Top 10 Items You Should Donate Instead of Ditch

As cliche as the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” sounds, it rings true. Every time we clean house, the seemingly useless items we discard could make a huge difference in the life of someone in need. So, before you toss your high school prom dress, old alarm clock or baby stroller, donate these items to a charity, school or church in your area. Here are the top 10 items you should donate instead of ditch:

  1. Food: Local homeless shelters that provide meals for their guests would be thrilled to have your donated food. Depending on the charity’s specific needs, non-perishable foods and canned goods, like soup, beans and tuna are generally the best things to donate because they will last the longest.
  2. Clothing and Accessories: It’s estimated that the average American throws away 67.9 pounds of used clothing and rags each year. Almost all of those tossed clothing items can be donated to homeless shelters, charitable thrift stores and battered women’s shelters, where individuals will get great use out of your old t-shirt or jacket. If you want to make sure your specialty clothing, such as prom dresses, formal wear, business suits and maternity clothes get good use, you can donate to specialty donation centers that carry those specific items.
  3. Books; You probably have a stack of books that you no longer read or your children have outgrown, so before your ditch these books, donate them. Books that are in good shape can be donated to a variety of organizations, including women’s shelters, charity-run thrift shops, prisons and local schools.
  4. Furniture and Home Decor: Whether it’s an old sofa, lamp, rugs or artwork, your donated furniture and home decor can make a big difference to someone who cannot afford to buy new items for their home. Donating these larger items is so much better for the environment than to simply toss it and have it end up in a landfill. Give these items a good cleaning, polishing and dusting to ensure these items look presentable and end up in a good home.
  5. Bedding: Blankets, pillows, linens and other bedding items are good items to donate. They are essential and sometimes expensive items, making them a prime target for those in need. Fresh sheets and a warm blanket are things we sometimes take for granted and can really make a difference for those less fortunate than us.
  6. Baby Items: Baby supplies, including playpens, cribs, strollers, unused diapers and toys are great items to donate. Many struggling families can’t afford these luxuries, and their children are often forced to go without. Donating baby items is a good way to give the items your son or daughter has outgrown new life and can help make a child’s life a little brighter.
  7. Appliances: Toasters, mixers and coffee makers that still work are typically difficult to throw out. They often contain electronics that can’t simply be thrown in the trashcan. It might be a better idea to let someone else have a chance to use them rather than attempting to discard them. After all, these items are luxuries that most struggling families could never afford without your generosity.
  8. Hardware: Tools, building materials and other hardware make great donation material. If you no longer need a tool, donate it to someone who can still use it. Tools can be very expensive but they almost never become useless. If you got a new wrench set for Christmas and are thinking of discarding the old one, think about the time you needed the right size wrench but couldn’t find one, and then imagine you can’t afford to buy one. Donating your extra hardware is a small act that can make a big difference.
  9. Toiletries: Do you have hotel soaps, shampoos and lotions taking over your bathroom drawers? If you’ve got more products than your bathroom can hold, take these unused items to local churches, homeless shelters, women’s shelters and other charitable organizations. Something as simple as a toothbrush, soap or deodorant can make a huge difference for someone’s overall hygiene.
  10. Electronics: Computers, computer equipment, cell phones and other electronics are definitely worth donating to a local charity, school or homeless shelter. Some organizations are strict about their technology guidelines and acceptance of televisions and equipment that is old and obsolete. Certain charities will redistribute technology and place refurbished computers and computer equipment to places that need it most.

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