Making thrift store donations is one of the most economical and eco-friendly ways of disposing unwanted items. While you may think you can donate anything, there are a few things to keep in mind before placing your items at the thrift store drop-off.
How Your Thrift Store Donations Benefit the Community
A lot of thrift stores are in partnership with nonprofit organizations and local charities in collecting item donations. In exchange, thrift stores provide these organizations with financial support for their programs.
Sometimes, the revenue from items sold at thrift stores goes to any community program they have. Every donation you make helps veterans, people with disabilities, families, substance-dependents, and people in need.
In addition, you’ll help reduce greenhouse emissions from the fashion industry by placing clothing items back in circulation for someone else to wear.
What Not To Donate at Thrift Stores
It’s a common misconception that thrift store drop-offs accept donations of any kind. In reality, there are laws and processing costs to be considered. Thrift stores are neither repair shops nor garbage heaps as some people tend to believe.
Ultimately, you cannot donate items that are already broken and deemed unusable. These items add to the workload and processing time of volunteers and employees. Items that rarely or occasionally sell — such as trendy books, baskets, and fine china — are also not ideal for thrift store donations.
Things that a lot of thrift stores do not accept include:
- Hazardous items
- Recalled/defective items
- Dangerous items
- Hazardous chemicals
- Large appliances
- Dirty mattresses and pillows
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Old toys
- CRT electronics
- Pet items
- Blinds and shades
- Musical instruments
- Underwear, swimsuits, and wet suits
- Baby bottles and breast pumps
- Used candles or fluorescent bulbs
What To Donate at Thrift Stores
You can find thrift stores that accept donations online and browse through their website to see what items they accept. Each thrift store has different standards and preferences; make sure to check them before donating.
Here are some typical items that most thrift stores accept:
- Working VCRs, CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes
- Bags, wallets, and purses
- Pieces of jewelry
- Craft and art supplies
- Holiday decorations
- Halloween costumes
- Clean fabric scraps, linen, and textiles
- Washcloths, towels, and bath rugs
- Curtains and tablecloths
- Sports equipment
- Books and magazines
- Video game equipment
- Small electrical appliances
Tips on How To Donate Clothes to a Thrift Store
1. Check the Item’s Condition
Consider your item’s condition before placing it in your donation box. See if it is still usable or something someone else would want to buy or be happy to receive. Otherwise, it’s best to recycle it.
2. Launder and Label Items
Before sending them to the thrift store drop-off, consider giving them a final wash to remove any deep-rooted bacteria and dirt while checking for coins, business cards, keys, and receipts left in the pockets. This will ensure clean, fresh-smelling clothes for staff to process easily and sell.
3. Pack the Items Properly
After cleaning the items, it’s time to sort and pack them accordingly. Use plastic bags or boxes to make sure that you keep things organized, avoid breakage or stains, and help employees sort out your items with ease.
Techniques you can use to pack thrift store donations include:
- Wrap breakable items with bubble wrap or newspaper, and label the container as “fragile.”
- Keep shoes together by tying their laces or joining them with a rubber band.
- Tape controllers to your video game systems or TV set.
- Pack the same items together.
- Keep jewelry in small, individual bags to avoid having them tangled together.
- Go green with reusable containers.
4. Contact the Staff for Scheduled Pickup or Drop-off
Call ahead to see if the thrift store has options for scheduled pickup or thrift store drop-off. Double-check if the items fall in the list that the thrift stores accept and pickup. To avoid long lines, be sure to donate items during weekdays and off-hours.
Are Thrift Store Donations Tax-Deductible?
As per Federal law, charitable donations — in the form of money, clothing, or household goods in good condition — are qualified for tax deductions. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also requires all charitable items to be listed and valued accordingly.
Make a Thrift Store Donation at Haven House Now
Thrift store donations are the lifeline of our programs. At Haven House Thrift Store, we make the most out of donated items to help men in drug rehabilitation. Visit our thrift store in Lebanon, TN, or contact us today for a scheduled pickup.