The second most wonderful time of the year: spring cleaning. Round up a pile of trash bags, sort through your closets, and maybe take a look in the attic to see what you kept but don’t really need. What do you do with all this gently-used stuff? The least sustainable option is to throw it out on garbage day. Instead, help out others and the environment by donating instead.
Everyone has their own way to sort through old clothes. Dig into the back of the dresser for those old bottom-of-the-drawer shirts you haven’t worn lately, then comb your way through hanger after hanger of unworn dresses and jackets in the closet. Don’t forget to go through your child’s closet, too. Now that everything’s sorted and you’ve said your goodbyes to old favorites, where do you take these clothes?
Nonprofits like Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, and The Salvation Army are great places to start, but you have plenty of other options, including local thrift stores like Our Hope Thrift & Donation Center that accepts all clothing, furniture, electronics, and so on.
Purple Cow Thrift Stores are another catch-all that look for donations of clothing, furniture, accessories, houseware, and home decor, along with books, video, and vinyl.
Connections for Life is a community program focused on “helping formerly incarcerated women rebuild their lives.” They are looking for donations of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. Donations of old jewelry, costume or otherwise, can help women feel interview ready.
Another great option in Baton Rouge is ReFinery Children’s Consignment Boutique. They buy, sell, and consign gently-used children’s clothing, toys, and baby equipment, including strollers and bouncy seats.
Everyone has that forsaken end table from your first apartment shoved in a corner, or worse yet, in the attic. Before it gets too hot, go through your attic or garage inventory for all those pieces of project furniture you never got around to fixing up. Luckily, plenty of organizations and charities accept furniture, including most of the options listed above.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores are reuse stores where all “sales of donated items help Habitat for Humanity partner with local families to build, rehabilitate and repair safe and affordable homes in your community and around the world.” They accept furniture, appliances, home decor, and building materials.
We’re all guilty of shoving the kids’ extra Christmas and birthday presents from relatives and friends at the top of the closet. It’s a smart idea to introduce new toys later to avoid overstimulation; however, consider donating unopened toys your kids may not be interested in, as well as toys your kids once loved, to children in need.
One excellent donation option is Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health that accepts new toys, craft supplies, and games. They are also looking for certain baby clothes and some infant items like plastic rattles, teethers, and sippy cups. A wish list of toys and other items can be found on their website.
For the toys your children enjoyed but don’t play with anymore, they can still have a spot in another child’s heart. Gather them up and donate them to Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, a nonprofit organization and resource center for families and people with disabilities. Along with used toys, they appreciate donations of clothes and furniture.
DONATING BABY ITEMS
Cribs, strollers, highchairs, and car seats take up a lot of space. If you’re ready to get rid of them, it may be tricky to find places to donate these items to. A few of the incredibly few places that accept these items are ReFinery Children’s Consignment Boutique and Vietnam Veterans of America, a nonprofit corporation that was founded to support Vietnam War veterans but supports all veterans in need today. Pickup can be arranged on their website.
If you would like to cosign these items instead, Abigail’s Best Children’s & Maternity Consignment Store accepts a wide variety of items like maternity, baby, and children’s clothes, along with baby furniture, including cribs and bassinets and toys for all ages. Similarly, Once Upon A Child allows you to sell used toys, clothes, shoes, and other baby gear.
WHAT ABOUT PICKUP?
What if you don’t have the time or the means to drop off your donations yourself? There are several companies that will handle pickup for you, including many of the businesses, charities, nonprofits, and organizations listed above.
Through the ease of the Internet, consider donating through Pickup Please, an online service working in partnership with Vietnam Veterans of America that will schedule free pickup of your donations from the driveway. They accept all sorts of items from clothes to toys to electronics, and each item goes to an in-need veteran and their family.
Overall, the world is your oyster when it comes to donating. Although the “season of giving” is over, that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves, others, and our environment out by donating some of our clutter.