Four Ways to Do the Most Good With Your Used Items

Where to donate household items

If you have your ear to the ground on trends in the world of blogging and Pinterest, you’ve probably heard of the “40 Bags in 40 Days” decluttering challenge. Basically, the concept is that longer we let junk that we don’t need pile up around our house, the more stressed and bogged down we feel, and the more cluttered our brains are. Through the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, participants are encouraged to systematically go through each room of their home over the course of 40 days and fill one bag (or more) each day with items they don’t need until their home and mind are clutter-free and clean. The bags of unneeded items can either be disposed of if they have fulfilled their obligation to society and are no longer useful, or they can be used as charitable donations, which puts another level of good into the universe.

If you are attempting the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, or maybe not going through as intense of a process but still trying to clear your home out, you may want to identify charity organizations looking for donations that will do the most good with your household items and clothing drop off. Here are the few tips for finding a great organization looking for donations to contribute your used goods to:

  1. Step One: Find an organization that is close to your heart.

    There are any number of causes looking for donations that could benefit from your house purging. Some organizations benefit stray animals, some organizations are dedicated to helping disabled veterans, others focus on helping families in need. You will get the greatest sense of goodwill by contributing to an organization looking for donations that is meaningful to you.
  2. Step Two: Consider if your used items are beneficial to an organization looking for donations.

    Sometimes, people consider organizations looking for donations as a place to dump their trash on. While much of your unneeded items could be put to good use, these organizations are not trash collectors. If your appliance is beyond repair, or your clothing is torn and really cannot be reworn, consider recycling it instead of burdening a charity with trash.

  3. Step Three: Consider converting your used items to cash for the organization instead.

    Some donations are valuable, but not to the specific organization you are donating to. For example, if you have event passes or an designer boots that are worth hundreds of dollars, it may not help stray puppies. However, if you converted your valuable used item into money and donated that to a cause close to your heart, they could definitely make use of the money. Donating cash instead of the item itself doesn’t cost you anything other than the time it takes to sell it, and the organization you are donating to has the flexibility to use the cash for any number of needs they have.

  4. Step Four: Start local in your quest for an organization to donate to.

    We should add an asterisk here and say that donating to a non-local organization is good too. There are many worldwide organizations that do great things which your used goods can benefit. However, by donating to a local organization, the benefits of your generosity go the furthest, and have a more direct impact:

    • By keeping your donations local, the cost of transporting and processing the goods is the lowest, meaning more of the value of your donation goes directly to the cause you’re supporting.
    • When you donate locally, the benefit stays in the area that impacts your life. For example, if your used goods are sold at a thrift store, the customers who purchase your donations at a sharply reduced cost have more money to spend on other things and keeps the economy chugging along.
    • At the same time, the cash that your items are converted into are spent on goods and services in the economy that you live in, through the multiplier effect. This means the local organization you donate to spends the money at a local business, who spends it at another local business, and so on. This benefits everyone in your area, including yourself.

What is your favorite organization to donate to? Please share with us below!

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