Illustration of pink sneakers with whit laces holding them up

Where to Donate What No Longer Sparks Joy

Whether you went full Marie Kondo, or are just looking to relocate some questionable holiday gifts from this season, here are a few suggestions for where you can donate the things that no longer spark joy for you.

Photo of wooden shelves with multicolored knit sweaters on them

Clothing & Shoes

Refugee and homelessness outreach programs are always in need of clothing and shoes for the communities they serve. See if any in your area are accepting donations! In Rochester, Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach is a great place to donate your shoes. Rather than having them resold at a thrift or consignment shop.

Children’s Clothing

Domestic violence centers like Willow Center are always in need of clothing and personal care items. They particularly need the resources to take care of the children affected by domestic violence. With fast-growing kids, shelters have a constant need for clothing.

Photo of books on wooden shelves

Books

Donate your books to your local library to help support your community’s education. Your books may end up on the shelves for the public to enjoy, or sold to support the spaces and programs the Library offers. Alternatively, consider donating your books to communities with fewer literacy resources. Books For Africa collects and ships your donated books to African students, helping to end the book famine in their communities.

Household Items & Kitchenware

Donate your kitchenware and functioning household items to families and individuals that have had to start from scratch. Shelters like The Sojourner Home are in need of these items to create comfortable housing for women looking for a safe space to start anew.

Photo of a sleeping kitten on a gray blanket

Heavily Used Textiles

Even the flannel you wore way too much in college can be repurposed rather than thrown in a landfill. Most animal shelters accept blankets and other textiles to help create a comfortable environment for the animals in their care. In Rochester, you can donate these at The Verona Street Animal Society to help a kitten hone their cuddling skills as they await a new home.

Everything Else

Although it’s easier to trash all the stuff that’s no longer serving you, remember that there are plenty of people who can get good use out of most of the things you’re tossing. Reaching out to groups online like the Buy Nothing Project can connect you with people who are looking precisely for what you’re about to kick to the curb. Facebook and Craigslist are great resources for offering your excess to the public. Even scrap wood and other seemingly useless materials are gold to some handy upcyclers.

Spark joy for someone else this holiday season.

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