It’s easy to accumulate possessions that are no longer of any use, especially while going through a tumultuous phase in life where you’re potentially switching residency often and you have more responsibilities on your hands than ever before.
While it’s easy for random odds-and-ends to clutter your living space, it can be difficult to find homes for your unwanted goods. We don’t always want to see our things go to waste or end up in the trash, but the idea of investing time and energy selling secondhand goods in a consignment shop or through classifieds can be overwhelming.
Donating to charities or organizations is a great alternative. It gives you the benefit of de-cluttering your space while supporting a cause. As an added bonus, non-monetary donations can often be itemized on your taxes. Luckily, there are an abundance of charities to choose from, including local and global options. You may not be monetarily reimbursed for your items, but your contribution will always be appreciated.
The most environmentally friendly method of recycling your stuff is to donate within your community. Most churches, hospitals, libraries, shelters, and schools will accept donations for useful supplies. The Salvation Army and Goodwill shops take just about anything and have drop-off locations in several locations. It’s possible to also use resources such as Craigslist and The Freecycle Network to find homes for specific items, though it usually takes more effort since you have to arrange to meet up with the potential buyer.
Of course, there are also global programs in need of specific items.
If you have a closet full of once-worn homecoming dresses, you can send them to Donate My Dress. The program accepts used formal dresses and provides them to teens that can’t afford to pay for special occasion events such as prom. Do you have more shoes than you have outfits to wear with them? Shoes4Souls wants your slightly used (and only mildly stinky) shoes to distribute to countries in need. The Indigo Rescue takes your used jewelry and sells it to raise money for animal shelters and rehabilitating adopted animals.
You know that tower of unused DVDs and CDs tucked away in the corner of your room? Kidflicks can use them to stock libraries in children’s hospitals across the U.S. Alternatively, the Bridge of Books Foundation re-distributes donated books to children in low-income houses, foster homes, homeless shelters, and neighborhood centers. And for those of you still holding on to your childhood playthings, the SAFE program accepts gently used stuffed animals to hand out to children during traumatic events such as emergencies and natural disasters.
If you are looking to rid yourself of your outdated technology, Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles old phones to pay for calling cards for deployed soldiers. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also recycles old phones and unwanted electronics to sponsor their programming.
Remember to first check out an organization’s rules and wanted item list before donating. For a more comprehensive list of where you can donate your stuff, be sure to check out this list.