Neighboring Sustaining

Unusual Ways to Donate for Good Causes

Cleaning out those attics, basements, closets, and garages is something that’s always on our “to-do” list. Decluttering not only brings us to a place of joyful accomplishment but finding a new home for our unwanted items often accomplishes that same joy along with a sense of purpose. So, where should we take these unnecessary items? AMVETS, a veterans service organization that accepts donations to sell in thrift stores, picks up boxes filled with books, games, sporting gear, and bulkier pieces of furniture, is one choice. Below is a list of others to consider.


Is there an extra vehicle sitting in your driveway or garage that’s rarely driven or not driven at all? As long as the vehicle is in good condition, it could be used to shuttle people to appointments or used in training at vocational schools. Boats, cars, campers, and other vehicles can be used to raise funds for nonprofit organizations such as Kars4Kids. The American Red Cross, the Purple Heart Foundation, and United Way accept donated vehicles and sell them to fund their missions. Remember, donated vehicles also make for good tax deductions.


Don’t know what to do about that laptop, smartphone, or tablet? Of course, there are thrift stores such as Goodwill but Best Buy and Staples offer free electronics recycling programs.  Amazon has a trade-in program that offers a gift card in exchange for eligible items. Computers4Vets accepts working and nonworking desktops, laptops, and tablets and donates operable computers to veterans in southern Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.


Anything outdated, such as old textbooks, are pretty much worthless. Ordinarily, used books often find temporary homes in local thrift stores but places like Little Free Library or Better World Books (a nonprofit that supports global literacy) are other options. You can find their donation bins nationwide.


Ah, clothing. Ye old hand-me-downs have come a long way when it comes to ways of repurposing. The first rule of thumb is we shouldn’t donate anything not fit for wearing. The latest data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that 11.3 million pounds of donated textiles go to landfills every year. However, Retold Recycling will accept the “torn and worn.” They will send you a bag with a prepaid label; you send it back filled with unwanted clothes, and clothing will be recycled, not sent to a landfill.​ Meanwhile, for the gently used, consider organizations like One Warm Coat, Planet Aid, Soles4Souls, Dress for Success, and Jails to Jobs.


Downsizing on furniture? Consignment shops have always been a go-to place for selling furniture. Another venue for selling is Facebook Marketplace. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are top organizations to send donations. Moreover, and in keeping with the spirit of giving, organizations that help resettle refugees and aid victims of domestic violence definitely represent a servant’s heart and gives your furniture a new home for families in need.

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies like blood pressure cuffs, crutches, wheelchairs, disposal containers, and even unused medications can be donated to organizations such as MedShare. Thirty-eight states have donation laws tailored to collect and distribute prescription drugs to those in need. Ask your local pharmacist about options.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo: Unsplash

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