Spring may have put you in cleaning mode, but it̵
It feels good to donate things you no longer need to someone who can use them. However, if you don’t have reliable transportation to get your donations where they need to go, you might be tempted to give up before you even start.
Fortunately, there are quite a few free donation pick-ups, many of which even take furniture and other heavy items. Below you’ll find everything you need to schedule an easy, stress-free pick-up of your old stuff!
Prepare a donation to be picked up
First, make sure your items are ready to use. Pickups generally only accept things that are clean and in good condition. If your stuff has serious damage, consider it waste or recyclable material, not donations. If something is functional but dirty, give it a good clean so it’s ready for the next person to use.
Then clearly label your donations. Pickup drivers may not take things if they are not sure they are meant to be donated. You don’t need anything fancy for your labels – just use a Sharpie on cardboard boxes or stick a piece of paper on larger items. Write something like “For Collection” or “Donation.”
If the company provides instructions for labeling or preparing your items for collection, be sure to follow them. Otherwise, prior to scheduled collection, please leave your labeled items outside in an easily accessible location, such as your porch or driveway. If you live in an apartment, you may need to specify which side of the building things will be on.
When using a pick-up service for the first time, it’s a good idea to be available at the pick-up time in case the driver calls with questions. Still, collecting your items is generally a smooth and easy process, saving you the time and effort of transporting things yourself.
Free pick up service
Many of the services below are available nationwide, so chances are you’ll find one near you! Not only can you clean up your home, but you’re also supporting an organization that makes a difference in your community.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Habitat for Humanity ReStores takes donations of home improvement items and sells them at affordable prices in their non-profit stores, supporting their mission to make housing more accessible.
This is a great option for donating larger items (like appliances and furniture) and building supplies (like tiles or floors). Most ReStores offer collection services, even for large items. You’ll find a detailed list of accepted donations here, and you can search for a ReStore to schedule a pickup here.
Goodwill is one of the most common thrift stores in the United States. The organization sells a wide variety of items and invests in communities by helping individuals find jobs and advance their careers.
Most goodwills collect donations of furniture and other large items. They also accept smaller items like clothes, plates, books and more. You can find your local store here. Contact them to find out if they pick up.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army thrift stores support a long list of services, from homeless shelters and disaster relief to assistance to the elderly.
The organization also offers free pickups and generally accepts large donations (including furniture) and many types of smaller items. You can search by zip code here to find a location near you and schedule a pickup.
GreenDrop collects donations to raise money for the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia.
Small items and furniture under 50 lbs. are accepted, including small appliances, electronics, and more. While not nationwide, GreenDrop pickups are available in many East Coast locations. You can check acceptable donations here and search by zip code for pick-up options here.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
The VVA provides support to Vietnam veterans and in particular people with disabilities or homelessness. You can support this service by scheduling a collection for small items or furniture that can be carried by one person.
This organization is not nationwide – it is only available in 13 states. However, if you live in one of them, you can check the acceptable donations here and then search by zip code to schedule your pickup here.
While most of the organizations listed above serve many areas, it can sometimes be difficult to find a pick-up option in some locations, especially if you don’t live in or near a major city.
If you’re having trouble finding a donation collection service near you, try one of the service guides below. They often list smaller, local organizations as well as the large national options.
Pick upMy Donation
PickUpMyDonation collects nonprofits that offer pickups so you can support those in your community. The focus is on making large items easy.
To use the service, all you need to do is search by your zip code and item type to find an organization that would like to use this service. There are a number of paid services in the database as a backup in case none of the free services are available in your area. Search here to get rid of your old stuff easily.
Donation Town gathers local charities that will collect your donations. Most of the options in the directory retrieve both furniture and smaller items.
However, you will need to contact individual charities directly to find out exactly what they will do. Here you can search for options by zip code.
Furniture sofa network
The Furniture Bank Network is an excellent choice if you want to get rid of bulky items. This website is a directory of local furniture recycling organizations, or “furniture benches,” many of which offer collection services.
Most locations are in the eastern US, but there are a few elsewhere as well. Just search by location on the map map here.
What to do if no pick-up service is available?
If none of these options are available near you, don’t give up yet. Try contacting local thrift stores and moving companies first. Since both types of businesses generally deal with unwanted furniture and other items, they are great resources to learn about local donation collection services.
Still, free options may not be available in some areas. To save yourself a trip (or if you don’t have transportation for your belongings), you can use a fee-based service such as a local garbage disposal company instead.
While paying a fee isn’t ideal, it’s better than all those unwanted things that linger even longer and continue to clutter your home.
There is something satisfying about getting rid of things you no longer need. In addition, when you donate to charitable organizations, you help others, which is even more rewarding. By the way, did you know that you can even donate old socks and give a dog a bed?