Give This Holiday and Make Your Home Clutter-Free

Charitable organizations make it even easier for you to donate your household items this time of year.

Guest post by Laura McHolm

‘Tis the season of gratitude, giving and of course: decorating, parties, feasts, shopping and more. But before you go down your merry, merry to do list, think about the needs of your community and all the stuff and clutter you don’t need around your home. Perhaps, you have clothing, furniture, kitchen items, or even food you have been meaning to clear out? The jolly news is charitable organizations make it even easier for you to donate your household items to assist those in need this time of year. You can make a difference, so everyone can have a joyful holiday. And, you get to rediscover the holiday joy you experienced as a child.

This is not just another to do on your holiday list, it’s very simple and the rewards are immense – it’s the ultimate win- win! You assist others and at the same time you get a clutter-free home, all prepped for the holidays. No need to scramble to find a solution for outgrown clothes and furniture, and pantry items you will never use, simply follow this guide of “What to Give and Where to Give” and the process will be Grinch-free!

1. Non-Perishable Food

Make room for all of the yummy holiday goodies! Wondering if your food bank wants your three pound bottle of mustard? Here are the top items that they need:

  • Canned Vegetables & Fruits
  • Canned Stews & Soups
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Tuna
  • Pasta & Sauce
  • Baby Food
  • Dry Beans
  • Flour
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Rice
  • Peanut/Nut Butters & Jelly/Jams

Where to Donate:

  • Your local Food Bank. You can find your local food bank here.
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues, schools, and grocery stores to see if they are hosting food pantry donations drop offs
  • Visit www.MoveForHunger.org, a non-profit organization that will connect you with a local moving company that will deliver your non-perishable food donations to your local food bank for you. Check out their Find A Mover tool.
  • Willing to roll-up your sleeves? Start your own food drive. Simply ask local businesses, schools and libraries to put out your colorfully decorated food drive donation boxes and use your social networks to get the word out. It only takes 1.2lbs of food to provide a meal to an individual in need, so it doesn’t matter how big your food drive is, every little bit helps.

2. Clothing

Make room for your holiday sweaters! Bring gently used clothing to the following charities or go online or call them to see if they will come to your door to pick up your donations.

  • Baby, kids and adult clothing
  • Coats (Kids and families are in great need of coats this time of year.)
  • Suits
  • Belts
  • Scarves
  • Ties
  • Pocketbooks
  • Boots
  • Shoes

Where to Donate:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Veteran organizations
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • Red Cross
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues and schools, to see if they are hosting clothing donation drop offs

3. Toys

Make room for what Santa brings! Get your kids involved in sorting through their things so they get to learn the ultimate gift – the gift of giving!

  • Gently used, unbroken toys or new toys that are unwrapped (it depends on the charity if a new toy is required so contact them first.)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Coloring books & crayons
  • School supplies and stationery
  • Hand held games
  • Children’s books
  • No toy guns or other violent toys

Where to Donate:

  • Toys for Tots. Find your local Toys for Tots drop off locations here.
  • Local children’s hospitals & hospitals
  • Local Ronald McDonald House. Find a local Ronald McDonald location or care mobile here.
  • Local Boys & Girls Club
  • Many local shelters or children’s charities accept toy donations. Use this Homeless Shelter Directory to find shelters in your area.
  • Organizations like My Stuff Bags and Stuffed Animals for Emergencies offer children a familiar object in times of crisis.
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues, and schools, to see if they are hosting toy donation drop offs
  • Other places to check include a children’s social services office and even stores often have a donation bin at the front entrance where you can place donation

4. Household Goods & Furniture

Make room for your gifts!

  • Antiques, collectibles
  • Appliances (small)
  • Artwork
  • Bedspreads, blankets, curtains, tablecloths, decorative pillows
  • Bicycles
  • Books, records, tapes, CDs, DVDs
  • Cookware, dishes, pots and pans
  • Housewares and decorative items
  • Jewelry
  • Sporting goods
  • Gently used furniture

Where to Donate:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Veteran organizations
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • Red Cross

5. Cell Phones 

Clean out the old gadget drawer! Donate old smart phones & tablets (make sure to clear your data from it first!)

Where to Donate:

6. Gift Cards

Keep your drawers clutter free! Re-gift the gift cards you are given and turn them into charitable donations. Exchange your retail gift cards for a charity donation. You will receive a tax receipt for the entire full value or residual balance of your card.

Where to Donate:

  • CharityGiftCertificates.org

7. Vehicles

Open up a parking space for Santa’s sleigh!

  • Car
  • Truck
  • RV
  • Boat
  • Motorcycle
  • Trailer

Where to Donate:

  • Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes
  • Salvation Army
  • Kars 4 Kids
  • Wheels for Wishes
  • Cars Helping Veterans.org
  • Goodwill

Once you have cleared the clutter and given to those who will actually use and need your unwanted items, well, just like they say in Whoville, your heart will grow three sizes and the true meaning of the holidays will come through, plus two!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

Sharon is the Digital Content Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She is passionate about giving back to the community and enjoys teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at the local Boys & Girls Club. She loves pun-ny jokes and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day.

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