Following along with Jocie’s theme from yesterday, we’re in the process of reclaiming our fourth bedroom this summer. Due to a house-guest overlap coming in August, we need to convert our office back to a bedroom; and we’re taking this opportunity to purge our home of more of those items we’ve been stashing in every closet or corner “just in case we might want them someday.” We’d rather be storing only those things we actually use. Sentimentality, begone! (within reason, of course)
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As I’ve been bagging everything, it occurs to me that a list of charities who will pick up items at your door might be helpful to others of you who are similarly downsizing. If you’re more inclined to haul the donation yourself, see my other post for a list of Charities with Drop Off Locations. We’ve had good experiences with those listed below, and I’ll add to the list, as we find more. They pick up from your doorstep and leave a doortag-receipt which you can use for writing off the donations on your taxes.
National Charities with Local Pickup
Local pickup isn’t just for heavy stuff like appliances and furniture. These national services are happy to collect clothing, household goods, books, electronics and more right from your home. Before scheduling a pickup, make sure everything is in good working order. Electronics should function, clothes should be clean and include any manuals if possible. Don’t donate broken or spoiled goods. Some services require the donation to be outside before 8 am and clearly labeled so check the requirements.
- AMVETS (American Veterans National Service Foundation): http://www.amvetsnsf.org/stores.html
- Goodwill: http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate/donate, OR http://locator.goodwill.org/
- Purple Heart: http://zc.purpleheartpickup.org/
- Salvation Army: http://www.satruck.com/donate-goods
- Vietnam Veterans of America (see map for [many] participating states): http://www.clothingdonations.org/service.htm
Charities with Limited-Location Local Pickup
Limited local pickup is usually reserved for larger donations and high value items. It is often dependent on the quantity and quality of your donation, your location, and the availability to perform the pickup.
- The Lupus Foundation (Maryland, Virginia, DC & New Jersey only): http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_donateotherways.aspx?articleid=1190&zoneid=47
- National Children’s Center (Maryland, Virginia & DC only): http://www.nccinc.org/index.php?module=CMpro&func=viewpage&pageid=15
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores: http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore.aspx
- National Kidney Foundation (South Carolina area): http://www.kidney.org/site/209/clothing.cfm?ch=209
- Canadian Diabetes Association (Canada only): http://www.diabetes.ca/get-involved/supporting-us/clothesline/howto/
- Habitat for Humanity (limited pickup): http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore.aspx?place=can
The best part about these pickup-charities is that they tend to call back whenever they plan to return to the area. While I hate getting “junk calls,” I’m glad that THEY call ME every few months, instead of my needing to take the initiative. It motivates me to scramble about the house and gather together at least one bag of items we’re honestly not using, get a tax write-off in the process, and most importantly, make our unused items available for use by someone who can benefit from purchasing them at a reduced price.
If I’m not sure about an item, I hold onto it till the next call comes. If I still haven’t used it, out it goes. And as our children outgrow toys or receive toys as gifts, and I notice toys that are ritually ignored, I can make those relatively-new items available to lower-income families who can be blessed by our being blessed with generous friends and family. Same thing with their clothes.
We can’t keep everything, and I’ve been convicted more recently that we SHOULDN’T hoard a whole bunch of “stuff,” just to “have” it. We want to teach our boys that Things are for using, and that People are where we should be making most of our investment. To be consistent, we need to share what we have – stuff that is JUST STUFF to us – with people who will actually make use of those items.
On a related note, if you do contact the charities above, please do make sure that what you donate is in good condition, so they’re not spending unnecessary overhead sorting through and weeding out items that should have gone into the trash.
And one final word of warning: we’ve found cleaning out to be addicting. It’s so nice to have a clean, uncluttered house. While we started out a bit hesitantly (“What if we give this away, and then we want it again?”), we’ve found that we’ve almost never even thought about those things again. So now we have more of an attitude of “What can we give this time?” It’s worth the effort getting started, and since we live in an area where we mingle across the socio-economic spectrum, we know some of the people who benefit from the donations made by families like ours.
And, heck, that’s how I afforded “new” clothing as a college student, myself!
What do you think? Do you periodically “clean house” and donate goods to charity? Is there something in your house that you find yourself hanging onto, even though you don’t know why you do it? Any good charities I should add to the list above?