Donations to the right place: It doesn’t have to be difficult.

One of the best ways to deal with removing items from your home that you no longer need, love, fit into, have room for, and so on, is to donate them.   But sometimes, figuring out where to donate the items can be the tricky party!  There always seem to be some scandals that surround some charitable organizations, and when we hear about them, it makes us hesitate using them or other organizations, because the destination doesn’t seem to be a perfect one to us. There have been some stories about Goodwill Industries lately that brings fresh attention to the problem.


First, remember that the goal is first and foremost to remove the items from your house, and finding a place to donate is a better alternative than throwing things away.  But sometimes, people can get stymied as to what charity or method is the right one, and things never end up leaving your home.  There are a few key areas to consider when trying to evaluate where to send your stuff!

  • Philosophy/Values of the charity

  • How items are going to be used (sold for $ vs. directly utilized)

  • Convenience to the donator (let’s face it — this is a big one!)

  • Tax-deductible vs. not

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re going through this process for your own items:

1) Do I support the philosophy of the charity?

Different charities appeal to different people, based on their passions. Similarly, some charities people avoid purely for philosophical reasons, when the charity doesn’t align well with the donator’s values (for instance, a charity/church that discriminates against homosexuality in some of its beliefs or practices).  Make sure you find organizations that align with your values, or, at the very least, do not offend your values.

2) Do I prefer the value to go as local as possible?

For some people, the national “chains” (Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, St. Vincent De Paul, etc.) seem to be a perfectly fine answer as a destination for their donated goods. Some people, however, want to make sure their goods and the value from them are as local as possible.  Research charitable donations in your town and I’m sure you’ll find a destination or two, through a religious or community organization, that serves your neighbors.

3) Do I need a tax deduction?

If part of why you’re considering donating to a particular place is because you’d like a tax deduction, keep in mind they must be an exempt organization (ask them or check here)  provide you with a receipt, and you’ll need to keep an itemized list of what you’ve donated, and their value. Goodwill Industries offers this guide to help you determine the value.  If you don’t need a deduction, there are organizations out there that can still use your items, and people in need will benefit from them.

4) Is convenience more important to me than anything else?

There are organizations out there, Vietnam Veterans of America, Epilepsy Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. who will come to your home and pick items up.  You don’t even need to be home; the items just have to be placed outside.  For some people, this is the BEST way to get rid of items, especially larger items or larger amounts, since it removes the need to take it to place, that happens to be conveniently located, or open when you’re able to get there.  Here’s a great resource,,  that allows you to enter your zip code, and it will tell you who will pick up what in your area. It’s not all-inclusive, but may give you some names you hadn’t thought about.

5) Should I think about targeted donations, or do I just want a “we’ll take anything” kind of place?

If you’re willing to find specific destinations for different types of items, you can find a lot of organizations that would love to make immediate use of your items, not just sell them in a storefront for money towards the charity.  Some examples are:

All in all, you can make the value of your donation go pretty far.  The most important step is gathering the items (make sure they’re not trashed, and they’re really of use to someone else!) and get them out of your home, and on their way!



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