Decluttering is an important part of living a frugal lifestyle. Having extra stuff around that you aren’t using is a physical and mental burden. It can also be costly because it often means that you can’t find what you need when you need it and therefore make unnecessary new purchases. If you can sell your old items, that’s great. But if you can’t sell them then you should consider donating them to charity. This allows you to get rid of the item, support a good cause and maybe even get some tax benefits. Not sure where to donate? This guide will help you out.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: kbaird

Charities that take computers, cell phones and other consumer electronics

One of the most difficult things to get rid of for many people is old consumer electronics, especially if these items no longer work. However, there are some charities out there that will take these items off your hands:

  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. You can email unwanted cell phones to this organization and they will give them to victims of domestic violence who may need to use them in case of an emergency.
  • Phones For Life. This is another organization that takes cell phones for people who may need them in emergency. In this case they go to senior citizens.
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers. Donate your used cell phone so that a soldier overseas can call home.
  • Computers with Causes. Your unwanted computer can help educational and vocational programs.
  • Electronics TakeBack Coalition. This organization helps people to recycle their old and broken computers.
  • Best Buy. Did you know that all U.S. Best Buy stores offer a consumer electronics recycling program?

Note that many individual consumer electronics brands (such as Samsung, Sony and Sprint) will also take back their own items when it comes time to recycle them.

Charities that take automobiles

Do you have an automobile that isn’t worth anything? Maybe it’s not even running. Get rid of it by donating it to a good cause:

  • America’s Car Donation Center. This well-established car donation program has been taking cars off of people’s hands since 1992.
  • Donate Car for Charity. This is a nationwide car donation program that will pick up your vehicle at no cost.
  • Kars4Kids. Your vehicle donation to this program helps to provide for the needs of at-risk youth.
  • Outreach Center Car Donation Program. This is another program that helps kids in need and will take your old car. It’s available in most U.S. states.

Charities that take furniture

It’s great to sell used furniture if you can. But if you can’t then you should donate it to one of the following charities:

  • National Furniture Bank Association (NFBA). The goal of this organization is to make sure that no child in America is forced to sleep on the floor. They provide beds and other furniture to families in need.
  • Choose2Care. Donate your furniture to this organization and they will sell it and use the money for various charities.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters. This important nationwide mentoring program often accepts donations of used furniture.
  • Purple Heart. This organization assists people in need who have previously received the military purple heart award. They will sometimes accept furniture donations.
  • United Way. You can use the United Way website to search for local organizations that are currently taking furniture donations in your area.

Charities that take small items like books and clothes

A lot of the items that are taking up space in your home are little items. Find them a new home with one of these charities:

  • Salvation Army. This well-known organization will come to your home and pick up your used items. Alternatively you can drop them off at local centers around the nation.
  • Goodwill. This, along with Salvation Army, is one of the most popular donation items for people looking to get rid of small items.
  • St. Vincent de Paul. Donate your items to this nationwide organization so that they can sell them in their thrift stores.
  • Vietnam Veterans of America. Household goods and other small items are accepted by this organization.

Look locally to donate specialty items

If you have more specific items that can’t be donated to these large organizations, don’t worry. You can look locally to donate these items. For example, if you have arts and craft supplies then you might donate them to a local school or children’s art program. Non-profit organizations and churches are often looking for donations. You can also donate to individuals using Freecycle or the free section of Craigslist. Declutter your home and give to a good cause at the same time!

What is your favorite charity for the donation of used goods?