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 can I donate this?"
As a professional organizer, the topic of donating 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.
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 If you have a computer that is “out of date” for you, someone else may be able to use it.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!
Dell Recycling and Refurbishing
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.
Second Chance Resale Shop - Suburban Chicago drop-off locations
Household Items -
Goodwill -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, DVD players, furniture
IL Am Vets - (708) 388-7800
Limited zip code pick up. Also have drop locations. Take complete computers, novels, fiction, children's books, inspirational, religious books and exercise equipment, toys (not larger than what fits in a bag or box), housewares, clothes, stuffed animals.
Salvation Army (888) 574-2587
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 -- must be in reusable condition.
People’s Resource Center 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.
Shoes are taken by Soles 4 Souls, whether they're wearable or not. They donate what's useable to developing nations and recycle the rest.
Eye wear can be donated to Give The Gift of Sight. This organization repairs glasses and passes them on to people who need them.
Baby blankets, stuffed animals and books. Project Night Night They provide 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 gently used stuffed animals and provide a sense of security to homeless children!
Furniture - Sharing Connections Furniture, located in DuPage County, takes gently used cribs, mattress and box spring sets, dressers, table and chair sets, sofas and loveseats. Drop off Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.–noon to 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.
Office and art supplies, books, cell phones and ink jet cartridges can be recycled and donated through SCARCE, located in Glen Ellyn, IL. They donate items to under-served schools and developing nations.
Home Improvement Supplies -
ReStore- Habitat for Humanity. Locations across the US. Accepts reusable appliances, building materials and furniture. Items accepted include fixtures, lumber, cabinets, doors, counters, landscaping blocks, new carpet,etc. Check web site for current listing.
Women’s Business Attire -
Second Chance Resale Shop Shops are located in Westmont and Naperville Illinois.
Poised for Success 312 S. Westmore Ave., Lombard IL 60148
Everything Else -
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 it post it and let people know how they can pick it up! The Freecycle Network(tm) - Recycling & give aways
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 laying around that you can donate today and help someone else?