Spring Cleaning Donations: Dos and Don'ts

By Mali Anderson in Helping Hands

After you clean your home this spring, purging closets and cabinets, you may wonder what to do with the household items you no longer need. Finding a new home for your items through spring cleaning donations is one way to reduce landfill waste and provide others in your community with some items they may need.


Where to Donate


Look for reputable organizations that support causes you believe in. For example, if you have business clothing, it may be beneficial to reach out to local nonprofits that focus on helping individuals secure positions in the workforce. Cleaning supplies may benefit a local animal shelter, and pantry extras can go to a food bank in your area. Of course, there may be times when you want to donate a variety of items—clothing, towels, bedding, and housewares—so, a charity that resells all of these items might be a more convenient fit.


Clean clothes folded for donating.


Spring Cleaning Checklist


Wherever you are donating, remember to assess the quality of the items before dropping them off. A good rule of thumb is to consider if it is in good enough shape to give to a friend. If the items are in good shape, donate. If anything is damaged, it doesn't belong in the donation bin.


Do Donate:


  • Unworn underwear and socks with tags attached
  • Clothing that is not torn or damaged
  • Gently used blankets and sleeping bags
  • Halloween costumes
  • Coats and jackets
  • Lightly used books and toys
  • Laundry detergent and cleaning supplies
  • Kitchen pantry items


Don't Donate:


  • Electronics that are out of date
  • Scratched CDs or DVDs
  • Toys with missing pieces
  • Ripped jeans or clothing
  • Books with pages torn out
  • Used coloring books


Creative Ways to Repurpose Household Materials


If you have items that aren't in good shape, pause before throwing them in the garbage. Take a moment to decide if it could be used in a different way. Here are a few items you may find creative purposes for.




According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 11 million tons of textiles end up in landfills annually. So, finding a way to reuse fabrics may help to reduce the pressure textiles put on landfills. Some solutions include transforming clothes you no longer wear (but aren't suitable for donation) into sock puppets, cleaning rags, or plant ties.


Renovation Materials


After a home renovation or remodel, you may have building items stacked in your back hall or garage. Instead of throwing them out, know that they might be useful for families with home projects of their own. General donation sites will not accept building materials, but if you reach out to any local housing organizations, they may accept your bricks, concrete, lumber, and shingles with open arms. When you donate to an organization committed to providing homes to individuals in the community, you are helping to provide shelter for others.




Places that typically accept toy donations include charities, local child care centers, and preschools. However, while there are many places that can use these items, most places do not have the ability to fix or wash toys. So, be sure any puzzles or games are clean and have all of their pieces. For broken toys, seek out organizations that recycle these items, such as TerraCycle—a company that has created a zero waste solution for toys and has partnered with Tom's of Maine to recycle personal care product packaging, too.


Toys ready for donating


What are your spring cleaning donations this year? Show us on Instagram and tag @toms_of_maine.


Image Source: Pixabay | Pixabay | Pixabay


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Why It's Good

Clearing out closets and drawers is a freeing feeling, and donating items you no longer need to a local nonprofit is one way to support a mission you believe in. Added bonus? Spring cleaning donations help to reduce landfill waste, too.