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What to Do With Unwanted Stuff After Spring Cleaning

Spreading Good

What to Do With Unwanted Stuff After Spring Cleaning

You’ve cleared out the closets, decluttered the garage, banished the junk from beneath your bed and now… you’re stuck with piles of stuff you no longer want or need. What do you do with all the unwanted stuff? You donate it, of course! There are a TON of great organizations to whom you can donate unwanted kitchen items, furniture, books, clothes, electronics, and more.

Keep reading for the freshest spring cleaning tips on where to donate your gently used home goods, where to recycle electronics, and how to celebrate your clean and clear living space in style.

What to Do With Unwanted Stuff

Before you load all of your spring cleaning “junk” into the dumpster, think about all the good it could do for someone in need. Most of the time, stuff we think of as old and obsolete is still perfectly acceptable (and desired!) by organizations who help out the less fortunate.

However, if you find that some of your stuff is worn out past the “gently used” donation standard, consider upcycling junk into some fun or useful DIY projects instead of adding to a landfill. Think wooden ladders turned into bookshelves, an old bicycle wheel turned into a ritzy Art Deco clock, or even something as simple as wine cork coasters to use on wine night.

Want to make sure your donation directly impacts your own community? Check with local schools and libraries to see if they’re accepting books and computers that you no longer need. Otherwise, check out the list of organizations below who can help you brighten someone’s life while you declutter yours.

Oh, and don’t forget to grab a receipt from wherever you donate so you can write it off on next year’s taxes!

Where to Donate Home Goods

If you’re wondering where the best place to donate kitchen items and other assorted home goods is, you’ve got several options. It’s worth mentioning that larger organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take just about any gently used goods you’d like to donate. Things like clothing and shoes, small appliances, pots and pans, blankets and linens, sports equipment, chairs and lamps, toys, and various electronics are all graciously accepted by these organizations.

What’s more, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and many other organizations – like Habitat For Humanity, Furniture Bank, and AMVETS — will save you the hassle of dropping stuff off by picking up your items for free. Head to DonationTown.org to get a list of charities in your area that will gladly make a house visit to collect your donations.

Additionally, there are plenty of smaller, more specialized nonprofits out there who could use your support below. Why not show them some love?

Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories

  • Dress For Success: Aims to economically empower women in need by providing them with professional attire and career support. They accept business-appropriate clothing in new or gently used condition, as well as jewelry, accessories, and unused cosmetics.
  • Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits: Helps job seekers of all kinds dress for success with gently used professional and interview attire sold in their network of thrift stores.
  • PlanetAid: Collects good-quality clothing for resale and lower-quality clothing to recycle textiles. Clothing sold in the US goes toward sustainability projects in developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. PlanetAid also sells clothing to customers in these developing nations that can then be resold in local communities to support economic stability.
  • Soles4Souls: Collects new and gently used shoes and clothing to distribute to impoverished communities worldwide. Helps communities support themselves with micro-enterprises where locals resell donations to their community.

Books

  • Operation Paperback: Accepts gently used books to send to American troops overseas as well as veterans and military families in the US.
  • Better World Books: Supports literacy programs by reselling books online. You can ship books to them for free when you donate 3 or more books, or simply search for a local book bin drop off location on their website.
  • Darien Book Aid: Make a global impact by helping Book Aid provide free books to Peace Corps volunteers, libraries, and schools all over the world, as well as libraries, prisons, hospitals, and at-risk groups in the United States.

Toys & Games

  • Ronald McDonald House: Provides housing to keep families with sick children together. RMHC accepts a wide variety of new toys and games for their playrooms. Contact your local chapter to get a list of specific needs.
  • SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies): Assists children in traumatic or emotional situations — such as those from natural disasters, abuse or neglect, accidents and illnesses — by providing them with new or gently used stuffed animals, children’s books, blankets, and more.

Furniture

  • ReStore by Habitat For Humanity: Collects donations of new or used furniture, tools, appliances, houseware, and building materials to provide home improvement resources to communities in need.
  • Furniture Bank: Gives large and small furniture a second chance at life by redirecting donations to battered women and children, immigrants, the formerly homeless, and other at-risk groups to turn empty houses into welcoming homes.
  • Operation Homefront: Helps military families in need of furniture and other housing assistance so they can thrive in the communities they protect.

Where to Recycle Electronics

When it comes to your old electronics, you can either recycle them or donate them depending on what they are and the kind of condition they’re in. Items that have lost their juice, such as rechargeable batteries and LED light bulbs, as well as devices that are simply too damaged to donate should all be recycled.

On the other hand, old cell phones, laptops, tablets, and their accessories that still function can be donated to help those in need. Always make sure to wipe any personal data off of phones, computers, and tablets before donating.

Recycling Electronics

Even though some of your electronics may be totally burnt out, the parts and materials used to make them are still valuable. Recycling your old devices keeps harmful chemicals out of landfills and allows organizations to recover some of the precious metals, such as gold, silver, and copper, that go into making electronics that would otherwise have to be mined to manufacture new goods.

Check out Call2Recycle.org to find electronics drop-off locations near you. Otherwise, depending on the type of devices you have, companies like Apple and Amazon offer trade-in deals for your old electronics. Best Buy offers a more robust recycling program that takes all kinds of used tech, no matter who made it.

Donating Electronics

  • American Cell Phone Drive: Collects old cell phones to raise funds for a variety of charitable causes across the United States.
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers: Accepts new and gently used cell phones to offer cost-free communication services to veterans and active duty military personnel across the globe.
  • World Computer Exchange: Provides working computers and accessories to support organizations in developing countries.

For a full list of donation options, plus more info on how to recycle electronics, check out the EPA’s breakdown here.

How to Celebrate Your Decluttered Home

You’ve got a lot of options to choose from when it comes to donating items from spring cleaning. Don’t stress too much about finding the perfect charity. Just pick a cause that’s important to you, and put your unwanted stuff to good use!

After all, life isn’t about the stuff you collect — it’s about the experiences and the memories you create with others. So let it all go and celebrate your clutter-free life by doing something memorable with people you care about.

We believe a freshly spring-cleaned home is like a blank canvas — you can make it as ZEN or sassy as you’d like! Celebrate this season’s fresh start at a paint and sip event near you. You’ll walk away with awesome memories and a fun painting to spruce up your space.

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