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5 Charities That Pick up Donations for Free

Updated Oct 11, 2022

Updated Oct 11, 2022

Home > Moving > 5 Charities That Pick up Donations for Free

As homeowners, most of us collect a lot of stuff. We naturally collect things from clothes to furniture, tech, and countless other knickknacks. Often, we don’t realize just how much we own until we take stock of it, like during a move or spring cleaning. In fact, during moves and relocations, homeowners are often surprised with just how much they own and usually have to declutter while packing.

By donating, you help those in need and reduce the amount of trash accumulating in landfills while also getting rid of everything you don’t need at the same time. Charitable donations are a win-win and something that we think everyone should consider when downsizing or just looking to clear out some of their clutter. Even better, many donation companies are willing to come to your home to pick up donations for free. This is especially helpful if you don’t have the time to visit a drop-off location while trying to move.

Choosing the correct organization to donate to can be challenging, as not every company will accept every kind of item. To help narrow things down, we’ve taken the time to compile a list of the five best donation companies you can work with that will come and pick up your items completely free. 

Goodwill

Goodwill Industries International, Inc., more commonly known as Goodwill, is an international nonprofit organization that provides goods, services, and employment opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment. It was founded in 1902 by Edgar J. Helms as a portion of his ministry, but it’s no longer a religious organization today. Goodwill currently employs over 300,000 individuals, with over 3,200 stores in the U.S. alone. Goodwill obtains funds for its charitable causes and programs by reselling furniture, clothing, and other household items through its website and various retail locations. It focuses on helping individuals find employment by providing job opportunities, job training, community programs, classes, coaching, and job placement services. While most known for accepting clothing donations, Goodwill accepts many household items.

What Does Goodwill Accept? 

Due to its widespread popularity and almost universal presence across the United States, Goodwill has become one of the most well-known thrift stores. Because of this generality, Goodwill is the least picky organization on this list regarding the donations it takes in. Goodwill thrift stores sell just about anything, from clothing to electronics, books, and even art. Here is a quick list of the most common items Goodwill accepts: 

  • Men’s clothing 
  • Women’s clothing 
  • Children’s clothing 
  • Entertainment media such as books, DVDs, video games, board games, etc. 
  • Tools
  • Toys
  • Housewares 
  • Various electronics
  • Sports equipment
  • Dishes 
  • Kitchenware 
  • Art 
  • Vehicles 
  • Winter clothes 
  • Collectible antiques (items like knickknacks and giftware)

While Goodwill accepts a wide range of household goods, there are some possessions that it will not accept. Beyond items that are damaged or otherwise nonfunctioning, Goodwill does not take in the following: 

  • Furniture
    • Mattresses
    • Bed Frames 
    • Chairs, couches, stools 
    • Desks
    • Tables 
    • Bookcases, dressers, etc.
  • Large exercise equipment
  • Pianos or other large musical instruments 
  • CRT TVs
  • CRT monitors 
  • Chemical or cleaning products
  • Large appliances 
  • Weapons
  • Baby items

Who Does Your Donation Go To? 

Goodwill focuses on any individual who is experiencing difficulties finding employment. Goodwill helps the following groups:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Youths
  • The elderly
  • Veterans
  • Those who have been laid off
  • Individuals who struggle to find work after release from a prison sentence
  • Those who lack marketable jobs skills

How to Schedule Donation Pickup

While most Goodwill locations offer at-home pickup, some currently do not due to COVID-19 mandates. To find out if a local Goodwill has pickup options, you can find your nearest store through this link. Once you find an appropriate donation center, you can call it to inquire about scheduling a pickup time. 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity, often referred to as Habitat, is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Habitat helps provide high-quality, safe, and affordable new homes to in-need families. It funds its programs primarily by reselling donations via thrift shops called Habitat ReStores. While more restrictive than other donation organizations, Habitat often accepts larger, bulkier items that other organizations may not take. This specialization makes it an ideal company to contact for clearing out a garage or donating large amounts of building materials.

What Does Habitat for Humanity Accept?

Anything related to construction, home improvement, and furnishing are acceptable donations for Habitat. While each ReStore takes different items, commonly accepted items include: 

  • Gently used furniture 
  • Large or small appliances 
  • Housewares 
  • Building materials
    • Cabinets 
    • Flooring 
    • Windows
    • Doors
    • Unused and undamaged lumber
    • Fencing 
    • Bricks, paving stones, cement, etc.

Who Does Your Donation Go To? 

Your donated items are either sold at a ReStore or used in constructing a home. In the case of a sale at a ReStore, the proceeds go to funding affordable housing. Either way, your donation goes directly to helping Habitat create an affordable home for those who need it the most.

How To Schedule Donation Pickup

Habitat has donation pickup services that will send volunteers to pick up any large items you would like to donate; this includes furniture, appliances, and large or bulky building materials. You can find a store through this link and contact the store to schedule a pickup. 

Furniture Bank 

“Furniture Bank” is an umbrella term used to describe a loosely connected group of organizations, nonprofits, and social enterprises that take donated furniture and resell it at significantly discounted prices or distribute it to those in need. Furniture banks are popular in the U.S. and Canada, with most having existed since the 1970s. Since their inception, furniture banks have become a sweeping movement, with thousands dotting up across the United States. While any organization can call itself a furniture bank, official and reputable organizations are found on the official Furniture Bank Network website

What Does a Furniture Bank Accept?

As the name would suggest, furniture banks primarily accept furniture. But, depending on the specific location, they may also take appliances, certain electronics, dishes, pots, pans, and houseware items. Furniture banks also have specific conditions and rules for the furniture they receive. To be considered as a donation, all furniture should be:

  • Free of stains 
  • Devoid of rips and tears
  • Complete, and not lack pieces or parts
  • Smaller, with items 6 feet in height or less preferred 
  • Already assembled and usable
  • Essential items, such as sofas, dining tables, lamps, bedroom furniture, etc.

Who Does Your Donation Go To? 

Furniture banks aim to help those with homes, apartments, or rooms but cannot afford to furnish them. Often, furniture banks will strive to aid the recently homeless, the unemployed, struggling single-parent families, individuals with disabilities, victims of domestic abuse, the newly immigrated, and those who have lost their homes via a natural disaster. Furniture banks take your furniture and work alongside local support agencies to ensure that those in need receive them. Beyond private donations from community members, furniture banks also receive goods from active recycling centers, city authorities, and local businesses or cooperating organizations. 

How To Schedule Donation Pickup

While not all banks offer furniture donation pickup, most do. If you want to find a reputable furniture bank location, your best bet is the website’s search tool. If you have one nearby, all you have to do is grab its phone number, give the location a call, and inquire about at-home pickup for donations. 

AMVETS

Founded in 1944 by U.S. WWII veterans, AMVETS (American Veterans) is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, volunteer-led national service organization dedicated to serving veterans in need. Currently, it operates in most states, with over 250,000 members nationwide. It provides services for U.S. veterans, including crisis lines, job assistance programs, reintegration programs, gift programs, and much more. It funds these programs through thrift shops that sell donated items. When you donate to AMVETS, your donation will go directly to helping veterans by aiding in supporting its valuable programs. 

What Does AMVETS Accept?

AMVETS accepts most donations as long as they’re in good or gently used condition. Some of the best items to give are: 

  • Furniture 
  • Electronics such as televisions, computers, and exercise equipment less than 5 years old
  • Clothing 
  • Toys
  • Entertainment media like DVDs, CDs, records, games, etc.
  • Bedding 
  • Small appliances 
  • Kitchenware 
  • Lamps
  • Curtains
  • Books 
  • Bicycles 

Who Does Your Donation Go To? 

Your donations will go to thrift stores owned and operated by AMVETS. Once there, the stores will sell your goods, and the proceeds will go directly to programs that benefit and aid veterans in need.

How To Schedule Donation Pickup

AMVETS operates many thrift stores within the U.S., and you can find a store through this link. Once you get in contact with your local store, you can utilize its pickup services.

The Salvation Army

Founded in the mid-1800s by William and Catherine Booth, The Salvation Army is an evangelical Protestant church and international charitable organization. It currently hosts 1.7 million members worldwide and operates in over 130 countries. It employs facilities including thrift stores, rehabilitation centers, homeless shelters, children and elderly homes, mothers and baby homes, women’s and men’s refugee centers, hospitals, along with various other institutions and programs. 

What Does the Salvation Army Accept? 

The Salvation Army accepts most donations that are in good condition, making it a practical choice that can take care of most of your unwanted possessions in one go. Generally, it accepts: 

  • Men’s clothing 
  • Women’s clothing 
  • Children’s clothing 
  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Vehicles
  • Various electronics, including computers
  • Mattresses
  • Books 
  • Dishes

Due to laws and regulations regarding the reselling of certain goods, The Salvation Army will not accept metal desks, particleboard furniture, TV armoires, and items for infants. 

Who Does Your Donation Go To? 

The Salvation Army aims to help many displaced and vulnerable groups, including victims of domestic violence, the homeless, victims of human trafficking, those suffering from addiction, at-risk youth, disaster victims, families suffering from food insecurity, the elderly, and those recently released from incarceration.

How To Schedule Donation Pickup

The Salvation Army makes it quick and easy to schedule a free donation pickup; follow the link here to find one of its local chapters in your area. Once you find a store, you can contact it to set a time for the pickup. While speaking to a representative, you can also ask them any questions about the items you wish to donate. 

Final Thoughts

Donating to local charities is one of the best ways to clear out your home and give back to the community. On top of that, it helps keep junk and debris out of landfills, provides goods and funds to those in need, and is less costly than junk removal services. Furthermore, depending on what you give away and how you do it, the donation can even be tax-deductible. By either using donation drop-offs or donation pickup services, there are plenty of ways to donate unwanted items when you’re moving or cleaning. 

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