Through this move, we have tossed a lot but tried to give most of it away.  Giving stuff away is not so easy. 

We literally have 6 boxes of kids books that are in great shape.  We started a kids library and as we are downscaling, it didn’t make sense to keep everything but some classics that I couldn’t part with.  I missed the collection at our school for Project Cicero so I called them.  Any picks up?  No but you can drop the books off Monday thru Friday from 9-5 at their offices.  Six huge boxes.  That is a tough one since I am in the midst of moving but I really want these books to go to kids that need them. 

Clothing and furniture.  I called a variety of places.  I even talked to a place in the Bronx that houses women and families that have been abused.  It would have been great to give them all this stuff but they never called me back.  Finally we went with Salvation Army.  They went through everything with a fine tooth comb.  The couch had a small stain on it, no good.  All the children’s stuff like pack and plays, no good.  It was incredible.  The couch was perfectly fine for us but not for them?  So, they took what they could and left quite a bit.   

I had two huge boxes of stuffed animals.  Nobody wanted them.  Everyone just wanted new.  I find it hard to believe that a kid who was in need wouldn’t want one of these cute animals. 

I know it is expensive to have trucks pick up stuff around the city, sort what is worthwhile and what isn’t but it certainly is worthwhile.  Perhaps this is an area that local Governments around the country could set money aside to run a non-profit organization that did this.  Funding would be needed because this is definitely not a money making idea more likely a loss but a good deed. 

The organization could set it up like Ikea or Cosco, in a warehouse and people in need or organizations in need such as a womens shelter, could come and get basic stuff for free.  A chit would be issued based on the organization or person and they could shop up to that amount.  Just throwing ideas out here but it certainly would make sense.  Don’t you think a womens shelter who has kids staying there wouldn’t want a bin of stuffed animals for kids?  The organization would also have huge commercial washing machines to clean everything so it was suitable for distribution.  Clothes, stuffed animals, furniture coverings.  For instance, our couches just needed to have the covering taken over and washed and I am sure the stain would have disappeared. 

At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to see all of our tossed stuff become someone else’s treasure, it wasn’t so easy to make that happen.  I am sure, if I had really wanted to pack up my car and drive around the city to a variety of locations, I probably could have given away more but the reality is, that wasn’t happening and I am not sure many people would do that anyway.

I wish there was one organization that I could call and know that all the things that we don’t need anymore was going into the hands of people who truly need them and are thrilled to have them.  Unfortunately,  this doesn’t exist.  A true shame.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Doug

    Too bad that you couldn’t have freecycled them. At least in Pittsburgh the number of people willing to pick up is quite high.

  2. ellen

    I had a similar problem. I had tons of clothes and handbags and undergarments many with the price tags still on them and every organization I called did not want to pick up or never showed. There were even many designer labels since I grew at aleast two sizes, but instead of doing consignment etc I wanted the clothes to go to someone who really needed them. Finally, someone who was a security guard at one of the places I shopped came over and picked up everything for his newly arrived relatives.
    He was so thankful.

  3. Wayne

    Necessity is the mother of invention. Kind of gives “take out” new meaning…enjoy the new diggs.

  4. H

    I’ve faced this issue as well. I like your idea of having a centralized donation center that will pick up unwanted items. But instead of having government fund it, what if the major retailers that have deliveries throughout the city donated some time on their trucks to pick up items for charity. The trucks are empty at the end of the day and they are already in the city. All this could be easily routed through a centralized database that would match existing delivery routes with requests for pick up.