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You’ve started organizing clutter and have found a bunch of things you no longer need.  Please remember that anything that is still in working order can be useful to someone in need so donate whatever you can before recycling.  But now you ask yourself, “where to donate…?”

Goodwill Store-where to donate unneeded items

Courtesy of Steve Morgan

As a professional organizer, the topic of where to donate items comes up all the time.  My clients want to do the right thing and be responsible with their unneeded items so I have accumulated many donation resources.  Below is a “where to donate list” for household goods and the odds and ends that are not taken by every organization.  Inevitably, there will be things that are beyond their useful life and are not quality enough to donate. Don’t throw it out, recycle it! For more on “where to recycle“, see my related post.

Where to Donate Computers

Donating a computer can be a difficult task, but it is possible. If you have a computer that is “out of date” for you, someone else may be able to use it. The sooner you move to donate it to someone else, the more likely someone can use it!
National Christina Foundation

Where to Donate Cell Phones

Many cell phone service providers accept phones at their stores for recycling or reuse. Local organizations have phone drives throughout the year. Some groups will reuse functioning phones or rebuild non-working ones, others recycle only. Watch your local paper for upcoming events.
Second Chance Resale Shop – These shops help Family Shelter support its mission to provide “help and hope” to victims of domestic violence in DuPage County.  The shops are located in Naperville and Westmont, IL.

Where to Donate Household Items

Goodwill -Televisions, computers, clothing, shoes and boots, jewelry, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, books, records, compact disks, video tapes and DVDs, games, toys, sports equipment, housewares, small appliances, collectibles, antiques, knickknacks,hand tools, small power tools, linens, curtains, blankets, stereos, radios, VCRs, DVD players, furniture

IL Am Vets  – (708) 388-7800
Limited zip code pick up. Also have drop locations. Take complete computers, novels, fiction, children’s books, inspirational, religious books and exercise equipment, toys (not larger than what fits in a bag or box), housewares, clothes, stuffed animals.

Salvation Army (888) 574-2587
Books, complete computers, furniture in good condition that doesn’t need cleaning or repair, TVs, appliances, clothes, aluminum Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, collectibles and more — must be in reusable condition.

People’s Resource Center, located in Wheaton, takes clothes, household goods, computers, art supplies, books and classroom materials. They help people in DuPage County, IL, with job skills training, literacy, job assistance and basic needs such as food and rent assistance.

Where to Donate Books

Stick Figure Books operates in the Midwestern states (mostly Illinois) and buys your books for resale or recycling.  They come to you, examine the books, make you an offer and pack them up for you.  If you have a smaller quantity, try your local library.

The American Association of University Women takes books for their annual fundraising sale at two DuPage County locations.  Books are collected at ReMax Suburban at 1417 N. Main St, Wheaton (630-653-1900) and 441 Taft Ave, Glen Ellyn (630-790-1776).

Where to Donate Baby and Kid Gear

Buy, sell or swap gear at Swap.com.  They are based out of Addison, IL, but operate around the country via the web.

Teen Parent Connection, located in Glen Ellyn, takes baby gear, supplies and clothes.  They help teen parents with prenatal care, education and support.  Check with TPC to see what their current needs are.

Where to Donate Shoes

Soles 4 Souls, take shoes whether they’re wearable or not. They donate what’s usable to developing nations and recycle the rest.

Some NIKE stores also have a box to collect shoes that will get used for Nike Grind playgrounds or donated.

Stuffed Animals, Baby Blankets, and Books

Project Night Night They provide comfort items to children in homeless shelters. There are no local (Chicago) drop centers so all donations have to be mailed. This is a wonderful way to unload new stuffed animals, books, and baby blankets and provide a sense of security to homeless children! Check their website to see if they are accepting like-new items or only new items.  It varies based on their inventory.

AmVets also takes stuffed animals.

Furniture, Housewares, Clothes and More

Sharing Connections Furniture, located in DuPage County, takes gently used cribs, mattress and box spring sets, dressers, table and chair sets, sofas and loveseats. They also take cleaning supplies, personal care products, clothing and household items.  SCF donates items to local families rather than selling them for profits that then go to charities.  Drop off Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.–noon to the warehouse location at 5111 Chase Ave. Downers Grove, IL 60515. Residents of Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Naperville, Warrenville, Wheaton, and Winfield, IL, can schedule a free pickup by calling 630-971-0565,ext. 300, or visiting the website.

Office and art supplies, books, cell phones and ink jet cartridges can be recycled and donated through SCARCE, located in Glen Ellyn, IL. They donate items to under-served schools and developing nations.

Home Improvement Supplies

ReStore– Habitat for Humanity. Locations across the US. Accepts reusable appliances, building materials and furniture. Items accepted include fixtures, lumber, cabinets, doors, counters, landscaping blocks, new carpet,etc. Check web site for current listing.  There’s now a donation center in DuPage County.

Women’s Business Attire

Second Chance Resale Shop Shops are located in Westmont and Naperville Illinois.
Poised for Success 312 S. Westmore Ave., Lombard IL 60148, (630) 691-1455

Fabric is taken by Re:New, located in Glen Ellyn, IL. They turn it into various new things like bags.  They hire refugee women, provide jobs and training.  Donation information is near the bottom of the page.

Everything Else

If all else fails and you have something you think can be useful to someone else, put it up on Freecycle. There are local networks for all areas. All you have to do is post it and let people know how they can pick it up! The Freecycle Network(tm) – Recycling & giveaways
You can also sell or give away your good stuff locally using Nextdoor.com, Facebook garage sale groups, Craig’s List or Bookoo. All services have local groups so you can find your neighbors and not pay shipping.

I recommend to my clients to have a box or large bag in a central storage location that they can drop any item into that is no longer needed.  When the box is full, donate it!  If you get postcards from donation organizations in the mail, sign up for pick up at your house.  How convenient!  Once you’ve donated, they’ll keep calling.  To find a group that comes to your neighborhood, try Donation Town.

What do you have lying around that you can donate today and help someone else?  Do you know of any other great resources to add to my list?