SOS Donation Guidelines

Donation box isolated on white

Many people put “Get Organized” at the top of their New Year’s resolution list.  And January is GO Month.  Get Organized Month.  If you read my monthly blog, you know that purging is one of the most important parts of the organizing process.  But what should you do with all that “stuff” you no longer need or want?

I’m a huge fan of donating.  I don’t have the time or inclination to try and sell things I no longer want.  For me, it’s much easier to drop things off at my local donation center and it makes me feel good knowing that I might be helping someone in need.  Plus it helps keep waste out of our landfills.

When I’m helping clients purge and organize, I let them decide how they want to handle their cast offs.  Some want to hold garage sales or try their hand at on-line selling.  But most go the donate route. 

While it might seem like you can give away anything you don’t want, that’s not the case.  Each donation center has its own guidelines of what they will and will not accept so be sure to visit their website before loading up your car. 

With that said, here’s a list of items that most donation centers really don’t want.


  • Household chemicals, hazardous waste and paint (check your local waste disposal site for guidelines on how to properly dispose of these items)
  • Mattresses, box springs and pillows (um, bed bugs anyone?)
  • Broken or stained furniture
  • Televisions (tech evolves too quickly and some older components are actually considered hazardous waste)
  • Building supplies like lumber (check with your local Habitat for Humanity center as an alternative)
  • Broken appliances (yes, I’ve had clients do this – nobody wants or needs your broken toaster)
  • Cribs and child car seats (again, regulations are updated constantly so older models might not be deemed safe)
  • Sex toys (do I need to explain this one?)
  • Hangers (I know it seems like these would be welcome, but most donation centers are overloaded with hangers)
  • Clothes or linens with stains, rips, holes
  • Any item that has mouse droppings (ewwww…but think basement and garage purging)
  • Anything broken
  • Games or puzzles with missing pieces

This is by no means a complete list.  If in doubt, call your local donation center before dropping off questionable items.  Trust me, they will greatly appreciate it.

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