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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 If you have a computer that is “out of date” for you, someone else may be able to use it.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! Always wipe your computer before donating.

CompuDot-They are located in Downers Grove, IL, and they take computers, peripherals, and LCD monitors

National Christina Foundation

You’ll find a few more options for computer donations under the “Household Goods” section.

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.

Android Authority offers 10 places to donate or recycle your cell phone.


Where to Donate Household Goods

Sharing Connections Furniture, located in DuPage County, takes cleaning supplies, personal care products, clothing and household items. See more information in the “Furniture, Housewares” section.

Goodwill– Items taken: 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, and DVD players.

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

Salvation Army (888) 574-2587
Items taken: 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. All items 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.

Metropolitan Family Services offers a variety of services to families in the western suburban area of Chicago. Donated items are sold to raise funds to help local families. They take household goods, clothing, electronics (no mention of computers), sports equipment, toys, and some furniture.

Where to Donate Books

Third Person Books operates in the Chicagoland area 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 Wheaton-Glen Ellyn American Association of University Women takes books for their annual fundraising sale at two DuPage County locations. Check the website for the current collection locations.

Where to Donate Baby and Kid Gear

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.

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

Where to Donate Shoes

Soles 4 Souls takes shoes gently used and new shoes. They donate them to developing nations.

Some NIKE stores have a box to collect shoes that will get used for Nike Grind playgrounds.  They accept any brand of athletic shoes in any condition, except sandals and shoes with spikes

Where to Donate Medical Equipment

Devices 4 the Disabled takes a variety of larger medical equipment. They refurbish used medical equipment that otherwise would end up in landfills.  They provide it for free to those who need it most: those without insurance, who are under-insured or lack the finances to purchase the equipment they desperately need.They have four locations around the Chicagoland area.

Many townships offer medical lending closets. Residents are able to “check out” an item for temporary use and return it when they are done. Check your local area for options. These two are in DuPage County:

Lisle Township Medical Lending Closet

Naperville Medical Loan Closet

Side note: I haven’t found an organization that takes oxygen equipment.

Stuffed Animals, Baby Blankets and Books

Project Night Night provides 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!

AmVets also takes stuffed animals.

Furniture, Housewares, Clothes and School Supplies

Sharing Connections Furniture, located in DuPage County, takes 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 at 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.

SCARCE, located in Addison, IL, accepts office and art supplies, books, ink jet cartridges to be recycled and donated. They donate items to under-served schools and developing nations. They also recycle a variety of odds and ends that are difficult to recycle elsewhere so check their website when you’re doing a big clean out!

Home Improvement Supplies and Appliances

ReStore is a part of Habitat for Humanity. There are locations across the US. They accept reusable appliances, building materials, and furniture. Items accepted include fixtures, lumber, cabinets, doors, counters, landscaping blocks, new carpet, etc. Check their web site for current needs.  There’s now a donation center in DuPage County.

Women’s Business Attire

These organizations sell business attire to women trying to reenter the workforce.

Second Chance Resale Shop – Shops are located in Glen Ellyn (Treasure House), Skokie/Evanston, and Naperville (The Resale Shop), Illinois.
Poised for Success is located in Lombard IL 60148, (630) 691-1455

Everything Else

Looking for more ideas? Read this post on Apartment Therapy for 13 charities to donate a variety of items to.

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, 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?