Deciding we don’t need something is one thing, knowing what to do with it ethically and responsibly is another.
Where can I donate my stuff?
It depends on your location and mobility. I love doing targeted donations but I am not likely to travel for an hour across town just to drop off a baby blanket.
As a Professional Organiser and declutter queen I have the power of quantity on my side, which makes targeted drop-offs more worthwhile. I can collect 10 baby blankets in a smaller timeframe and then make the trek.
But for all of us the time-versus-benefit equation comes into play. Bear that in mind as you explore these options:
Where can I donate my stuff? Baby and Child
St Kilda Mums (now based in Clayton) is a fantastic initiative with a vision to share more, waste less and care for kids. Baby items need to comply with current regulations, therefore they don’t accept everything. Just because your mum slept in this cot and didn’t die, doesn’t mean it is a viable donation. You can check eligibility here.
If you are in the Heidelberg area 3081 Angels has you covered, and you can also check out @BigGroupHug on Facebook for Northern suburbs family donations that include toys and more.
Where can I donate my stuff? Books
Ask your local library if they take donations, but don’t just pop them in the chute – they may not enjoy that. Community/street libraries are great if you have one nearby, and I sometimes put boxes of books outside my house on a fine day for passers by. And then retrieve the box before night or rain comes. Don’t leave them out to get wet and misty.
Where can I donate my stuff? Clothing and Shoes
Textiles are a huge environmental problem. The clothing industry depletes non-renewable resources, emits greenhouses gases and uses masses of energy, chemicals and water. Fast fashion and our thirst for relevance and novelty means a lot of our clothes are hardly even used before they are deemed unfashionable or just surplus to needs. Purchasing less of it is ideal, but what can you do with your excess?
Upparel is an environmental champion. They upcycle your throwaways into more clothes, little couches and goodness knows what else. There are good things happening there. Donating is not free but it’s pretty cheap and you get vouchers to purchase some of their wares. Even if you are going minimalist you still need socks, right?
Clothing retailers H&M and Zara reportedly recycle fabrics too, via inshore bins, however the massive textile waste incurred by these fast fashion companies leaves me a bit skeptical about their motives. (I’m thinking Greenwashing)
If you have corporate clothing and shoes that you think are suitable for interviews, Dress For Success helps women get job-ready. Donations can be made in Frankston. Fitted for Work is the inner Eastern equivalent and is based in Richmond.
Op shops are located everywhere and they all sell and accept clothes. Usually they align with a rag company who collects unsaleable garments, so don’t stress too much about the quality of the clothes you donate. Check that with your chosen op shop to confirm.
Clothing charity bins are useful for bagged up clothes and shoes. They are local, handy and always open for business. Which unfortunately can mean nefarious dumping of unwanted goods, but that’s just an aside. The SCR Group puts most of its clothing donations back into the community as is, but also recycles fabrics into rags and biofuels. So again, put all your textiles in there and leave the sorting to them. A lot of the manual work is done overseas, but SCR assures us their ethical and labour standards are well above board.
Running shoes are collected by Shoes for Planet Earth to put runners on less advantaged feet.
Underwear of all kinds can be sent to Underwear for Humanity for recycling. They send eligible bras to Support the Girls who’s mission is to provide bras to women in need. The rest is turned into things like carpet underlay and insulation. You also get 10% off purchases as a thank you.
If you have a bunch of clothes in a particular size or style, you could list them as a free bundle on Marketplace or a targeted Facebook group to ensure they go to someone who will use them while cutting out the middle man. A bag of size 8 boys’ football merchandise is a fairly niche subcategory, so it may as well go straight to its enthusiast if possible.
Where can I donate my stuff? Electricals
A lot of op shops don’t take electrical items due to liability and safety issues, however Salvos stores accept small appliances and white goods, with some exceptions. Kids off the Curb also collect white goods for their White Goods Refurbishment and Recycling Program, with proceeds assisting disadvantaged and at-risk young people.
Where can I donate my stuff? Food
Local suburb-specific Facebook groups may have info about community pantries and swapping groups.
If the food is not within consumption dates it may still be fine for a friend’s chickens or compost bins.
Where can I donate my stuff? Furniture
Some items are difficult to drop off due to their sheer size. You can list them free of charge on Marketplace, Gumtree, or Freecycle. If you are on Facebook there are many Buy Nothing and Good Karma networks. That way someone will put their hand up to come and collect.
Also BSL/Brotherhood of St Laurence will pick up eligible items. Just call 1300 DONATE.
Where can I donate my stuff? Linen
Aforementioned clothing bins and op shops happily accept it, but also vets and animal shelters often love linen, blankets and towels to line animal pens.
No doonas or pillows though please – these items are probably for general waste. With one exception – composters may be able to put the feathers into their compost bins.
Where can I donate my stuff? Mattresses
Before you buy a mattress consider doing so via a participating retailer in this terrific mattress recycling scheme. For a small fee Soft Landing can also pick up an old mattress irrespective of your purchase, and support meaningful jobs for people experiencing barriers to employment. There is a lot to be recycled in a mattress, so don’t just throw it out on the street.
If you think someone could use your mattress you can try donating via onsite sales sites and Facebook groups, but if it’s well-used it will be a difficult proposition, because – yuck.
Where can I donate my stuff? Toiletries
We all end up with unused bottles that were on sale, or um.. free at the hotel. Blessing Bags offers people in need (mainly the homeless and marginalised) toiletry essentials. Drop off points are here.
Please only unused, unopened items due to health regulations. The rest goes in the bin, or slather it all on your face and head just for fun.
Makeup empties can go to Priceline’s in-store Terracycle program.
Where can I donate my stuff? Prescription Glasses
Easy, just give them to your local glasses retailer. In other words, where you buy your new glasses.
Where can I donate my stuff? Everything else
As I mentioned earlier, Facebook Marketplace is your friend, as are a number of Facebook freebie groups including Buy Nothing and Good Karma. If you don’t use Facebook, try Gumtree (list as $0) and Freecycle.
You can put weather-hardy items on your footpath but don’t just use it a a dumping ground. You don’t want to be THAT guy.
Where can I donate my stuff? Recycling (Unfit for use)
Google your local council recycling service. Mine accepts usual recyclables as well as paint, motor oil, batteries, gas cylinders, light globes, fire extinguishers, white goods, tyres, mattresses, X rays, polystyrene, e-waste (anything with a cord as well as VHS tapes and CDs), and more. Drop-offs are mostly free.
Rehousing your stuff is great. But it can be a lot of effort and if you are short on time you may prefer to take what you can to the local op shop.
Importantly, be careful of what you let in through your front door – a lot of it will end up as clutter and having to be dealt with in all the ways mentioned above.
The Decluttering Co sees a high volume of donations and can take yours off your hands completely. Feel free to get in touch