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Clearing Clutter: Where to Donate Old and Used Items in New York

Clearing Clutter: Where to Donate Old and Used Items in New York

Here's where to donate makeup, sheets and towels, books, furniture, electronics, clothes, and almost anything you're looking to get out of your house.

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time to clear out and clean up your home. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have a good amount of unwanted stuff lying around taking up space—everything from the smallest piece of makeup to toys your kids no longer play with to that recliner that’s been collecting dust in storage for years.

It’s easy to know what you want to toss, but what do you do with it once it’s boxed up? Sure, most items can be properly placed outside for garbage pick-up. But these days, you don't have to just throw everything away. There are a lot of sustainable options for getting rid of unwanted stuff that are good for your community—and in some cases, include incentives that are good for your wallet.

Below are some ideas on what to do with your home's top clutter causes. Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, donation guidelines and options may have been temporarily changed. Please call ahead to ensure each location is still accepting donations at this time.

Where to Donate Makeup

Do you have a drawer filled with gently used or even brand-new lipsticks and other cosmetics? Maybe you never got around to trying those shocking shades you purchased on impulse. Gather all those colorful products and donate them to a local women’s shelter. Check out this directory of women's shelters to find one near you. Give them a call to see what they need, and feel good about giving back.

Where to Donate Sheets and Towels?

Sometimes we just have too many towels and sets of bedding in our homes. But you know who doesn't? The people and pets at local animal shelters. Make linens a part of your spring-time clear out by donating them to animal shelters and rescues. These organizations are always in need of towels, blankets, sheets, and other supplies for their furry friends. The Humane Society of New York, Animal Care Centers of NYC and the ASPCA are just a few local animal organizations that could use your donation—or check out this list of shelters where you can adopt pets in NYC and the surrounding area to find a rescue near you.

Where can I donate used books?

Box up all those books your children are too old for (or books you’ve read and no longer want) and donate them to a book-sharing program like the Little Free Library. With donation boxes set up across the country, the program helps increase access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Another option is to sell gently used books to a bookstore, like The Strand Book Store in Manhattan, and you can either get store credit to purchase more books or cash. Check to see if your local bookstore buys and sells used books.

Where can I donate furniture?

Consider donating furniture to the many nonprofit thrift stores throughout the metro area, such as Habitat for Humanity New York City. The organization accepts gently used furniture and other household items, and all donations are tax-deductible. To donate, submit photos of your items to [email protected], and the organization will let you know if they can accept your donation. If they do, you can then drop your donation off or schedule a pickup. There’s also a ReStore location on Long Island at Habitat for Humanity Suffolk, 2111 Lakeland Ave., Ronkonkoma.

Where can I get rid of old electronics?

Most of us know there is a proper way to dispose of electronics, but we're not really sure what that process is. Take the guesswork out of recycling electronics, and bring them to one of several chain stores that will give you discount incentives for your donation. These chains include:

Best Buy

A large retail recycler of used electronics and appliances, Best Buy accepts all kinds of used technology to help reduce e-waste. Use this guide to estimate your trade-in value and see if you're eligible for a store gift card.

Office Depot

Earn rewards for recycling your ink and toner cartridges (any brand, any store). Bring the empty cartridges to any Office Depot, make a $10 qualifying purchase during the same month and get $2 back in rewards per recycled cartridge. Learn more about the recycling program online.

Interested in a more meaningful way to recycle your electronics? Consider supporting many nonprofits that work to shrink the digital divide while helping those in need, including:

Where can I donate clothes?

Everyone knows thrift stores are great for accepting pre-worn clothes, but did you know many major retailers also accept used clothing? Some even include a coupon toward your next purchase at the store. These include:


Used Patagonia products can be sent back to the company to be recycled or repurposed. Simply wash the items first and use one of the following collection methods to receive a store credit based on the item sent in: Drop clothes off at a Patagonia Retail Store or mail them to the Patagonia Service Center at Patagonia Service Center, 8550 White Fir St., Reno, NV, 89523-8939.


Stop by any location with your used jeans (any brand, any condition), and the retailer will give them to the Blue Jeans Go Green program to turn them into housing insulation for communities in need. You’ll receive $20 off a new pair of jeans.


Bring your unwanted garments (any brand, any condition) in for recycling to any H&M store and receive a coupon toward your next purchase.


Consumers can drop off their no-longer-wanted clothing or shoes (any brand) into the collection boxes at their local Levi's store. Any consumer who brings an item of clothing to recycle will receive a voucher for 20 percent off a single, regular-priced Levi’s item in-store.

The North Face

Bring your used clothes (any brand, any condition) in for recycling at any location and earn a $10 reward toward your next purchase of $100 or more at any The North Face store. This below video gives more information about the company's Clothes the Loop Recycling Program that helps ensure worn clothes don't end up in landfills.

Give new life to old shoes

Some smaller independent companies turn old shoes and accessories into new works of art with custom designs. Kicks By Sammy has a custom kicks offering where customers send in their old shoes to have them sent back re-created with a totally new look.

Other Ways to Recycle Items You Want to Get Rid Of


If you live in New York City, you can easily find a new home for almost anything you want to get rid of, from appliances, to baby care items, to musical instruments, to pet food. Visit the DonateNYC website, select the category of items you want to get rid of, and you’ll get a list of locations near you that accept those items as donations.

Facebook Marketplace

If you want to try your hand at selling a gently used item but don’t want to host a yard or stoop sale, check out Facebook Marketplace. You can post an item with a picture; enter the price, location, category of item, and more; and wait to see if anyone is interested.

Buy Nothing Facebook Groups

Another option on Facebook is to join your neighborhood or community’s Buy Nothing group. Once you’re in, all you have to do is post a picture of what you want to get rid of, include a short description and if it needs to be picked up by a certain date, and, eventually, someone will claim your item. But like the name of the group implies, you’re giving the items away for free (don’t expect to haggle a price).

At the end of the day, if you still have items around your home that you just don't know what to do with, think about ways they can be repurposed. Old shirts can become cleaning rags, candle jars can be turned into plant pots (or if you clean them out well enough, glassware), and shower caddies can be hung outside to hold plants. With some imagination, the possibilities can be endless.


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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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