The second most wonderful time of the year: spring cleaning. Round up a pile of trash bags, sort through your closets, and maybe take a look in the attic to see what you kept but don’t really need. What do you do with all this gently-used stuff? The least sustainable option is to throw it out on garbage day. Instead, help out others and the environment by donating instead.
Everyone has their own way to sort through old clothes. Dig into the back of the dresser for those old bottom-of-the-drawer shirts you haven’t worn lately, then comb your way through hanger after hanger of unworn dresses and jackets in the closet. Now that everything’s sorted and you’ve said your goodbyes to old favorites, where do you take these clothes? Local thrift stores and nonprofits like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are great places to start, but you have plenty of other options. Dress for Success New Orleans is a nonprofit organization and an excellent choice for getting rid of professional attire, work-appropriate jewelry, and shoes. They hold donation days multiple times each month. Grace at the Green Light is a social services organization that focuses on housing, feeding, and clothing the homeless population of New Orleans. They run Grace’s Clothing Closet which provides people in need with clothing and hygienic supplies.
Everyone has that forsaken end table from your first apartment shoved in a corner, or worse yet, in the attic. Before it gets too hot, go through your attic or garage inventory for all those pieces of project furniture you never got around to fixing up. Luckily, plenty of organizations and charities accept furniture. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are reuse stores where all “sales of donated items help Habitat for Humanity partner with local families to build, rehabilitate and repair safe and affordable homes in your community and around the world.” Bridge House and Grace House run thrift stores that also accept donations like clothing, kitchen items, decorative and household miscellaneous items, and gently-used furniture. Pickup can be arranged on their website for a convenient way to donate.
We’re all guilty of shoving the kids’ extra Christmas and birthday presents from relatives and friends at the top of the closet. It’s a smart idea to introduce new toys later to avoid overstimulation, however, consider donating unopened toys to children in need. One excellent donation option is the Children’s Hospital New Orleans that accepts new toys, craft supplies, games, and electronics. For the toys your kids enjoyed but don’t play with anymore, they can still have a spot in another child’s heart. Gather them up and donate them to Toys for Tots, who provide donation drop-off boxes at businesses across the city. However, they typically run from November to December.
Cribs, strollers, highchairs, carseats and so on take up a lot of space. If you’re ready to get rid of them, it may be tricky to find places to donate these items to. One of the incredibly few places that accept these items is Vietnam Veterans of America, a nonprofit corporation that was founded to support Vietnam War veterans, but supports all veterans in need today. Pickup can be arranged on their website.
What About Pickup?
What if you don’t have the time or the means to drop off your donations yourself? There are several companies that will handle pickup for you, including many of the businesses, charities, nonprofits, and organizations listed above. Through the ease of the Internet, consider donating through Pickup Please, an online service working in partnership with Vietnam Veterans of America that will schedule free pickup of your donations from the driveway. They accept all sorts of items from clothes to toys to electronics, and each item goes to an in-need veteran and their family. Overall, the world is your oyster when it comes to donating. Although the “season of giving” is over, that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves and others out by donating our clutter.
By Sarah Batrous