Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Donations made easy - household pick-ups

I'm now in my 20th week of the year of giving (#365gifts). It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. Turns out that once I start looking closely at all the things we have, I realize how much we don't need. It also helps that we have a baby who rapidly grows out of her clothes. Baby-related donations make up a good chunk of my giving (which is why I did research into places that will accept baby clothes).

My biggest challenge is not what to get rid of - but where to give the donations. I have some shelves in the basement where I've been putting items I have decided to pass on. But how to find someone who can make use of them? And since I'm working full-time, it's hard to make trips around the city to make donation drop-offs (to places like food banks, shelters, and supportive services for young moms).

So I welcome any opportunity where someone will pick up donations from me. In advance of a scheduled pick up I just leave the items to be collected in bag outside my front door, with the name of the person or organization it is for. Then someone comes and collects it. Couldn't be easier.

Where can you find the people and organizations that will pick up donations from your home?

Freecycle: The Freecyle network has groups all around the world. It's an online community of people giving (and getting) stuff for free. You sign-up and then post items you have to give away. Often the things I post are snapped up right away - and almost always the person who takes my 'gifts' will pick them up. I love knowing that what I've donated is going to someone who wants it. And I love the convenience of the pick-ups.

Clothesline: The Canadian Diabetes Association runs the Clothesline program which accepts gently used clothing, electronics and small household items. They have drop boxes in communities across Canada, but they also run a free pick-up service. Register online and they will get in touch to confirm their pick-up day. They will also contact you periodically to let you know of collection drives in your neighbourhood.

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy: Like the Clothesline program, the OFCP offers a free home pick-up service. Their primary aim is to collect clothes, shoes, coats, bedding and linens. They also accept donations of re-usable items that are in good condition and working order, such as toys, games, small appliances, small furniture items, sporting goods, books, electronics, and housewares. They too will contact you periodically to let you know of collection drives in your neighbourhood. (If you are not in Ontario, check for your regional CP organization to see if they also offer this service.)

Salvation Army: If you have larger items to give away (such as furniture), the Salvation Army will send their truck to pick it up. Contact your regional thrift store to arrange a free pick-up.

If you know of other charities or organizations that will offer free household pick-ups, please post the information in a comment below. Thanks!