The holidays are over, the gifts had been unboxed, and my house was full. to. the. brim. I took the opportunity of finding new places for our new toys and gadgets to purge some that we no longer need. Thankfully, we tend to have a steady stock of diaper boxes on hand, because they are PERFECT for throwing a bunch of unnecessary stuff in and holding it in the back of the van until I find a new home for our “junk.” Now, I do try to be discerning about what I’m donating. I’m not going to donate old underwear or broken coffee mugs. Those have lived their life and they don’t get a redo. Those things go in the garbage. Be respectful to the people who sort donations! So, by “junk,” I just mean things that don’t need to be in my house anymore.
The easy solution, is to take it all to Goodwill. Say what you will about the organization, but they do provide jobs, and they can sell things super cheap, whether it’s a family looking for some new-to-them kitchen items, or my brother, trying to find his next vintage vinyl record. Or ridiculous sweater. (Love youuuuu!)
I’m trying to be more mindful about how I can best help others. I came across a great quote by Teddy Roosevelt that said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” I did some really awesome hand-lettering (I wrote it in Sharpie with the writing of a 12 year old) and intricate flower details (six ball-shaped petals, WITH a center, AND vines!! My art skills just astound me sometimes.), and hung it on the bulletin board above my desk. It gives me a reality check about what my resources are and how I can actually use them to help others. I might not have the monetary means to get every person off the street, but I can donate my old glassware to a place that will help a family get set up in their new apartment. It’s not much, but it’s something.
My family has been incredibly blessed with excess over the last few years. Both of my kids have been outfitted with clothing passed down from family members and friends over the years. We end up with more than we need, so I sort through it and keep plenty for my kids, but donate the rest. And I don’t say that to try to sound “so good,” but I just feel like if others were so generous with us, that I can’t sell it, I need to pass it on. Kids clothes can really add up, so having this generosity lets me buy just a few outfits that I want for them here and there, instead of trying to stretch our dollars for a full wardrobe that will just get dirty and worn out. When we are totally done with kid clothes, I hope I have enough in good shape to pass on to another family member or friend.
Last year, I posted a question on Facebook that ended up getting some really great responses. I wanted to know everyone’s favorite places to donate their unneeded items. Of course, I could do a Google search, but I like hearing the reasons WHY certain places are good recipients. So, without further adieu, here is a list of some great places to donate in Warrick and Vanderburgh Counties!
- Aurora Evansville – Accepts household items. Kitchen items, mattresses, linens, etc. They help find housing for those in need and then get them set up with the basics for every day living. They assemble “kits” that contain a uniform set of items that will help a family cook and clean from day one. They also have a list on their website of which items are specifically needed.
- Borrowed Hearts Foundation– With the growing opioid problem in our area, more and more foster homes are needed. Which means, more and more foster children need clothing and hygiene items. I have taken boxes of clothing and outgrown (unused!!) diapers, and they are so appreciative.
- Newburgh United Methodist Church– They accept all clothing for their clothes closet to help those in need.
- Don’s Cleaners– Every year, they have the Coat-A-Kid program. You just drop off your old coats and they clean them and get them to children who need them. I know there are other similar programs around the tri-state, but I’ve donated to this one several times because it’s convenient and they are always so appreciative. And don’t forget, “kid” includes teenagers, so adult sized coats and jackets are also accepted! I’ve even donated some sweatshirts over the years, because as the employee accepting donations told me, “anything to keep a kid warm.”
- Check with your local elementary school or preschool- kids go outside to play in cold weather, but not everyone has mittens, scarves, or hats. A couple of my teacher friends on Facebook have requested donations of outdoor gear to keep in their classroom for kids who need it.
- Evansville Rescue Mission– Accepts gently used clothing and shoes for men. Especially clothing that is good enough quality for a good first impression in an interview.
- Human Society or Animal Rescues- Many animal rescues or humane societies need old towels or blankets. I took an old pack ‘n’ play to our local humane society because it was no longer in great shape for a human baby, but was perfect for puppies!
- Evansville Christian Life Center– A friend suggested this one because they let parents earn money to pay for items by taking classes about parenting!
- Life Choices, Evansville– This is a home for young, pregnant mothers ages 13-22. They have a closet that the residents can work to earn items from, like clothing (maternity and regular sizes), special hygiene items, etc. They can also use lightly used linens and towels, and kitchen items. They keep an updated list of needs on their website. I found a bunch of nursing bras at Walmart one day for $1-$2 and bought several of them because I figured there would be somewhere around here that could use them, and then I found this location!
- United Caring Services– accepts a variety of donations, such as clothing, toys, TVs, computers, etc. They help the homeless population in the area try to get out of their situation.
- Mother Teresa’s – This is usually my alternative to Goodwill. They have a drop-off location that isn’t far from my home, and I take things there when I don’t quite have the time to sort it all out. They take gently used household items and clothing for their thrift store. They partner with many organizations in the area to make sure the needy in the area get what they need.
- Ozanam Family Shelter– Gently used household linens and a few specific items that they update on their website.
- Optimal Rhythms/Access Academy– Accepts preschool learning toys, instruments, iPads, dry erase markers, puzzles, etc for their work with students with autism.
Whew! That’s quite a list. So, pick one you like and haul all your “junk” to your preferred location! I do want to note that most of these locations do have “needs” lists that include grocery or cleaning items. So, if you are a Sam’s Club shopper like me, consider donating one or two items from your pack of 400 along with your gently used clothes and can openers.
Do you have a location to add? If so, please leave me a comment!! Share with someone you know with too much junk in their trunk. 😉