[Poverty & Hunger]

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Donate

By: Shani Saxon

With every change of the season, some people get the urge to purge their closets and donate excess clothes and shoes. They swear they’re going to buy less stuff. (Raise your hand if you’re one of these people.) But there’s actually a lot more you can donate than just gently used clothes and shoes.

For example, did you know that those old board games gathering dust can be gifted to your local homeless shelter? It’s also better for the environment if you donate your old cell phone instead of sending it to a landfill. So before you get the itch to go through your stuff and donate, take a look at this list of items you can donate.

The Basement

Exercise equipment and accessories. Your local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter would be more than happy to accept an old treadmill, or that set of weights you bought last year after you swore you’d work out regularly. BBBS can’t pick up directly, but they accept drop offs at their locations.

The Yard

Kiddie pools. Kids grow up so fast, right? So fast they might’ve outgrown that plastic kiddie pool collecting rainwater in the backyard. Consider donating old collapsible pools to an animal shelter like PAWS. Dogs and other water-loving animals will appreciate the splash pad!

The Family Room

Musical instruments. Got an old keyboard collecting dust? Or a clarinet from your kid’s brief foray into music performance? Consider donating gently used instrument to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. The organization will refurbish and donate it to a school in need! 

The Kitchen Pantry

Spices. People are quick to donate canned goods to local shelters and food banks. That’s great, but just because someone is hungry doesn’t mean that they don’t want their food to taste good! Consider donating unopened spices that you thought you were going to use but ultimately pushed to the back of the pantry. Feeding America can help you find a local food bank.

The Nursery Closet

Blankets. It’s crazy when you consider how many blankets some babies can accumulate. Project Linus will take surplus blankies or stuffed animals off your hands and provide security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill or in need.

The Driveway

Car. Instead of reselling that old clunker, consider making a donation to the Fisher House Foundation, which supports military families. They accept all vehicles, regardless of the condition. You’ll help a military family with much-needed transportation. 

The Nightstand Drawer

Eyeglasses. Don’t discard glasses just because your prescription changed. Well-maintained specs can be donated to New Eyes, an organization that provides glasses for medical missions and international orgs that distribute specs to people in developing nations.

Throughout the House

Magazines and books. In addition to donating gently-worn books and magazines to a local library, consider giving old paperbacks to Operation Paperbacks. Their team will deliver books to soldiers who serve overseas, as well as to wounded warrior programs and veterans’ hospitals in the United States.

Join ThatHelps’ Coat Drive and help keep someone warm this winter.