Declutter| How To Donate Small Items & Big Heavy Stuff

graphic spelling out donate and words like humanitarian and food and money and friendship

Studies have been made showing proof that for certain people a cluttered environment can cause many negative mental, financial and physical health issues.

True story – A client wants to declutter her home and her husband won’t let her because he said the high cost to throw things away is too expensive these days. The truth is, it is far more expensive for this lady to live amidst clutter, because the clutter and chaos is terribly upsetting to this dear woman I met with.

Win Win! 

With the high cost of trash removal services what could be better than decluttering your home and work spaces and easily getting rid of your old stuff for free!

Benefits of decluttering

Do you find yourself surrounded by a sea of clutter at home or work? Do you yearn for a simpler, more organized environment? Many folks learned about the benefits of decluttering their home and work environments during the Pandemic. 

There are countless benefits to decluttering. I won’t get into all of these benefits of decluttering because I want to focus on building this resource guide to help folks that don’t want to deal with the high cost of trash removal.

I have an entire website filled with many decluttering articles if you are interested to learn more about the process, benefits and myriad tips for decluttering.

A lot of things we want to get rid of still have lots of life left in them. I love to donate my gently used goods because it makes me feel part of my community. I also have always been a big fan of visiting and shopping at thrift stores.

The 3 R’s

I personally go crazy when I think of the throw away society I feel we live in today. I am a big believer in the 3 R’s of sustainability – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. 

Decluttering your space not only brings a sense of calm but also offers the opportunity to give back to the community. By donating your unwanted household goods, you can help those in need while enjoying a potential tax deduction. 

Trash disposal

Decluttering can be tough on landfills. During the pandemic the biggest charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross were begging people to stop leaving broken stuff at their doors.

This was a real problem. Trash disposal is costly and some people were leaving bags of not great stuff including small appliances to pieces of large furniture and everything in between. Because the donation center could not resell items they then had to haul away unwanted items at a great expense.

Win Win! 

I have put together a free Resource Guide you can have on hand when it is your time to declutter. There are so many wonderful organizations out there from Big Brothers to your local Goodwill chapter.

I show you various places where you can donate household goods for good causes. You can schedule free pick ups of large and small items easily and often at no cost to you.

You will learn about the financial incentives that come from different donations.  A great option to get rid of household goods and furniture donations is to arrange a free donation pick up with an international organization or your local non profits organizations.

There are many organizations that will be very grateful for your gently used and in good condition large appliances and household furnishings. There are drop-off location options and free easy to arrange pickups available by the various organizations.

When I am deciding where to donate and where to point clients to donate various goods the first question to ask is who will benefit the most from this item.

If for instance you have office attire in very good condition a great place to donate to are organizations that dress financially fragile folks entering the work force that otherwise could not afford to present a good impression while going on job interviews.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to 140 cities in nearly 25 countries and has helped more than 1.3 million women work towards self-sufficiency. Look for your local chapter. 

There are many organizations that would love your families gently used Sports equipment and Musical instruments to give to under privileged clients. Many of these organizations offer free pickup of goods. There is a furniture bank network. Furniture banks are the most socially and environmentally responsible option for unwanted furniture!

Food pantries    

For over 40 years, Feeding America has responded to the hunger crisis in America by providing food to people through a nationwide network of food banks, food pantries, and meal programs. 

History of Food Banks

The concept of food banking was developed by John van Hengel in Phoenix, AZ, in the late 1960s. Van Hengel, a retired businessman, volunteered at a soup kitchen trying to find food to serve his neighbors facing hunger.

One day, he met a desperate mother who regularly rummaged through grocery store garbage bins to find food for her children. She suggested that there should be a place where food could be stored for people to pick up rather than being thrown away —similar to how “banks” store money for future use. With that, an industry was born.

Van Hengel established St. Mary’s Food Bank as the nation’s first food bank. In its initial year, van Hengel and his volunteers distributed 275,000 pounds of food to people in need.

Word of the food bank’s success quickly spread, and states began to note. By 1977, food banks were established in 18 cities across the country.   There are many local chapters of food banks throughout the country. My bucolic little community has a very active local food pantry.

Local Charities and Nonprofits

Start your decluttering journey by seeking out local charities and nonprofit organizations. These groups often accept gently used items ranging from clothing and furniture to kitchenware and electronics. Donating to local charities helps you directly support your community and makes a meaningful impact on individuals facing challenging circumstances.

Tax Benefits: Keep records of your donations, including itemized lists, photographs, and receipts. Depending on your jurisdiction and tax situation, you might be eligible for tax deductions for charitable contributions. Consult a tax professional to understand the specifics.

Thrift Stores and Resale Shops

Thrift stores and resale shops are excellent options for donating household goods. Items you no longer need can find new homes at these establishments, where they are sold at affordable prices to individuals looking for bargains. The proceeds often fund various community programs and initiatives.

Tax Benefits: Similar to donations to charities, donations to thrift stores and resale shops might be eligible for tax deductions. Remember to keep detailed records of your donations for tax purposes.

Homeless Shelters and Transitional Housing Programs

Consider donating household goods directly to homeless shelters and transitional housing programs. Items like clothing, blankets, personal hygiene products, and kitchen essentials can make a significant difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness or working towards stability.

Tax Benefits: Inquire with the shelter or program about their nonprofit status and whether your donations might qualify for tax deductions.

Schools and Educational Institutions

Local schools, community centers, and educational institutions often welcome donations of supplies, books, and electronics. Your unwanted items can contribute to educational enrichment and skill development for students of all ages.

Tax Benefits: Donations to educational institutions might have tax benefits, especially if the institution is a registered nonprofit. Check with a tax professional to understand the potential deductions.

Environmental Organizations

Certain items you’re looking to declutter, such as electronics, can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Some environmental organizations offer e-waste recycling programs, ensuring that your old electronics are recycled responsibly.

Tax Benefits: While tax benefits might not directly apply in these cases, you’ll still be contributing to the welfare of the environment and the reduction of electronic waste.

Donation Drives and Community Events

Keep an eye out for local donation drives and community events that encourage donating household goods. These events often focus on specific needs, such as back-to-school supplies, winter clothing, or holiday gifts for underprivileged individuals.

Tax Benefits: If the event is organized by a registered nonprofit, your donations could potentially be tax-deductible. Check with the event organizers for details.

Online Platforms and Apps

In the digital age, online platforms and apps can connect you with individuals in need. Websites and apps allow you to give away or sell items directly to those looking for them, reducing waste and facilitating a direct exchange.

Disaster Relief Organizations

In times of natural disasters or emergencies, disaster relief organizations play a crucial role in providing aid to those affected. Donating household goods, such as clothing, bedding, and basic necessities, can offer comfort to individuals who have lost their homes and belongings.

Tax Benefits: Donations to disaster relief organizations are often tax-deductible. Be sure to obtain documentation of your contributions for tax purposes.

Veterans’ Organizations

Veterans’ organizations support those who have served in the military and their families. Donating household goods to these organizations can help provide support to veterans in need and contribute to programs aimed at improving their lives.

Tax Benefits: Many veterans’ organizations have nonprofit status, which means your donations could be tax-deductible. Verify their nonprofit status and consult with a tax professional.

Hospice and Elderly Care Facilities

Elderly care facilities and hospices often appreciate donations of comfort items like blankets, clothing, and entertainment materials. Your contributions can help improve the quality of life for individuals in these settings.

Tax Benefits: Donations to nonprofit hospices and elderly care facilities may qualify for tax deductions. Confirm with the facility and seek professional tax advice.

Maximizing Tax Benefits

Tax professionals

Depending on the platform and transaction type, tax implications may vary. Consult a tax professional for advice on reporting such transactions.

Remember, while donating household goods is a noble endeavor, tax laws and regulations vary by jurisdiction. It’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor or financial professional to understand the specific tax implications of your donations and to ensure accurate record-keeping.

Tax Laws

By donating your unwanted items, you’re not only creating a more organized and peaceful living or working environment for yourself but also making a positive impact on the lives of others. Let’s declutter for a cause and pave the way for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

To make the most of potential tax benefits when donating household goods, here are a few tips.


Ensure that the organizations you’re donating to are registered nonprofits with tax-exempt status.


Maintain detailed records of your donations, including descriptions, photographs, and receipts.


When determining the value of donated items, be honest and use fair market value. You can refer to resources like the IRS guidelines or consult a tax advisor.

Itemize Deductions

If you plan to claim tax deductions for your donations, you’ll need to itemize your deductions when filing your taxes.

Consult a Tax Professional

Tax laws can be complex, and their interpretation may vary based on your individual circumstances and location. Consulting a tax professional can ensure accurate reporting.


Recycling clothing now is becoming mandatory as opposed to discarding in landfills. For instance my area, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in November of 2022 has made it illegal to throw out that used Halloween costume, ripped T-shirt or moth-eaten sweater.

As a fiber artist I cut strips of used clothing and incorporate into hooked rugs and other textile designs.

Recycling is easy today with Arranging for porch pickups became popular during the pandemic and is so easy and fast to arrange.

Facebook has lots of ‘Buy Nothing Groups’ where folks give away really cool stuff for free. Mind you it is not all really cool, like anything buyer beware or in this case recycler beware.

A Win-Win for You and Others

Decluttering your space doesn’t have to be a huge, costly time consuming task, and it certainly doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag for disposal. By donating your unwanted household goods to various causes and organizations, you can create a more organized environment for yourself while positively impacting those less fortunate.

Remember that the joy of decluttering is not only in the physical space it creates but also in the positive change it brings to people’s lives. As you embark on your decluttering journey, consider the multitude of opportunities available to give back, and enjoy the sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing you’re making a meaningful difference.


Your generosity can create a win-win! where both you and those in need benefit from your thoughtful contributions.

With millions of Americans unable to afford their prescriptions each year, how can we let perfectly good medicine go unused?

If you wish to donate medicine, contact SIRUM, an organization specializing in assisting with drug donations and

Sports equipment

Make a little room in your garage and get rid of the sporting goods you no longer use. We can accept just about any used sporting goods – snowboards, skis, helmets, soccer balls, baseball mitts, and more! Your used sports equipment can help support America’s veterans and their families.


Many non-profit organizations accept donations of second hand computers. Some will only take ones in good working condition, while others will take them whether they are functional or not.

Find the best fit your used computer equipment here.

With millions of Americans unable to afford their prescriptions each year, how can we let perfectly good medicine go unused?

If you wish to donate medicine, contact SIRUM, an organization specializing in assisting with drug donations and national drug donation laws

Yes, individuals in most states can donate medicine via SIRUM. Sirum does not currently accept donations from individuals in California, Oregon, Alaska, or Hawaii. 

The Kids In Need Foundation  

It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing school supplies to students and teachers in under-resourced schools in the United States. The Kids in Need organization was founded in 1995 and has since distributed more than $1 billion worth of school supplies to over 8 million students and 200,000 teachers.    

First Book Organization

FirstBook aims to provide new books, educational resources, and other essentials to children in need. The organization was founded in 1992 and has since distributed over 200 million books to children in low-income communities in the United States and Canada. 


Mattresses can be tricky due to bedbug concerns. That said I have great success giving away mattresses on:
Facebook Marketplace
Next Door

Please only donate mattresses in good condition

Toys for kids   

Some Children’s Hospitals are very receptive to toys in great condition. See one that has toys in the waiting room? It’s likely that they were donated. When facing medical treatments – or simply waiting for a family member – most will welcome the distraction that your donation can give.

Toys for Tots

This national organization Toys for Tots has a page on their website to find your local chapter to donate to. This program sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps gathers new and used toys as gifts for needy children at Christmas time.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments – The Gift of Music Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating greater accessibility to music programs, instruments, teachers and the overall benefits of music education. This organization contributes instruments to kids who may not otherwise be able to afford them. How awesome is this!

Animal Shelters

Some animal shelters will happily take stuffed animals, provided they’re safe for their animals. That means stuffed animals that don’t have any small parts, like button eyes, that can be ripped off and ingested. They also must not be stuffed with any materials that might be harmful for the animals. 

Decluttering can be an investment in time and so well worth it. You will love the light feeling that comes after a job well done.

I hope you will now feel confident and ready to tackle your decluttering project.

Download your free resource guide and you will be aware of the many easy and affordable ways to pass on your gently used goods.

No more excuses. Start your decluttering journey now!

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

To see more articles like this, please like and follow me. Thank you!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *