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Where To Make Good When The Goods Take Over Your Place

    Image: Garrett Cornelison
    Image: Garrett Cornelison

    It’s gift city over here in our apartment. First we had M’s Bday, now it’s Hanukkah and then DH’s Bday this weekend.

    Though all the celebrating is quite festive, it’s leading to a mass accumulation of goods. And it’s driving me crazy.

    Apartment living is tight. Combine that with my aversion to clutter, and I get really tense when stuff starts lying allover the place. Once my shoulders start sitting up by my ears — it’s time to clear out some stuff.

    The first area I tackled was the toy shelves. We’ve got games that have never been opened alongside pieces from when M + GL were toddlers. After going through it all (which satisfies both my urge to be productive and organize), there were 2 boxes ready to donate– which turns out is not as simple as it sounds.

    My first call, Toys For Tots, only takes brand new toys. When I asked why this is so — I was told it’s a rule. The foundation in DC started it for sanitary reasons. The man also said that sometimes they do receive used toys, and when this happens they eventually donate to the Salvation Army.

    Hmmm, so I could drop off my used toys at Toys For Tots and have them do my donation to the Salvation Army? That didn’t feel quite right.

    This led to my next call — Goodwill. The branch closest to us doesn’t accept toys. But just before I was about to hang up the woman divulged that the 23rd street location does.


    I’d found my donation location! I also heard about a place in Brooklyn that takes toys as well…so I had options.

    The next matter of business was coats and winter accessories — we’ve got so many that no longer fit, or don’t work for whatever reason. Again – some in near new condition.

    I had already familiarized myself with New York Care’s Coat Drive last year. They make it so easy with drop off locations scattered allover the city. Ours is the Police Precinct about 2 blocks away. GL accompanied me on the short walk with winter coats piled on top of her tiny body. I love getting the kids involved. It’s not exactly fun stuff, but it’s important that they realize and acknowledge the good fortune we have which enables us to give freely.

    The coat drive only accepts coats though. That still leaves me with a barrel of hats, scarves and mittens. A little research led me to The Bowery Mission, which takes donations 24 / 7 + it’s super close! Convenience — though not mandatory — sure makes the whole process a lot more appealing. I’ll bring our donation to the school pick-up this afternoon so the kids can come with me to drop off the bag. They’ve never been in a homeless shelter. There was a kid on M’s soccer team who lived in one, but I don’t think M fully understands what that looks like. Maybe this visit will help clarify the picture a bit.

    Lastly, we’ve got our clothes to give away. I try to pass down GLs to little girls we know, and M’s are never in any condition to pass on (his pants relentlessly rip in the knees and elbows!) I’ve got a bag to sell which I’ll do here, and here. And the rest –along with DHs’ things– will go with the toys to Goodwill. Normally, we do a little try-on show to see what’s still worth keeping– basically DH takes everything out and throws it on the bed. It makes a huge mess, but once it’s done, it’s done. We’ve got the goods to give away.

    Where do you donate your stuff?

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    9 thoughts on “Where To Make Good When The Goods Take Over Your Place”

    1. girlgatheringwisdom

      You have inspired me to get all these goods together taking up space and give them to others where some real good will be done. Thank you!
      ps. What a great lesson for kids!!!

    2. SirenaTales

      Ha! We are on the same wavelength, Elysha. A highlight of my week was yesterday when I was able to organize and deliver several bags full of clothes to one of the nearby nonprofits that sells clothes and other items at very low cost (similar to Salvation Army) and proceeds benefit a local hospital.

      I have had a similar experience to yours–learning who will accept what. One place I often take my own clothes is a secondhand store for which the proceeds go to social service programs in the city nearby. However, they will not accept kids clothes, unlike the place I went yesterday that will. I have been donating a ton of books to libraries in towns near mine which have “Friends” groups that have book sales to benefit the libraries. I was so bummed a few years ago when I tried to give many wonderful books, including classics and hardcovers, to a number of social service agencies, libraries, etc. and no one would take them :/.

      Next up is donating all the travel sized toiletries that we collect when we stay at hotels to a nearby shelter. First, I am going to go buy some full-sized toiletries to give as well.

      It feels so good to know that these things will be enjoyed by others now. Thanks and love….

    3. Yes, donating is definitely not as easy as it sounds. But once you find your spots — you’re golden. We need to tackle the book shelves too. And PS it’s not a surprise that we’re on the same wavelength! Thank you so much. I treasure our friendship. Happy Holidays, ST!! x x

    4. GOsh, it seems difficult to donate unwanted things in New York! If I can’t pass it my kids things on to friends, then I usually leave it at the Salvation Army – they’ll take whatever.

    5. Haha, yes there is a learning curve to making donations in NYC. But I think I’ve finally got it under control now, and the stuff is clearing out of our place! 🙂

    6. Ha, ha, ha. His pants rip at the knees and elbows. 🙂

      I used to take ALL my stuff to a local family shelter. They house people in need of a place to live for three months. They help people get on their feet and on their way. They used to take EVERYTHING. They built a very large facility and now no longer take anything but clothes because they have no room for it. This information puzzled me. And, unlike you, I do not want to go to five different places to take my stuff. So after having given all of my mother’s clothes to the family shelter — which is when I learned they don’t take anything BUT clothes . . . when I tried to give them a box of other stuff. I am now giving my stuff to Hope or whatever charity leaves me a notice that says I can put it outside on the curb and they will take it. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING (pretty much). This is even better than me loading up my car and driving to the shelter. Hope comes to me!

      It is nice of you to go around your city to all the different places.

    7. Terre, it sounds like the situation worked out well for you– getting your donations picked up right outside your door! As for taking my stuff to different places — as long as it’s convenient, it’s really no big deal — like the coat drive is literally a couple blocks. The homeless shelter also very nearby. I just want to make sure it goes to the right people. 🙂 Happy Holidays!

    8. Yeah, that is why I liked the family shelter because I felt things went to “the right people”. But hopefully Hope is ok. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!!!!

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