The longer you live somewhere, the more items you’ll accumulate over the years. In fact, an LA Times article wrote the number of items in the average U.S. household at “300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.”
That’s a lot of stuff.
If you’re at the point where you want to reduce the number of items in your home, there are a couple of ways to accomplish that:
- Open your front door and put a sign out that says “everything must go!” (effective, but not recommended)
- Pile it all into a car or truck and take to a donation center or bin (may require several trips and/or sorting items)
- Throw it in your trash (probably takes a long time to get rid of everything, and some items can’t be easily tossed)
- Call a charity that will come and get your items from your home
This latter point is what we’re addressing today. Below are a list of some charities that will come to you and pick up your donations. You can usually get a receipt from them to claim the value of the items donated for your taxes (consult your accountant for more details).
But before you rush off to arrange pick up, following are some do’s and don’ts for donating.
- Wash or dry clean clothing to be donated
- Clean items as best you can
- Test equipment that requires electrical power or batteries
- Make sure books are in decent condition and free from tears, missing pages, or mold
- Donate damaged toys, books, etc.
- Donate soiled or expired items
- Donate items that have been banned, recalled, or are outside current safety standards (e.g. car seats, high chairs, etc.)
- Include hazardous materials such as paint or cleaning supplies
Once you have gathered and cleaned the items you wish to donate, it’s time to select the charity you want to pick it all up. The following are a list of national charities that will (usually) come to you, but there may also be charities local to you, too, that might offer pickup services.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has been around since 1865 and is in 131 countries. They accept:
- Various household items and appliances
- Used cars
To schedule a Salvation Army pickup, visit satruck.org/donate/choose and enter your zip code. There, you’ll list the items you’re donating and schedule a pickup date. You don’t even have to be home when they show up, just leave the items outside and mark them “SA”.
Goodwill was founded in 1902 and has more than 3,200 thrift stores in the U.S. and Canada. They accept:
- Shoes and clothing
- Toys and games
Note: Not all Goodwill locations offer pickup, so contact your local store(s) directly. You can locate a Goodwill near you at https://www.goodwill.org/locator/.
The Arc has been supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1950, and has more than 600 state and local chapters throughout the U.S. They accept:
- Furniture and housewares
- Clothing and shoes
- Toy and games
- Used cars
To schedule an Arc pickup, visit https://donate.thearc.org. There you can register for and schedule your pickup. They can also be reached at 1-800-283-2721.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, helps provide decent and affordable housing to those in need worldwide. They accept:
- Building materials
- Household items
To schedule a Habitat for Humanity pickup, visit habitat.org/stories/does-habitat-offer-furniture-donation-pickup, and enter your zip code for a list of Habitat ReStores in your area.
Furniture Bank Network
The Furniture Bank Network, which operates in 34 states, is perfect for that furniture you no longer need. They accept:
- Small appliances
To schedule a Furniture Bank Network pickup, go to https://furniturebanks.org/furniture-banks/ and reach out to the organization in your area. Although not all participating organizations offer pickups, most of them do.
Less a charity than an organization that works with non-profit thrift stores to secure donations, so PickUpMyDonation works a little differently than working directly with a charity. They are a great option when you need a donation pickup and want to pick out a local charity to receive your items.
When you make a donation request, it will go out to your nearest non-profit thrift store for review. If they’re interested and your donation meets minimum size requirements, you’ll have a pickup scheduled. Note, however, if your haul isn’t large enough to require a truck, they will direct you to your nearest drop-off location.
They they accept:
- Large items that can’t easily be donated without a truck
To schedule a PickUpMyDonation.com pickup, go to pickupmydonation.com and make a donation request, including listing the items you have to donate.