Knowing What to Donate


I have the clearest memory in my head of my mom taking things to the Goodwill drop-off just down the street from our house, and think it was literally just trash. It didn’t really help that the donations were housed in rather large Hefty bags. I remember, clear as day, thinking that surely no one wants the junk that we are going to offer. I was right too. Turns out no one wants a be-halved toaster oven. Not a lot of utility for that sort of thing. As it happens, almost all donation drives ask for some similar items, and not all of them can be readily found in long-term storage. If you are about to move some items into long-term storage, and looking to donate some items, here is a quick organization guide to help make the most of your space.


While not the most sought after of belongings in the donation game, they are still incredibly necessary. While there are often decent numbers of shoe donations, many of the shoes that are ultimately donated are all but destroyed. Instead, consider donating either new or lightly used shoes so as to ensure that they get the most use possible by those who are in need of them.


Yes, entertainment give them something to do. Something real, and tangible. Don’t toss that finished Sudoku book into the donation pile. It isn’t the fault of those in need that you couldn’t get to expert level so don’t put that on them. You shouldn’t donate the jet ski from storage either, honestly if you are thinking of letting go of a jet ski you can afford to get a handful of movie passes. In a shocking statistic two million kids run away from home each year. Letting the kids watch the newest superhero movie might be the only comfort they have had in weeks or more. They need to believe that Superman will save them more than you need to judge the CGI.


This goes along with the underwear thing, at least in terms of conceptualization. Think about how weird it feels to not brush your teeth for a night, now consider a month. Sure, over time you might get used to it, but by that time who knows how many teeth you might have. Think about how hard it would be to get back on your feet without smelling good for that interview. If you want to help, deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and brushes go a long way and are always in short supply at shelters.


There is a reason that this is at the bottom of the list. When you read donate clothes, your first thought was to give some of your old and ratty clothes. Things from the back and bottom of the storage unit you rented out; shirts at the back of the closet; suits that belonged to your grandfather. That is not what I am talking about specifically here. Donate those too but get a couple of newer items too. A new winter coat goes a long way. Try to keep utility in the forefront of your mind; some nice blouses, some dress clothes, anything that can help get people back on their feet. A new blazer will do more good than your 1995 Cleveland Cavaliers shirt.