Laser Sharp Decluttering — Directed Donation

by Katy on October 5, 2011 · 53 comments

If a person were to get all their decluttering information from A&E’s Hoarders, the only way to get rid of the excessive Stuff in your home is to cram everything into garbage bags and throw it into the back of a 1-800-Got-Junk truck. Even still usable Stuff.

Luckily, this method really only applies to those of us whose belongings are soaked with animal urine or infested with insects. *Gag*

And as satisfying as it is to donate everything lock, stock and barrel to a single site, it decreases the chances that your unwanted goods will end up in the hands of people who will actually get some use from your old Stuff. Most of the time it’s better to split up your donations.

I am calling this decluttering method, Directed Donation. Sure, it takes a bit of extra work, but in the end it’s much more satisfying and frankly, less wasteful.

Just yesterday, I:

  • Mailed hand-me-down skinny jeans to my nephew in NYC.
  • Gave two blank T-shirts to a friend who teaches kids’ silkscreening classes.
  • Took a school specific T-shirt to said school, as they can use it for when kids get wet/muddy. (A frequent occurrence in Oregon.) At Goodwill, it is unlikely that anyone would want a T-shirt from my son’s old school.
  • Returned a casserole dish to a soccer parent. Got her to take a soccer sweatshirt that my son grew out of. (Again, at Goodwill, this like-new sweatshirt would have to be found by someone whose kids play in this specific league.)
  • Donated a laundry basket full of miscellaneous Stuff to Goodwill.

Directed donation can be a barrier to people going through piles upon piles of Stuff, but for most of us, this is not the case.

Today I’m going to take nice old clothes to the hipster consignment shop in my neighborhood, with an eye for getting some store credit towards a $50 gift card for my son’s upcoming 16th birthday. I will then cart the Stuff they don’t buy immediately to Goodwill. As I do not want decluttered items coming back into my house.

Because the goal is to not have my big ol’ house filled with so. Much. Crap.

Do you practice Direct Donation, or are you more of an Everything goes to Goodwill kind of person? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.

Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline October 5, 2011 at 7:11 am

Half and half. With every cupboard,closet and drawerr I clean out I feel soo much lighter! This decluttering thing is awesome. Next week I tackle the cupboards in my utility room.. filled with old candles, old cleaning supplies, and lots of old whatever.. ? They’re full. We bought a house with a lot of “storage space.” So, we store store store. No more! I give some things to friends and family,some to goodwill, some to local schools and charities. An old elliptial trainer went to the local private high school..they use it in their faculty lounge now!!


Jessie : Improved October 5, 2011 at 7:26 am

I am currently massing an epic pile of stuff in a spare room, because I have this exact dilemma. I want the stuff to go to good use, so I’m going to try directed donation (and maybe a bit of moneymaking too!). I’m worried though that I’m just going to end up with a ridiculous junk room!


Kaylen October 5, 2011 at 7:31 am

Some of each. I know which friends wear my size, or a size above or below me, so I’ll offer them clothes in particularly good shape I think they’ll like. If I have friends who are moving out on their own I tend to ask them to let me know if they need anything as it might encourage me to get rid of something and spare them buying something new. I also participate in clothing swaps with other women in my community. The rest, though, goes to goodwill.


Allison October 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

I like and try to do directed donation. It makes it easier for me to let go of things, when I know that they’ll be put to good use.

But it definitely slows down the process. I’ve had a bunch of really nice professional clothes packed up for an organization that provides interview outfits for women trying to get a job. I’m really glad to clean out my closet to support this cause, but I need to bring them to a neighboring town during the limited, middle-of-a-workday drop off hours. *sigh* They haven’t made it there yet.


Katy October 5, 2011 at 8:40 am

It helped that the elementary school, my silkscreening friend, and the soccer mom were all within a few blocks of the house.



Elaine October 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

Allison, Perhaps you could contact them and see if they will come and pick up your donation. Or, possibly meet you halfway for a hand-off. And if you can get a few other women to donate their clothing, the organization might consider it worth their while to come to you!

Just a thought.


Marcella October 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I did the same thing. When doing a purge, I set aside a number of business shirts with the intention of giving these to a similar charity here in Australia. Months and months when by without me getting to the charity.

Eventually I admitted I wasn’t going tomake this happened and I dropped these off at a charity thrift shop, where at least somebody got some good out of the shirts.


Becky October 5, 2011 at 7:43 am

I take everything to either Goodwill or the dump, because things going anywhere else never get there. It’s all I can do to take things to those two places on any kind of regular basis. Nice stuff goes to Goodwill, and junk goes to the dump. The occasional in-between item goes to Freecycle, which is great because the recipient picks it up.

I live in 800 sq ft that is still under construction, my husband and I both work at home, and we could probably fill a barn with the stuff we have piled in various nooks and crannies around the house. (We have no shed or other dry storage outside the house.) It’s kind of a horror show. I’m saving the idea of directed donation for when decluttering is not a matter of life and death!


Mary Stubblefield October 5, 2011 at 7:57 am

For me it actually depends on the items and the day. If it is something I think the consignment shop I use will take then I have a tendency to put it in one stack (or bin) in my storage basement and make an appointment when it starts filling up. If it is a hodge-podge of things then I will Goodwill them. I like the idea of school specific shirts going back to that school 😉

I just like decluttering. I actually have a pile for Goodwill in my basement as we speak….I’m hoping on Monday to get those to Goodwill.


min hus October 5, 2011 at 8:41 am

A little of both here too. I prefer to get rid of as much as possible, as easily as possible so most of it goes to my local Volunteers of America. There are two major exceptions, books and DVDs are donated to the library and home improvement items go to our local habitat restore.


E Thayer October 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

Honestly, it depends on how much energy I have. I love to know who is using my old stuff, and that it’s going to a good home, but thanks to the volume of things my 6 person family cycles through, sometimes I have to throw my hands up and get out the extra large black garbage bags. It’s that, or drown.


Katy October 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

Do you throw away what’s going in the garbage bags or donate it?



E Thayer October 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Everything goes to GoodWill, unless it’s broken. Then it gets recycled if at all possible, and if not, the landfill is the last resort.

I use black non-transparent bags because my DH really struggles to let go of things, AND he’s visual. If he never sees it leave, he doesn’t miss it. Honest to goodness, of all the truckloads and carloads and bags and boxes of junk that has left our house, there has been all of *one* item he missed and asked for later. It turned out it was an expensive toy-like thing, which we haven’t replaced (I offered to buy him another one), and which I wouldn’t have given away if I’d known how expensive they are. I would have held on it it to recoup what I could through a yard sale/craigslist ad.


Lisa October 5, 2011 at 9:19 am

It all depend on time and energy for me too. I just shipped a box of old, cool but useless to me crap to an artist friend of mine who is thrilled. A bunch of old clothes and jewelry went to a friend who has just completed a massive weight loss, and our perpetually growing hand-me-down kid clothing pile has a designated recipient. But the rest? I do my best, but sometimes I just have to get that stuff OUT.

BTW, my step-brother used to have a 1-800-Junk franchise, and I seem to remember his being pretty careful with where the stuff went. His house is furnished almost exclusively from those hauls (the franchise owner gets first pick, obv.). Then he had deals with various scrap dealers, recyclers, etc. So, it’s not like all of that stuff goes directly to the dump.


Carolyn October 5, 2011 at 9:23 am

I love the idea of directed donations and it does make letting go easier for many of the organizing clients I help. The problem is that directed donations can take a lot of time. So, for myself, and the clients I help I try to find a nice balance while getting things out of the home or office once and for all!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

Oh yes, I do this! Things only go into the Goodwill bag if I can’t think of anywhere more direct to send them.


Emily October 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

Our church youth group holds a big rummage sale each summer. I save almost everything for it. The kids work for a week sorting and pricing. All money goes towards mission travel expenses. Two different charities come to pick up the leftovers.


Sue October 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

My time is the most important qualifier right now. I tend to only separate things out I can sell (with little effort). I take books to 1) University Bookstore (a buyer for Powells, YAY!), 2) Half Price Books, and then 3) Value Village. I take CDs and DVDs to Everyday Music or Half Price Books, and then Value Village. Everything else goes straight to Value Village. But then, I’m the sort of person who’d buy a tshirt or sweatshirt with the name of school I didn’t attend on it (if it fit right and was comfortable). 🙂


Katherine October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

I perpetually have a reusable grocery bag of things in my car to return or give items to people as I see them. Right now it holds: a cup and spoon a friend left at our house, a moth-eaten cashmere sweater a friend can make into pants for her baby (no moth holes on the sleeves!), and a bunch of 3T clothes to give to a friend who just lost most of her belongings in a house fire.
At the same time, a Goodwill box is always getting filled up. I prefer to give specific things to specific people, but Goodwill is a nice backup.


Green Bean October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Generally, I try to do directed donations because stuff is less likely to end up in the landfill that way. I will admit that sometimes, though, everything just goes into a box that goes to the Goodwill. One thing that I’m trying that has worked quite well is to have an IN box and an OUT box. The Out box is for directed donation type things – the spoon I found mixed in with ours that belongs to my mother, the math supplies my son’s teacher lent us last year, library books, a shirt that my son has grown out of. I try to check the OUT box when I leave on errands and such to slowly get those things to the right place.


Linda H. October 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

My go-to is usually the Rescue Mission because when I decide something needs to go, it needs to GO NOW! I do sometimes pass things along if I think a friend might like something. If there is a rummage sale coming up for an organization I would like to support, I will wait and donate there.


Alison October 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

I’m definitely a directed donor. I save our worn sneakers and donate them to a sporting goods store that recycles them (through a Nike program). The store is not nearby and I don’t get there often so I always have a bag of worn sneaks somewhere (i.e. cluttering things up) but I just can’t bring myself to toss them (and they’re too worn to hand down). I also have multiple bags of children’s clothing that are for specific nieces or friends – instead of dropping all of my kids’ old clothes off at one Goodwill place, I like to give specific items or types of clothes to individuals who I know will use them.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi October 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

Directed donation gal here! A lot of stuff does end up at Goodwill, but only after I’ve considered other options. I have a deal with myself: if I can’t sell the item for more than $15, it goes to a donation pile. I find it easier to get rid of things when I do directed donation over just sending it all to one place!


Pollyanna October 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I also try to direct donate if I know I am not burdening someone with my leftovers. With our sons beyond school-age, I discovered gobs of lined school paper, colored pencils, pens, a ruler or two, paperclips, crayons, etc…excess office supply stuff — I took it to the admin office of our local elementary school as a donation to teachers. Hotel shampoos and soaps go to our local Ronald McDonald House. My excess scrapbooking supplies and yarns go to my friend with a very creative 11 year old daughter. The trouble is, I often can’t get rid of stuff because I am always looking to find that “best” recipient!!


Molly October 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I direct donate and I’m typically the first stop friends make before they head off to Goodwill. It’s nice to have my friends all trained 🙂


Jill October 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I just took 3 large boxes of craft supplies to my local girl scout neighborhood leader meeting. I was a leader fo 6 years and had collected so much stuff. Most leaders buy supplies out of their own pocket.


Indigo October 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I have a large box in my closet for things to be donated. Once it starts reaching full I sort it out and take it to where it does the most good. Over sized cloths with a stain? Over to my classroom to be used as paint cloths for students. Book go to my school’s library. Old towels and blankets go to the animal shelter. Usable cloths and household items to good will. Movie and games I try to sell at Ed McKay’s, then I take what is left over to good will.


Adventures in Thrift Land October 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Yes, I like to do this as well. Most of the clothes my son has outgrown are thirdhand by the time we pass them along, and I know the thrift store wouldn’t want them. I have a friend who thinks they’re adequate, so she’ll take them.


Jo October 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I try to direct my donations, but you’re right, it is more work. You have to be dedicated! I got some good ideas from your post that I haven’t considered before. It has slowed down the process for me in the past, but I am getting better about accepting “good enough” destinations, and also about doing a manageable amount at any one time instead of waiting until I get every single thing sorted and make only one trip – that never happened and I was starting to drown in stuff, so now I take one or two items or bags at a time and then start to figure out homes for the next few items or bags.

Some ways I direct my donations:
1. books – give specific ones to specific people I think would enjoy them, based on what they read already; take the best of the rest to a used book store for credit; take the rest to a local annual book sale where they’ll take just about anything (our library has very strict rules for donations and any books I have that make the grade will be accepted at the bookstore for credit)
2. clothing – give the best to my sister-in-law who passes on what they don’t need to people she works with; give the next best to charity; use the out-of-style for sewing projects and the worn-out for stuffing (cut up in fine strips) or for rags
3. housewares – check with family/friends to see if they can use it; then give to charity
4. odd items – leave out during curbside swap or list on freecycle – you’d be so surprised what people will take – we put out two old BBQ’s at the last swap and they were gone in 5 minutes – someone collecting metal scrap to sell. The moral here is that even if we don’t have a use for it, other people might know how to use, re-purpose, or process it so it doesn’t end up in the landfill.


Sheryl October 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I generally do more directed donations: household and furniture items to Oregon Community Warehouse; nicer teenager’s hand-me-downs to a specific friend who is in need; outgrown, usable team gear to a team mate; some big items that I don’t know what the heck to do with have gone on the curb with a free sign (broken lawnmower, anyone?), etc. What’s left goes to Goodwill or the like.

I used to try to do the Buffalo Exchange thing with clothes and the Powell’s thing for books, but honestly–the proxmity to my home and the relatively small amount of cash/credit we’d gain made it not so worth my time. I’m not buying as much “stuff” anymore tho’ (e.g., making better use of the library), so there’s not as much as there used to be to get rid of.


Jess October 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I moved recently, and everything went to Goodwill or the free pile, with one exception: Toiletries! I have lots of shampoos, hair gunk, soaps and unused tampons that were either well-intentioned, unwanted gifts or that I just didn’t use. So I donated them to the Julia West House (, a day shelter in downtown PDX. They take supplies for their tea and coffee bar in addition to new or gently used toiletries.

As an aside, I couldn’t find any organization in the Willamette Valley area to take my mattress because it had ink stains. I realize that the stains are unsightly, but isn’t that what bedsheets are for?


Jess October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Another strategy: My housewarming party doubled as a book swap! Bring a book and something to grill, leave with a book and a full belly. There’s a thrift store donation bin just down the street from my house for all the unwanted books–but we just sold them to Powell’s anyway.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary October 6, 2011 at 8:44 am

I have done the bookswap party as well. It was great on all counts. I put the books out all over the house, so people had something to look at and talk about. There were lots of conversations about “what did you bring” and “did you like that author” which broke the ice for people who didn’t know each other. And then, people chose books for themselves, and the rest were donated to the library which sells them for funds.


Marcella October 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm

One other laser sharp thing people should take into account is not donating total rubbish to a Goodwill or thrift store.

Be brutally honest about whether or not your used clothing is in good enough condition to be worn by somebody else. Do you really think a broken toy would be purchased by somebody else? (Maybe, how feasible is the repair?) Is it actually safe to use? I donate regularly but I make an effort to look at my potential donations with a fresh eye and consider if it is actually sellable. That t-shirt that I have worn for 8 years and has stains? I’m making it into a rag, not dumping it on Goodwill.

I have often discussed with workers at these stores that people dump absolute crap that is only good for the dumpster at their stores – all while maintaining a “warm and fuzzy” feeling about donating. In actual fact they are COSTING these charities money as they have to pay to dispose of this junk.

Freecycle is also a pretty amazing way to easily donate your goods to the exact person who wants it.


Katy October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

But stained and ripped T-shirts get bundled as “rags,” and ripped old jeans get sold to companies that make eco-denim insulation. Of course, not at al;l thrift stores, but the Portland Goodwill does this.



Linda October 6, 2011 at 3:02 am

My local thrift store does that also. They will take all clothing and whatever they cannot use, get sold to make rags and other items.

It’s the same principle that I use. Alot of item that I cannot use in one way can be re-purposed to be used in another way.


Marcella October 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Agree that sometimes this is the case, but one should always confirm this with the thift store first and not just assume.

It’s not just clothing; people often dump broken toys, electronics and other useless junk on these stores. Then the charity has to waste money disposing of the waste.

I am ALL for donating and do so regularly – and I suspect the sort of readers here are good at donating useable goods – but you would be suprised what others will lump a charity with- stuff that is only good to throw away.


harriet October 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I give literally everything to the Salvation Army. They helped out my dad when he was down and out and helped out a friend of mine when she was on welfare. I approve of them.

Sometimes I feel like a sucker for not selling old clothes on eBay or taking them to a consignment shop, but I need all the good karma I can get, frankly.

I also struggle with getting rid of my older clothes. Sometimes an occasion comes us up and having a huge wardrobe is a plus. I don’t know. For example, I have this lovely silk-satin maxi-dress I splurged on a couple years ago at Saks. I wore it once to a fancy party (in my honor, I might add). It cost me something like $250. Take it to the Sally Army and feel good about it, or sell it on eBay? Or wear it tomorrow night when I’m going to a swanky restaurant for my friend’s birthday? But then I’d have to dig out painful shoes.

This is why my house is so cluttered. AGITA!


Katy October 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm

And today I took a tote full of nice clothes to “Buffalo Exchange” in hopes of getting some credit towards a gift card for my son’s 16th birthday. Sadly they only bought a single garment, but it was still $6.25 I didn’t have before. Luckily there’s a Goodwill down the road, so I walked everything over and donated. Directly.

Less crap in the house = good.



Rachel in Portland October 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Inevitably, I end up choosing Goodwill because the thought of standing in line at Buffalo or Crossroads or both only to have them take one or two things is a barrier to getting the crap out of the house. For me, anyway.


AnnW October 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Our Episcopal Church has a huge book and white elephant sale every year. They take donations year round. No clothes, though. The Presbyterian Church gets a shipping container twice a year that sits in their parking lot. It goes to Guatemala. What we might think is ugly fabric or outdated twenty year old craft kits and doilies might be welcomed in Guatemala. Our Sewing Group passes along lots of things that people give us that we can’t use, like yarn and fabric. They also will take bikes that need to be fixed, tools, and all sorts of things that we are not interested in in the US anymore. Our library has several book sales each year and collect books and CDs year round. I try not to take free stuff from people. Just throwing clean good clothes and shoes in the trash seems wrong to me. My husband even recycles coat hangers back to the dry cleaners.


sealander October 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Mostly I use Freecycle, that way only people who actually want the stuff will get it. I’ve gotten rid of everything from jam jars, preserving equipment, clothes, shoes, a skipping rope, table loom, school supplies, even a mouse chewed wrap for a hot water cylinder. (I always describe the actual condition of the items clearly).
Nice clothes that are resellable go to the Red Cross shop. Books and magazines to the book sales run by Rotary or the Lions club.


Su Mama October 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Ah, an issue dear to my heart! Two people’s lifetime accumulation of stuff — much of it from my own lifetime of sewing — left our basement virtually impassable. After winnowing out the small amount that was truly special to me, we put the remaining 40 (!) boxes on our big front porch, and put a posting on Craigslist’s”free” category: “Quilter’s Paradise!!!” It was all gone in around 24 hours! Months later — with the help of Katy, my nephew, and a friend who sells all kinds of stuff, we got the main area of the basement virtually reamed out over a weekend. We gave the friend first pick as a thank-you for helping out. There were pieces of furniture, stacks of dishes, many chipped/broken, for that fantasized day when I would finally start making mosaics. (They were cool, OK? I lot of them had birds on them! And polka-dots!) The rest was stacked on and around two tables set next to our sidewalk, a well-trodden path leading to a popular park a half-block away. Another free ad in Craigslist brought hoards to our street. One woman was delighted to find the dishes for mosaics: she wanted to do this with her young grandson, but couldn’t afford the $2-per-plate Goodwill price. Another woman was thrilled with a free chest of drawers for one of her foster kids.

I DO take stuff to Goodwill on occasion. I take books to Powell’s and Murder By the Book to sell or trade. The others I either put in our rental cottages, or give to my friend who sells stuff online — she has something like 1500 books listed on Amazon! Once a victim of downsizing from an office job held for over 20 years, she’s having a blast finding stuff all over to sell on Craigslist or eBay– and making good money at it.

But actually meeting the person getting my once-valued stuff is a real upper, a possibly-odd way of connecting with the world outside my own circle of family and friends. In the last month or two I’ve given away a spare vacuum cleaner, study materials for the Graduate Record Exam, doll dishes and lots of other stuff. Sure, I might have gotten money for them — but it takes more time, and wouldn’t have generated much cash. (Nobody flakes out on picking up free stuff!)

And yes, thank you, the basement is looking better.


Laura October 6, 2011 at 3:45 am

Unfortunately I have had people flake out over free stuff. My solution is to charge a small amount on Craigslist to try to weed out those who aren’t serious.


Jean October 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I have sold the odd item or two on Craig’s list, but usually don’t have anything worth taking the time or trouble to field the phone calls/emails from prospective buyers–I have too little
‘spare time” as it is and would rather give items I no longer want or need to some better purpose. I am a member of Friends of theLibrary-and buy many of my books at their sales- but also direct any books, audio books , cd’s and movies we don’t want to keep to their sales. For a while as my adult children were moving out and setting up thir own nests, I always checked with them on furniture and household goods–frequently if they didn’t need or want the item, they knew a friend who did. All magazines go to my art teacher daughter for collage projects–also any unwanted craft , art or sewing supplies. She has a limited budget for materials, and anything donated is less she’s providing out of her own pocket. Any like new or giftable items now go to a church in my neighborhood that does an incredible “pay it forward” thing at Christmas where the people served by their food pantry can choose a gift for someone they love and can’t afford to buy a Christmas gift for.I found this especially poignant, because while there are a lot of charities that provide gifts for kids, these are mainly for adults-the out of work husband who’d like to have a gift for his wif etc.. They will even take the random small stuff, as their ladies assemble great themed gift baskets. I gave a lot of quart sized canning jars that had been sitting around for years since I usually only use pints or 1/2 pints that I passed along to a young friend who was just learning to can and needing jars. Did a major clean out a little over a year ago that went to a rummage sale to support a young missionary couples’ travel expenses to go to Africa. What I can’t find another home for but is usable goes to the local DAV stores, because that is a charity close to my veteran hubby’s heart. And if it’s just rags–well, I tear it into rags and use them!


Crystal C October 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I just had Habitat for Humanity Restore come pickup some building material. Gave 2 huge bags of little girls clothes to a friend with a younger daughter and her neighbor with 2 little girls to go through. I was also just on the receiving end of a ton of hand me down clothes for me!!! So exciting. What I couldn’t use I have already had 3 friends go through… than I will take to the local Thirft store that supports our community nature center. I try to think of people around me first before dropping off at Thrift store. Luckily for me many friends and family include me in things before they donate them too!


Ann October 6, 2011 at 9:26 am

In the process of decluttering my home and also divesting myself of my late mother’s things…hard, hard, hard. With my mom’s stuff, I have done a lot of directed donations (the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles received 17 old hearing aids, for example) but with my stuff, it has been Goodwill all the way. There is a Goodwill 1/2 block from my work and, if I time it right, I can drop off at 9:00 and be in the office by 9:10. I like the store at this Goodwill as well…and the staff is organized. For large items, I have found the National Council of Jewish Women to be most accomodating for pickups. I have a few things that I’d like to sell, but the time involved is burdensome.


Christa aka the BabbyMama October 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I am an everything goes to the VVA kind of person because they do pick ups. I work multiple jobs, have a daughter and a husband, plus some volunteering projects. If I were to have done directed donations with everything I decluttered in the past year I would have needed to devote part time hours to doing it.


Ellie October 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I like the idea of direct donation, but I have to admit, I’m not very good at it. Either I have to just “Goodwill box” everything and make a big “Goodwill run”, or else I wind up NEVER getting rid of it, because I get overwhelmed by all the individual tasks of finding “homes” for all kinds of things. Decluttering is hard enough for me without making it harder – not because I’m a “hoarder” type, but because I have trouble making decisions – and another layer of decision making about where to direct discards would paralyze me! The only stuff that hasn’t been “Goodwilled” so far is stuff that my husband wants to sell – if we ever get around to organizing a yard sale, or setting up an e-bay sellers account. (In our defense, we haven’t had a yard to sell from until really recently, so I’m hoping the yard sale will happen next spring.)

It’s reassuring to hear anectdotes from so many people willing to give things away. I actually have inlaws who would RATHER throw stuff in the garbage than give it to Goodwill/Salvation Army. Their “logic” is that “the thrift stores will just sell it for money” (duh, that’s how organizations like GW and SA and churches make money for their charitable activities). But their idea if there is “value” in it, then they should sell it themselves and get the money, because “charity starts at home”, you know. Explainign that thrift stores sell it for charitable purposes doesn’t make any difference – they literally do not beleive in charity. But they never actually get around to selling anything…so it just sits in the closets, until someone gets fed up with it, and sneaks it into the trash. It’s really sad.


john davies October 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

I agree. Not everything should be destined for the landfill. Almost anything can be reycled. GJ has a statement on their website that says they have saved billions of pounds of trash from the landfills, but Hoarders shows them throwing it all away!

Rubbish Works -Seattle


Megan October 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Sometimes I don’t enjoy getting decluttered to. My in-laws and my parents often bring over things they don’t want thinking they will be “perfect” for me. I am not in college anymore and have my own stuff.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, it’s just that a lot of that stuff comes with high expectations “Well that was your Grandfather’s stereo,clock, chair, whatever”. Or, why would you spend good money on “whatever” when you can have my old one.

Your direct decluttering sounds more thought out than the kind that happens to me though. I think it is a good idea only if you are sure to receiver actually wants to receive what it is you are giving.


Nina Nelson October 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

It’s like you read my mind… I have a pile of stuff to get rid of that didn’t make the yard sale and I was planning on donating it. However, when it came time to donate it, I looked at it and thought that it would make more sense to give certain things to certain people that I knew would use them. So I did that, posted some of the items on facebook for free and put the rest in a box that will be going to the thrift store. More than half of it was spoken for immediately.


Jackie October 10, 2011 at 7:41 am

Directed Donation all the way!!!

I consign my clothes when possible, at a variety of different consignment shops. Whatever they won’t take goes to a Clothes Closet near my neighborhood that gives clothes directly to those in need. Clothes that are off-season or in not as good condition go to Salvation Army. REALLY bad stuff goes to my brother for rags in his mechanic shop.

Books go on Other items go on a Community Sharing Shelf that I just implemented in my housing co-op’s laundry room. When that shelf gets too full, I donate those items to various places.

Some items go directly to refugee families at my church. And sometimes, to Freecycle.

I go to great pains and find great joy in making sure items go to people who can actually use them!!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: