February 10, 2014

Reader question: What’s the best place to donate my stuff?

I hear this question regularly and it came up again last week. There are so many places to donate your unused things, where should you take them?
I suggest doing whatever is easiest when it comes to donations. Is it easier for you to make one phone call and avoid having to drop off the items yourself? If so, contact one of the larger organizations that make pickups. You leave the bags or boxes of goods in front of your house on the appointed day and someone else drives them to the thrift shop. Would you rather get things out as soon as you fill a bag? Put the bag in your car and commit to drop it off at a local thrift shop within the next day or two.
Do you feel strongly about supporting a particular organization? Ask if they will take all the things you have to donate. If not, you have to decide whether it makes sense to separate your donations and offer them to different groups. If you start making separate piles and adding steps to the process, though, it will probably break down. Go back to whatever is easiest.
Are you concerned that no one will appreciate your potential donation as much as you or someone you know? I always say that everything goes to exactly the right person. Once you let it go, it is out of your control who gets it. Someone who needs it will put it to use and you won’t have it weighing it you down.
What if the thrift shop won’t take something you want to donate? Don’t take it personally. Remember that they are in business to make money so they can support their programs. They know what their customers buy. If the driver of the truck won’t take a piece of furniture or other object, you can try to give it away on freecycle or craigslist. Otherwise, the best place is often the trash or the recycling bin.
How do you typically handle donations?
Organized by Marcie TM: Save time and money by letting go of what you don't need and finding room for what you value
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