often accept gently used toys.

    β€”Β Local fire departments will also often accept small toys.

    14. MAYBE: Beauty products

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    I know that you're sitting in a pile of long-forgotten eyeshadow palettes and face creams that don't quite match your complexion thinking, what do I do with you now?! Unfortunately, neither Goodwill nor The Salvation Army will accept makeup or beauty products, but here are a few organizations that will:

    – Project Beauty Share accepts new and gently used hair tools, hair products, and makeup. There are some limits on what makeup items are accepted when they are gently used so please read their site carefully.

    – Share Your Beauty accepts unused and unexpired beauty products.

    – Beauty Bus accepts unused beauty products that are at least six months from their expiration date.

    15. MAYBE: Baby equipment

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    Most organizations won't accept baby products (such as cribs, car seats, infant furniture, high chairs, or toys) that don't meet current CPSC safety standards. So, unless you have proof the product you want to donate does (you can look up the item on the CPSC website), these items are not likely to be accepted for the safety of kids or babies who might use the products in the future. Here are some places that may accept baby equipment:

    β€” The Good Plus Foundation accepts a lot of baby equipment (cribs, high chairs, car seats, etc.) but the item must have been purchased in the past three years and, in some cases, must be unused.

    β€” The Pregnancy Center accepts baby equipment such as high chairs, swings, and strollers. They also take cribs that were purchased after 2011.

    16. MAYBE: Building materials

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    Unfortunately, any leftovers from your last renovation or big project cannot be donated to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Paint, household chemicals, lumber, bricks, fixtures, stones, and other building or plumbing materials will not be accepted. The same goes for auto parts! However, here are a few places you can donate building materials:

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts new or gently used building materials such as kitchen cabinets, flooring, lumber, bricks, and light fixtures.

    β€” The Public Housing Agency in your community may accept building materials. If they do not, they will suggest an organization that does.

    17. MAYBE: Air conditioning units

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    Neither Goodwill nor The Salvation Army will accept AC units because they contain refrigerants that are both dangerous and harmful to the environment. Here are a few organizations that will accept your AC unit:

    β€” Habitat for Humanity accepts AC units that are 10 years old or less and that do not need repairs.

    β€” Local senior centers, schools, and community centers may accept your AC unit.

    18. DON'T: Wet, moldy, or contaminated items

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    Even if the organization does accept dirty clothes, you definitely shouldn't donate anything that's greasy, moldy, flammable, or covered in any kind of dangerous substance. For one, you don't want to put any employees in danger, but those items also cannot be recycled.

    19. DON'T: Mattresses

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    Most places won't accept mattresses and box springs which totally makes sense. Mattresses are nasty breeding grounds for dust mites, mold, mildew, and are almost impossible to clean (use a mattress cover, people!). Instead, you should just recycle it.

    20. DON'T: Sleeper sofas

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    Like mattresses, sleeper sofas are also ineligible for donation.

    21. DON'T: Food items

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    Leave your cans of beans at home because these organizations most likely won't take your food. Instead, look into food banks near you that accept unopened, nonperishable items.

    22. DON'T: Bike helmets

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    For safety reasons, neither organization accepts used bike helmets. Besides the fact that old helmets may not meet CPSC standards, they can also start to wear in ways that can make them less effective. BTW, you should probably replace your bike helmet if it's over five to 10 years old!

    23. DON'T: Non-flat screen televisions or sets that are more than five years old

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    If your TV looks like something out of Stranger Things, you can pretty much assume that you cannot donate it: CRT TVs (basically, TVs that aren't flat screens) can be difficult and even dangerous to handle so most places will not accept them. More specifically, The Salvation Army won't accept TVs older than five years old and Goodwill only accepts flat screen TVs that are in working condition. It's actually illegal to dispose of CRT TVs in the trash, so you'll need to find a recycling center that accepts them.

    24. DON'T: Bean bags

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    Besides the fact that it can pose a safety hazard to small children, bean bag filling is difficult to properly recycle. Therefore, these organizations do not accept bean bags.

    25. DON'T: Broken electrical items

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    Unless it's a computer, you should never try to donate anything that doesn't work. The organization most likely will not accept, for example, broken TVs, radios, clocks, lamps, microwaves, or copy machines.

    Congratulations! You've just tidied up without creating a bunch of unnecessary waste!

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