Spring might have put you in cleaning mode, but it’s never a bad time to declutter your home. If you donate items, it not only makes the process much easier, but you can make a difference, to boot! Below are some organizations that will pick up everything from clothes and toys to furniture.
It feels good to donate things that you no longer need to someone who could 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.
Luckily, there are quite a few free donation pickup services, many of which even take furniture and other heavy items. Below, you’ll find everything that you need to schedule an easy, stress-free pickup for your old stuff!
How to Prepare a Donation for Pickup
First, make sure that your items are ready to go. Pickup services generally only take things that are clean and in good condition. If your stuff has serious damage, consider it trash or recyclables, not donations. If something is functional but dirty, give it a good cleaning so that it’s ready for the next person to use.
Next, clearly label your donations. Pickup drivers might not take things if they’re unsure whether they’re meant to be donated. You don’t need anything fancy for your labels—just use a Sharpie on cardboard boxes or tape a piece of paper to larger items. Write something like “For pickup” or “Donation.”
If the company provides instructions for labeling or preparing your stuff for pickup, be sure to follow them. Otherwise, before the scheduled pickup, leave your labeled items outside in an easily accessible location, such as your porch or driveway. If you live in an apartment, you might need to specify which side of the building things will be on.
When using a pickup service for the first time, it’s a good idea to be available at the pickup time in case the driver calls with any questions. Still, getting your items picked up is generally a smooth and easy process, saving you the time and effort of transporting things yourself.
Free Pickup Services
Many of the services listed below are available nationwide, so chances are good that you’ll find one near you! Not only do you get to declutter your home, but you also get to support an organization making a difference in your community.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Habitat for Humanity ReStores takes donations of home improvement items and resells them at affordable prices in their nonprofit stores, supporting their mission of making housing more accessible.
This is a great option for donating larger items (like appliances and furniture) as well as building supplies (like tiles or flooring). Most ReStores offer pickup 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 resells a wide variety of items while investing in communities by helping individuals find jobs and advance their careers.
Most Goodwills pick up donations of furniture and other large items. They also accept smaller items like clothing, dishes, books, and more. You can find your local store here. Contact them to find out whether they do pickups.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army thrift stores support a long list of services, from homeless shelters and disaster relief to assistance for the elderly.
The organization also offers free pickups and generally, accepts large donations (including furniture) as well as 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 funds 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. Although it isn’t nationwide, GreenDrop pickups are available in many East Coast locations. You can check acceptable donations here and search pickup options by zip code here.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
The VVA offers support to Vietnam veterans and those who have disabilities or are experiencing homelessness in particular. You can support this service by scheduling a pickup for small items or for any furniture that can be carried by one person.
This organization isn’t nationwide—it’s 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.
Pickup Service Directories
While most of the organizations listed above serve many areas, it can sometimes be difficult to find a pickup option in some locations, especially if you don’t live in or near a major city.
If you’re struggling to find a donation pickup service near you, try one of the service directories below. They often list smaller, local organizations as well as the major nationwide options.
PickUpMyDonation aggregates nonprofit organizations that offer pickups so that you can support those in your community. Its focus is making it easy to donate large items.
To use the service, just search by your zip code and item type to find an organization that will take it. There are some fee-based services in the database as a backup in case none of the free services are available near you. Search here to get rid of your old stuff easily.
Donation Town aggregates local charities that will pick up your donations. Most of the options in its directory pick up furniture as well as smaller items.
However, you’ll need to contact individual charities directly to find out exactly what they’ll take. You can search for options by zip code here.
Furniture Bank Network
The Furniture Bank Network is a great choice if you need to get rid of large items. This website is a directory of local furniture reuse organizations, or “furniture banks,” many of which offer pickup services.
Most of the locations are in the eastern U.S., but there are a few elsewhere as well. Just search by location on the directory map here.
What to Do If a Pickup Service Isn’t Available
If none of these options are available near you, don’t give up just yet. First, try contacting local thrift stores and moving companies. Since both types of businesses generally deal with unwanted furniture and other items, they’re great resources for finding out about local donation pickup services.
Still, some areas just might not have any free options available. To save yourself a trip (or if you don’t have transportation for your stuff), you can use a fee-based service instead, like a local junk removal company.
While paying a fee isn’t ideal, it’s better than all that unwanted stuff sticking around even longer and continuing to clutter up your home.
There’s something satisfying about getting rid of stuff that you no longer need. Plus, when you donate to charitable organizations, you’re helping others, which is even more satisfying. By the way, did you know that you can even donate old socks and give a dog a bed?