Any professional organizer will tell you that to be organized you must not only sort through your stuff but also get rid of some of it. The key to organization is to only keep that which you absolutely need or cannot live without.
But for those of us that cringe at the thought of throwing away perfectly good items or even items that are just a little broken, this action of purging can be devastating. Fear not my green friends, there are many organizations out there that will take your belongings before you can say boo, and put them to good use. A few of my local go-to’s are included below, but please feel free to share other great ideas here.
Hopefully you already know that Goodwill and The Salvation Army Family Stores will take your clothes and other household goods and resell them to benefit those in need. The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers are 100% funded from the proceeds of their Family Stores, allowing them to be self-sustaining. Proceeds from Goodwill donations help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. If you go to the store rather than a drop-off box, you can get a tax deductible receipt.
Perhaps a lesser known donation center, Savers in West Roxbury, takes clothing and household items and re-sells them in their store. The proceeds go to the Epilepsy Foundation and are also tax deductible. The majority of items that don’t sell in the Savers stores are shipped to developing nations through both wholesale and philanthropic efforts. According to the Savers website, their recycling program “prevented 280 million pounds of unsold merchandise from ending up in landfills last year by reselling to domestic and international people in need.” Boomerangs, with locations in West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain also take clothing, furniture and other household items. Proceeds from Boomerangs go to supporting the great programs and services of the AIDS Action Committee of MA.
Another alternative are non-profit organizations such as Solutions at Work or Dress for Success, which take your gently used suits and distribute them to those in need.
In September 2010, Men’s Warehouse collected over 20,000 suits and more than 60,000 other items of clothing at their annual Suit Drive and partnered with over 200 non-profit organizations to distribute them to those in need. In Boston, the partner organization was the St. Francis House.
Rather make a little extra cash from your closet? The Garment District in Cambridge will purchase clothes for cash or an in-store credit.
And take note, while your clearing out your closets, most dry cleaners will take wire hangers back.
Think of how great you’ll feel knowing your closet is now a reflection of you and that someone else will be benefiting from your spring cleaning! And you didn’t have to throw anything away. Now that’s a win-win.