Week 4: Recycle (Part II: Donating what you don’t need)

As an extension to Monday’s post, there are more ways to look at recycling than just what you separate from the garbage pile that goes in the recycle bin. Introducing – Part II: Donating what you don’t need:

As you will soon learn, I am a sucker for deals. I get the biggest high when I find something I like that I pay way less than what it originally started out as and I pretty much have a break down when I have to buy something not on sale. So, I am guilty for purchasing items I did not need or already had. However, every month or so I take an afternoon to go through my closet, to go through the storage room, to go through the kitchen, and take out what I don’t really need and donate it. Places like the Salvation Army, Value Village, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity are great places to take things you don’t need anymore. Also, finding charities and non-profits who need items, but don’t have the budget to purchase them, are another great find. Not only are you pairing down on your life, but you are also improving the lives of those around you.

Here are 10 items that you may have plenty of, that others could use:

  1. Old towels – Ask your local animal shelter if they are running low and could use some. Same goes for washable dog beds, cat beds, and toys! They will be so grateful for your donation!
  2. Extra dishes and general kitchen and cooking supplies – Second hand donation stores (like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Village).
  3. Boxed or canned food – Go through your pantry, find sealed containers that have been sitting there for months, gather them up and donate them to a local food bank.
  4. Office, school, sport, or art supplies – see if there is a low income school nearby that doesn’t have the budget to buy all the supplies they need and could really use your extra items. Or check out what is on the wish lists of non-profits, like The Ladybug Project! View their wish list here.
  5. Jeans – An organization called Do Something has a Teens for Jeans campaign where they collect gently worn jeans and donate them to those one need.
  6. Coats and clothes in general – Find a local homeless shelter or a second hand store (like Salvation ArmyGoodwillValue Village).
  7. Shoes – Find a shoe donation box from Donate Your Old Shoes or Soles 4 Souls who donate to people who don’t have shoes.
  8. Furniture – Second hand donation stores (like Salvation ArmyGoodwillValue Village, or Habitat for Humanity).
  9. Books – Send them in to Better World Books. The take donations of used books, raise funds for libraries and literacy and for every book a person purchases, they donate a book to someone in need. A business model doesn’t get much better than that. Donate your books here: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/donate.aspx.
  10. Working appliances – Find a Habitat for Humanity near you!

If you have a few more items not on the list above, find a second hand store in your area and see who is able to take take those items. Goodwill is a great option. They don’t just simply receive donations and then turn around and sell them for a profit. “Goodwill trains people for careers in fields such as financial services, computer programming and health care. The organization provides employment, job training and other community-based programs for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and others facing challenges to finding employment. ” (Source). They have helped people find jobs for over 100 years!

Salvation Army is an adult rehabilitation center. They “provide spiritual, social and emotional assistance for men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves.” (Source).  And Value Village helps to support 140 non-profits with the profits they make.

So take a minute, look through your home and ask your self, “Do I really need (not want, but need) this?” Chances are, by the end of the day you will have found bags of things you can part with and free up some space in your life. Not only will your life feel lighter, but you know your items will be going to a good causes that helps others. Give it a try!


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About Kelly

Working at changing the world, with the little things we do, every day. I am the Doer Team Manager and the Do Good Doer at Brown Paper Tickets. My hope with this blog is to help spark a change. To look at the little things we do everyday and see how we can be a positive impact on everyone around us. The more each of us do, however small it may seem, the better world we will all have.

One response to “Week 4: Recycle (Part II: Donating what you don’t need)”

  1. Matt Wittmier says :

    Cool post, it’s good to know the options for donating. You don’t want your good reusable items to end up in the trash or landfill. At Busby Junk Removal http://buzz-bee.net we are trying to improve our donation attempts. Right now we are participating in a program with the North West Center to donate clothes. Another local company in the Seattle area joined up with us and we are collecting as much as we can in our normal day to day operation.

    Another interesting donation item many people do not think about are tools. We found a tool library in Seattle http://wstoollibrary.org/ where you can donate good condition working tools. We have a huge stock of tools and feel that they should not go to waste.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on donations, we are going to join in your effort and do our best!

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