It’s easier to get rid of stuff when you know it’s going to actually help someone else. Below I’ve listed some non-profits that use donated items to make a real difference.
Dress for Success
This international organization helps women achieve economic independence by providing them with support and resources to succeed and thrive in both work and life. One way they do that is providing professional attire, so if you have any work-appropriate clothing that you no longer wear, consider donating it here!
Wands for Wildlife
This organization, which rescues orphaned wild animals, collects and cleans old mascara wands to use for cleaning the fur and feathers of tiny animals. How can you not want to help save animals like this adorable baby opossum?
Free the Girls
If you have any gently used bras you never wear, you can donate them to this organization, which provides them as inventory to survivors of sex trafficking who support themselves by running their own business selling bras to women in their community.
Cameras and Camera Equipment
Do you have an old camera you never use because you just take pictures on your phone? Don’t leave it lying useless in a drawer when it could be making a difference through one of these great organizations:
This organization teaches photography skills to kids in disadvantaged areas in order to foster their creativity and help them develop marketable skills. They request donations of working cameras and camera equipment.
Film Photography Project
You might think an old film camera wouldn’t be of any use to anyone in this digital age, but this organization specifically requests film cameras that they can refurbish and donate to schools and non-profit organizations:
DVDs 4 Vets
Do you own DVDs you aren’t likely to watch again? Send them to this organization and they’ll be used to entertain U.S. veterans recovering in VA hospitals and living in VA nursing homes. Even DVDs you still watched can be digitized, which saves space and lets someone else enjoy the physical copies.
Camping & Outdoors Gear
If you have more camping and outdoors gear than you need, donate it to provide others with the chance to enjoy getting out in nature!
This non-profit helps provide underprivileged kids with the opportunity to experience the outdoors by providing after school organizations, summer camps, scouting troops, and other organizations with used camping and outdoors gear.
This organization specifically focuses on helping urban youth and their families experience the outdoors through wilderness excursions and work opportunities. Donating gear to this mission helps people experience the outdoors who may have never before had the opportunity to do so.
Books for Prisoners
Incarcerated Americans who have access to books can spend their time in prison getting an education that will help them contribute meaningfully to society upon their release. By donating your books to prisons, you can potentially make a difference not only in the life of the person who reads your books, but in the lives of those who come into contact with that individual.
Also, the books most requested by people in prison are the kinds of books that are hardest to sell to used bookstores: old textbooks, dictionaries, training manuals, how-to guides, and self-help books.
Different prisons have their own requirements about what kinds of books they will and won’t accept; go here to find a list of organizations collecting books for prisoners to find one that will accept your books.
St. Jude’s Ranch
Do you have old greeting cards that you feel guilty tossing? Send them to St. Jude’s Ranch, where they will be recycled and resold to support this organization!
The Preemie Project
If you are into crafts and sewing, you may have more supplies than you’ll be able to use in a lifetime. If so, you can donate them to this organization that provides handmade clothing and comfort items to babies in intensive care. (You can also donate items you’ve made yourself!)
These three organizations all collect used instruments to provide to under-funded schools and impoverished individuals with the opportunity to enjoy learning and playing music:
Hungry for Music
Mr. Holland’s Opus
Collectibles With Causes
Wonder what to do with a collection of rare coins, stamps or other obscure items? You can donate them indirectly to charity by gifting them to this organization which will sell them and use the money for charitable causes.
Pens for Kids
How many pens and pencils does one person actually need? You can send any extras as well as other unneeded school and office supplies you have in your home to schools and orphanages around the world that need these items. Contact this organization to find out where to mail your donation!
Made 4 Aid
Handmade craft and decor items make meaningful gifts, which makes them all the more difficult to let go of when downsizing, especially since they may not sell well at garage sales and thrift stores. You may be able to put these items to good use by donating them to this organization, which sells handmade items on Etsy and donates the proceeds to charity and relief work. (This is also a good opportunity for people who love to make more crafts than they know what to do with!)
Where to Donate Toys
Check out this article to read about charitable organizations seeking donations of used toys.