One Man’s Trash is a Charity’s Treasure – Tips for Donating Your Excess Items

Posted on Nov 12 2013 - 12:03am by Guest Contributor

Have you ever had some stuff that you knew you didn’t need any longer, but you also couldn’t bring yourself to throw it out? It might be something where you know a person could benefit by having your item, but you didn’t know who that person was or how to get it to them.


Before you give up and just toss out the item or leave it in the back of your closet to gather dust, consider donating it to a local charity. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, it’s also true that one man’s trash is a charities treasure.


Here are some ideas of different items you may find yourself no longer needing and how charities can benefit. This list is not all inclusive of all the items that could be put to good use, but it is a great place to start!


  • Area Rug- Donating your rug to a local charity can provide low-income individuals and families with a warmer home. You may be tired of the design, but it will make someone else smile to have the comfort below their bare feet.


  • Donate towels to animal sheltersLinens and Towels- Many animal shelters are often looking for towels and linens to line the kennels where the animals rest while waiting to be adopted. Gather your linens and find a local animal shelter – it’s better than putting them in the trash!


  • Costume Jewelry & Dress Up Boxes-This one’s for the ladies! If you’re still holding on to your dress up box from childhood, perhaps your necklaces and boas? Consider letting them go to the greener pastures of someone in need. A local battered women’s shelter or orphanage could take your old dress up box and bring hours of smiles to many faces.


  • Kitchen Items- When you last moved, did you found yourself with 6 whisks, 4 ladles, and 3 can openers? Unless you’re operating a restaurant, this volume of kitchen tools seemed a bit ridiculous! Donate your extra kitchen items and tools, Soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always in need! In order to find your what you have to donate, here is a simple guide:
    • Pull all your kitchen items out of drawers and gather them with like items.
    • Evaluate each kitchen item and determine what the true number of items is that you need.
    • Place all the items to be donated aside and wait one week.
    • If you don’t find yourself needing any of the items you pulled aside, donate them!


Next time you find yourself with an extra item, think of how it could benefit someone else. Your excess fills someone else’s need…. and truly can make a difference!


Brittany Martin Graunke is the founder of Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Brittany on Google+ or on Twitter at @ZealousBrittany. You can find Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.