Many seniors have been through “tough” times and they want to sell items that will not sell. They have great difficulty donating things. As a retired teacher I often give our seniors “homework.” I hand them a new box and ask them to fill it with items that will bless someone else –  nothing dirty, broken, ripped, dated…Jokingly, I will say it doesn’t matter if it’s your husband’s tools which he hasn’t used in 30 years, clothing, linens, garden items or kitchen items. “The people who are given things are often hurting and please don’t add to it with what you donate.” A friend always washed or dry cleaned every item of clothing before she donated it and set a good example for me.

Items to donate:

Clothing can go many places. Some cities have a charity for women who need to go for a job interview. Pretty towels and ladies and children’s clothing can go to a family shelter. Men’s clothing especially work boots can go to a men’s shelter. Men often need boots with steel toes to apply for jobs. Towels, soap. new toothbrushes, shampoo are great for shelters too.

I enjoy bringing nice clothing, good shoes, hats and purses to a senior citizens’ building.

Kitchen items can go to a local charity or be used to help people who are refugees or have lost things in a fire.

Food goes to a food bank or local shelter. Always check the expiry date. My personal guideline is if I would feed the food to my grandchild, I will give it away. Some places have freezers and can accept good frozen food.

Unopened pet food, and kitty litter can be donated.

Craft supplies can go to a school, seniors’ center, retirement home or after school program.

Books can be donated to a “fund raiser” at a school, church, library or bank. Books that have been in a basement or ones that smell musty are garbage.

DVD players are great for a veteran’s facility or an Alzheimers’ group. Favorite songs can bring a lot of comfort to these seniors.

Tools go to Habitat for Humanity or a trade school.

Newer computers can help underprivileged children.

Art books and supplies can go to an art school, a local school or after school program.

Musical instruments are great for schools. People I know are busy collecting and sending musical instruments to a native community in the north.

Fur and suede coats are shipped north to be used to make warm clothing for the children.

Technical books and research papers are wanted by some universities or colleges.

Cars, boats, motorcycles can be sold or donated for a tax receipt.

Remember some places do give tax receipts. Ask what the guidelines are before you make the donation. Some charities will give a receipt if you deliver the items but will not if they need to pick them up.

Wooden furniture can go to a trade school to be refinished.

It is harder to donate items in the summer months when the charities are very busy and can be selective about what they accept. We have had “boomers” ask us to empty their homes and donate everything that is left, including leather furniture in excellent condition. They are downsizing and need smaller furniture. This can make it harder to donate furniture from the home of an 80 year old.