Books, clothes, canned goods – these things are easy to give away. The big box thrift stores in your area are more than eager to take the small, common items that everyone wants and needs.
However, when you are purging your home during a massive spring clean or a big move, you dig up all kinds of junk that your typical charity simply won’t accept. Fortunately, plenty of specialty charities are designed to receive unique and odd donations and transform them to benefit your community. If you are struggling to decide what to do with any of the following items, here’s a bit of help:
Books are relatively easy to unload, but do you do about your cache of old magazines? Some used booksellers will trade for gently used magazines, and some libraries also keep a stock of newer issues of popular publications. However, for the most magnanimous impact, you should approach women’s and children’s shelters, which are usually desperately in need of easily digestible reading materials. There are precious few national shelters, so you should search the web (or the phone book) for a shelter in your area.
You upgraded from those outdated frames 10 prescriptions ago, yet you still hold onto your old glasses – probably because you don’t know what else to do with them. Many glasses stores, including Pearl Vision, have donation programs to redistribute unwanted, unused eyewear to those who need corrective lenses but cannot afford them. However, you can also donate glasses to your local Lions Club, which has a prolific eyewear recycling program.
Most people replace their desktop computers every five years; laptops retain their speed and innovation for even less time. Fortunately, you don’t have to keep a hoard of outdated electronics around your home. After you remove all personal information from your hard drives, your old computers are perfect candidates for donation. Local schools and libraries are almost always looking for functional tech they can give to students and community members in need. However, nearly all nonprofits can benefit from computer parts, so you might consider approaching your favorite cause, first.
Cell and Smartphones
The same issue you have with computers, you likely have with smartphones. Almost everyone has an outdated mobile device lying dead in the back corners of their junk drawers, but even the oldest cellphones can benefit those in need. For example, Cellphones for Soldiers provides mobile tech to the nation’s heroes, allowing them to communicate better with their loved ones. However, if your old mobile device doesn’t work anymore, you shouldn’t throw it in the trash; Verizon’s recycling program will dispose of dangerous elements safely.
Boats, Cars, Motorcycles, etc.
The sooner you give up your dream of refurbishing that old, rusted vehicle in your driveway, the better. Fortunately, just because you don’t have time to bring your boat, car, or other vehicles back to life doesn’t mean a qualified charity can’t use it. Boat Angel gladly accepts vessels in nearly any condition to repair and sell, using the proceeds to benefit a number of good causes. Additionally, some local radio stations accept junky cars, and Habitat for Humanity gladly takes RVs.
The average American wedding costs about $35,000, and with all that money, you end up with a bunch of nuptial-related paraphernalia you definitely don’t need to keep. Instead of leaving it at the dump, you can help someone less fortunate tie the knot by donating to the right charities. Here are some of the most popular wedding-related donations:
- Dresses: Brides Against Breast Cancer, Brides Across America, and Angel Wings Memory Gowns
- Decorations: Wish Upon a Wedding
- Floral arrangements: local hospitals, hospice centers, and nursing homes
- Food: Feeding America or local homeless shelters
Unused Gift Cards
Sometimes, gift cards are the best gifts; most times, they are the worst. Distant relatives, unfamiliar co-workers, and bad friends tend to offer gift cards to stores or restaurants you’ll never visit. Instead of letting that money go to waste, you can donate your unused gift cards to benefit important causes. Both Gift Card Giver and Donate Your Card accept cards with any balance to nearly any store, so you can empty your wallet for charity without spending a dime.