Downsizing 101 | Where to Donate Your Hard-to-Donate Stuff

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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Do you know where to donate your stuff? If you’re like us in our empty nest, we’re constantly looking for ways to downsize, distribute, and divest ourselves of all kinds of things! Oh, it’s easy when it comes to clothing, but what about the rest of the stuff?

As you probably know, Bob and I decided not to move to a smaller home when our kids left the nest. Nope! Instead, we repurposed some rooms — like turning our formal dining room into my office and the kids’ rooms into guest rooms. We also did some remodeling that will help us age-in-place if we want to stay here long term. For example, when we remodeled our master bath, we added a comfort-height commode, and a bench, and a hand-held sprayer in the shower.

But part of decided to stay put was divesting ourselves of things like the piano that wasn’t getting played, the books that no one was reading, and even things like formal wear that no one was wearing. We gave the kids what they wanted, of course, but they didn’t want much! We didn’t want to dump it all in the trash, and Goodwill doesn’t take everything! What to do?

So I started researching. And researching. And researching! Today, I’m sharing the results of that research and telling you where to donate all kinds of stuff.

Where to Donate Medical Supplies

After Bob had his hip replacement surgery a few years ago, we ended up with everything from a shower seat to a long-handled shoehorn that we didn’t need once he’d recovered. We were able to pass those items along to family members who needed them, but we found several places that would accept gently used medical supplies in the process. Donate those items at Project Cure and Advocates for World Health. Both organizations take medical gear and unused supplies for worldwide use. Alternatively, you can contact Med-Eq, an organization that acts as a liaison between individuals & industries who want to donate medical supplies to non-profits that need them. 

Where to Donate Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are expensive! To donate a recycled device, try The Starkey Hearing Foundation or the Hearing Aid Project.

Where to Donate Eyeglasses

Your used glasses could give sight to someone else! Any glasses you donate should be in good-to-excellent condition — no broken frames or missing lenses. Lions Clubs International partners with the Walmart Corporation to accept donations at any participating Walmart Vision Center. The collection boxes are usually near the Vision Center entrance. Find your nearest Walmart with the Walmart Store Locator.

Where to Donate Shoes

If you’ve got gently used athletic shoes to donate, consider donating them to One World Running. They share nearly-new athletic shoes with needy athletes. For other shoes, contact Soles4Souls. They provide new and gently used footwear to people all over the world.

Where to Donate Formal Wear

To donate wedding dresses and special occasion gowns for military and first-responders, try Brides Across America. To donate prom dresses for high schoolers, try Becca’s Closet.

Help a young musician discover a love for music by donating your old instrument in and condition to Hungry For Music. They’ve provided more than 16,000 instruments to children in 50 states (and 32 countries) in the past 27 years!

To donate guitars and related gear to a veteran in need, go to Guitars4Vets.

Where to Donate Tech

Different non-profits use donated electronics in different ways. Some refurbish and sell them for cash if they’re still usable or recycle totaled gadgets for the value of their parts. (Old cellphones and computers contain a significant amount of valuable metal, plastic, glass, copper, and silver that organizations can recover, sell, or reuse.) The proceeds fund their programs.

Other non-profits donate refurbished electronics directly to those in need. So if that’s something that matters to you, research the charity’s methods before donating.

Where to Donate Computers

The National Cristina Foundation can link you with a non-profit right in your area that could use tech like laptops, desktops, tablets, copiers, scanners, and more. They accept corporate and individual donations, so pass on this good information if your company is upgrading!

If you have a laptop to donate, another alternative is to mail it to Globetops. They will channel it to someone in need in the US or elsewhere. (Note: With the uptick in remote learning right now, there are lots of kids in need.)

Where to Donate Phones

You can donate an old phone to Cell Phones for Soldiers to fund calls for service members overseas.

If you have a heart for health care, consider donating your old phone to Medic Mobile. They support health care in 26 countries.

Where to Donate Books

How fun is this? You can ship your books directly to service members with your specific reading tastes via Books for Soldiers. (Directly view their requests by signing up for an account HERE.)

If you’d rather not send books directly, donate your books to Operation Paperback. Since 1999, they’ve shipped over 2.9 million books to American troops or military families stationed all over the world! 

Where to Donate Appliances

Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell construction supplies and household goods. You can drop off small appliances, and they will pick up large appliances.

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I hope this list has inspired you to consider donating as you clean out or downsize! Donating unused items helps the planet, encourages others, and helps free your space for what’s to come. But I’m warning you — once you start donating, your heart will be so full of joy, you may find it addictive! Blessing others will bless you, and that’s the best feeling in the world.

If this post has been helpful to you, it might be helpful to others as well! Feel free to share it with others using the icons right below my signature at the bottom of the post.

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One Comment

  1. Very helpful! Where were you able to donate your piano. I am having no luck donating or selling my baby Grand. Thanks!

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