At reSPACEd, we work with clients to help them organize their spaces, which often means bagging up unwanted items for donation. We try to donate as much of our clients’ unwanted items as possible, rather than throwing them away. But sometimes it can be really tricky to find a place to donate certain things. So here are our favorite, tried-and-true charities to donate to:
Toys, Stuffed Animals, Kids’ and Baby Clothing
NW Children’s Outreach. This non-profit works with local care providers to distribute kid items to children in need. For example, some of these donations go to foster children, who may have had to leave their families without their beloved toys or stuffed animals. Donation is kind of tricky — they are only open one or two days a week, but they have multiple locations including donation centers in Vancouver, NE Portland, Tualatin and Beaverton.
Impact Northwest. When I’m working on Portland’s East Side, I like to donate unwanted kid items to Impact Northwest, which works directly with at-risk families in Portland.
Towels, Blankets, Pillows
Oregon Humane Society. I’m told the Humane Society uses old bedding and towels to line the animals’ kennels. Just bring your clean bedding in during their regular business hours Monday-Saturday.
Books, CDs, DVDs
Multnomah County Library branches. You can donate up to two grocery bags of these materials at any branch of the library. Just drop them off at the front counter. Books need to be in good condition (not ripped, stained or moldy). Have more than two bags’ worth? Drive them to Title Wave Books, the resale shop run by the Multnomah County Library system. Their resale shop is open to the public and housed in a century-old building, making it a fun place to browse on a rainy afternoon. They will also pick up large collection of books if you are unable to drive.
Office Supplies, Arts and Craft Supplies
Schoolhouse Supplies. This non-profit operates Oregon’s only “free” store for regional public school teachers. Teachers can collect the supplies they need for their classroom without having to use their own money. In addition to office supplies and arts and crafts items, Schoolhouse Supplies also accepts basic toiletry items (toothpaste, toothbrushes), organizing supplies like bins and plastic drawer units, and small toys, which teachers might use in a classroom prize box.
Community Warehouse. They will pick up your furniture for a $30 fee and place it in their “furniture bank” (a warehouse). People moving into housing from off the street can visit the warehouse with their case manager and pick out furniture they need for a flat fee of $50 (often this fee is paid for by another social agency).
High-End Women’s Professional Clothing
Dress for Success. This non-profit provides professional clothing to low-income women who need something to wear to job interviews. Their donation hours are limited to just one Saturday and one Wednesday a month, so I usually have to plan ahead to donate there.
Food, Toiletry Items, Diapers
St. Vincent dePaul. They operate a food bank out of the local Catholic Church near my neighborhood, so it makes it easy to drop off a bag or two of food during the week. The food pantry is open to anyone in need, but mostly serves the North Portland area.
When there’s a ton of stuff and I don’t want to drive
I call Pickup Please. Pickup Please is the donation arm of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and they collect items to resell to private resale shops. All proceeds go to support the mission of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Please note that they do not serve apartment buildings nor will they enter a residence, so you need to place all of your items to be donated on a covered porch or carport. The great thing about this non-profit is that they take just about everything — clothes, toys, housewares, small furniture — and they pick up for free.
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