Almost every single day for the last month, I’ve gotten questions from past and present clients, blog readers, and social media friends about what to do with their donations during the Coronavirus pandemic. Donation centers are closed nationwide, with no exact reopen date announced yet. And since everyone has been sheltering at home for weeks, a lot of people have taken some time to declutter and purge their homes. Yay for organization and decluttering, right?! But boo for all the trash bags full of purged items hanging out in your garage with no place to go.
I wanted to share a few ideas with you for how you can still donate or get rid of the items without sending them to the landfill. While these ideas are great options for immediate ways to get rid of your stuff, I highly recommend hanging onto them until the donation centers reopen. They rely on donations to keep them in business, so if you’re able to store the stuff just a little bit longer, please do so.
Where To Donate When Centers Are Closed During Covid-19
Homeless Shelters/Emergency Refuge Centers still remain open, and they need help more than ever. You can donate lightly used clothing, shoes, and unused bathroom toiletries, as well as pantry items you don’t expect to use. Some also accept children’s toys. Call your local centers before loading up your car to make sure they are able to accept donations and exactly what they can take.
Animal Shelters may not be open to the public, but they are still caring for animals and helping them get adopted via private appointments. Animal shelters always need blankets, bedding, pet beds, new pet toys (like the ones from Christmas that your dog never touched), cleaning supplies, candles/air fresheners, pet treats your pets didn’t like, and dog houses and crates you no longer need. Call your local shelter and ask if they can accept your used items before loading them up. Some have stricter rules than others.
Facebook Marketplace can be a great resource if you really just want to get rid of something. To make your transactions safe and contact free, put the “donations” on the curb of your driveway, snap a photo and list what’s there (or make several individual listings), mention that the items are free and must be picked up for contactless pass-off. Put your address in the description and state that the items are first come, first served. Keep an eye on your driveway, and once the items have been picked up, remove the listing. Here’s some verbage you can copy and paste from the actual times I’ve done this method myself:
Facebook Marketplace Swipe Copy:
Free to a good home! All items are at the end of the driveway at [address] and are free for anyone in need of [items]. No need to contact me or let us know you’ve arrived, just show up, load it up in your vehicle, and we’ll delete the post once someone has taken the goods. We’ll be standing by to keep a watch out so the post can be removed asap.
Facebook Groups are also a great option for finding people in need. I actually love this option all the time, not just during a pandemic, because I’m able to ensure the items are getting in the hands of people who are really in need. I’m a member of a local mom’s group on Facebook, and any time I have clothing, toys, kitchen items, or decor that I no longer want, I put a post in the group asking if any mamas in need could use them. You’ll quickly get messages from Moms who are struggling and are so grateful to take the items off your hands.
I recently did this with items I purged while packing for our upcoming move and had a few people contact me who had had their homes destroyed in a tornado we had a few weeks ago.
Don’t Let Donation Centers Hold You Back From Decluttering
Even though getting rid of your excess stuff is a bit more difficult right now, don’t let that hold you back from making good progress in your home. Remember that you can always pack up the donations and store them in your garage, attic, spare closet, or spare bedroom and save them for when your centers open back up. It’s totally worth having a pile of donation boxes in your garage to finally achieve the tidy kitchen or closet you’ve always dreamed of.