We have blogged before about where to donate building materials that are recyclable. But what about if you are trying to do a whole house clean-out, or even just de-clutter in preparation for sale? There are many options that will prevent unwanted items from ending up in a landfill.

A one-stop source for identifying organizations that accept various donations has been prepared by Baltimore County. Its 2019-2020 Reuse Directory can be searched either by material or by organization.

For anyone who does not have the time to drop off items to be donated, an excellent option is to schedule a home pickup through GreenDrop. GreenDrop allows you to select one of four organizations to benefit from your donated items: The National Federation of the Blind, Purple Heart, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the American Red Cross. The website provides detailed information regarding what items are acceptable for donation and what items are not acceptable. Scheduling a pick-up is simple to do online. Items simply need to be bagged or boxed up and left outside at the location you designated when scheduling the pickup. The items will need to be outside by 7:00 a.m. on the day of the pickup, and you will receive a reminder email in advance. The driver will leave a donation receipt for you.

If you have different types of items to donate (e.g., both clothing and household goods), Goodwill can be a good one-stop option. Goodwill has a complete list of what it will and will not accept here. Goodwill has a locator feature on its website that will allow you to easily identify the various donation centers in the area.

More often than not, it is clothing that homeowners are trying to donate. Locally, there are many convenient donation options available. For example:

  • CHANA clothing sheds. These sheds accept clothing, shoes, linens, and stuffed animals. They do not accept housewares, toys, electronics, or breakable items.
    • Beth Tfiloh Congregation | 3300 Old Court Rd. (lot near the high school entrance)
    • Temple Oheb Shalom | 7310 Park Heights Ave. (small parking lot to the left of the front entrance)
    • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC |3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. (lower parking lot)
    • Weinberg Park Heights JCC | 5700 Park Heights Ave. (rear of the parking lot)
  • Planet Aid bins. These bins accept both clothing and shoes, and clothing is not required to be in good condition. Planet Aid’s website provides a locator so that you can find the bin most convenient to your home or place of employment. Planet Aid will even accept clothes that have holes, stains, or tears.

Books are another item that is high on the donation list of homeowners who are doing whole house cleanouts or simply decluttering. Fortunately, there are various convenient local options available for donating books. For example:

  • Better World Books has donation bins in many locations. There is a locator on the website which will identify the bins most convenient to you. According to their website, for each book they sell on BetterWorldBooks.com, they donate a book to someone in need.
  • The Maryland Book Bank accepts used books for both adults and children. These books must be bagged or boxed. They can be dropped off 24/7 on the south loading dock at 1794 Union Ave., Baltimore, MD 21211.
  • Baltimore County Public Library. While this is paused currently, the library typically accepts donations of used books in good condition.

Check to make sure that your books are acceptable for donation; some organizations will not take, for example, textbooks older than five years or encyclopedia sets.

Another item that seems to clutter up homes is plastic shopping bags, especially now since some stores are not allowing the use of reusable bags for fear of coronavirus transmission. There are two convenient places that will accept plastic bags for recycling locally: Giant and Target.

Yet another item that everyone seems to have more than they need of is dry cleaning hangers. These can often be brought back to the dry cleaner for recycling. In Pikesville, Bressler Cleaners will accept these.

How about formal wear for proms, which tends to languish long after the big event, never to be worn again? In February 2020, Baltimore County public libraries accepted donations of such items on behalf of Prom Closet at 19 locations. Hopefully, this same option will be available in winter 2020. If not, there are plenty of other organizations that will accept donated promwear, making it possible for teens to attend who might not otherwise be able to do so.

While they may not clutter the interiors of homes, parents whose children have outgrown car seats may find that their garages have become car seat graveyards. Fortunately, Target typically offers a car seat trade-in event two times per year. The most recent one was held from September 13-26. Their event includes infant seats, convertible seats, car seat bases, and harness or booster seats. Additional information is available here.

Finally, freecycle.org is worth mentioning. This is a free website where users can give away (or get) items for free—for the purpose of keeping such items out of landfills. Groups are organized by geography. Posts specific to Baltimore are available here.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of where different items can be donated; rather, this focuses on some options that readers may find particularly convenient. If you know of a convenient way to donate household items locally that has not been addressed here, please add a comment below.