Consult this guide when donating household items to charity.

Our tips for donating to charity include only donating items that are in good, usable condition.If you’ve been looking for ways to help out your community, take a look around your house! Chances are you have items there that you don’t use anymore — but that doesn’t mean they’ve run out of usefulness.

Donating lightly-used items to organizations in your community is a great way to give back, provide necessary clothes and home goods to people who need them, and prevent discarded items from going to a landfill. That’s a win for you, other members of your community, and the planet!

Before you gather up your items and head to the local thrift store, here are seven tips for donating to charity to help you make sure your things will go to a good home:

  1. Look for specific charities
  2. Only donate usable items
  3. Wash clothes before donating
  4. Read each charity’s rules
  5. Label and wrap anything sharp or fragile
  6. Reset your electronics
  7. Make a backup plan for non-donatable items

Let’s dive into these tips for donating to charity!

Look for specific charities
Instead of gathering up everything you can think of donating and driving to your nearest thrift store, try making a more targeted donation plan. For instance, you could donate electronics to shops that take old computers or phones for education programs, furniture to programs that help furnish homes for families in need, books to schools or libraries, and so on. This way, you can be confident that your things are going to people who know what to do with them.

Only donate usable items
If you have clothes that look worn out or items that are broken, don’t donate them. Instead, make sure everything you plan on donating is in decent quality and working condition. If anything isn’t, think about repurposing them (think making dust rags out of old clothes, “up-cycling” furniture, etc.) or finding organizations that work to recycle typically non-recyclable items like old t-shirts or plastic bags.

Wash clothes before donating
Help out the employees or volunteers at the organization you’re donating to and make sure any clothes you plan on giving away are clean! Before donating be sure to check that everything has been washed, dried, and nicely folded before you put them in the donation bags or boxes! If you’re donating shoes, clean them too.

Read each charity’s rules
Most charities will probably have a “do-not-donate” list of items they don’t take or currently have enough inventory of. Make sure you review their policies and restrictions to know what you can donate and what kind of quality it needs to be in. This is another step that will maximize the efficiency of your donation plan.

Label and wrap anything sharp or fragile
Keeping your donated items (and the employees or volunteers wherever you’re donating) safe is a good thing to consider as you’re packing up your fine china, knife sets, vases, and other breakables or potentially dangerous items. Use bubble wrap or tissue paper and clearly label the boxes, so the people unwrapping it will know what to expect.

Reset your electronics
If you’re donating old laptops or smartphones, ensure that your personal information is completely erased from the device first. You can take it to a computer or phone shop to transfer photos and documents onto a new device or external hard drive, then ask them to do a total system reset. Or, if you’re tech-savvy, you can look up online guides to do it yourself!

Make a backup plan for non-donatable items.
If you have used items you planned to donate but cannot find an organization currently accepting them, don’t put them in the trash just yet! Check online for local “freecycling” groups where you can offer items for free directly to members of your community who may need them. If you have larger items, research to see if any organizations in your area do pickups and disposal of things like old appliances, or large pieces of furniture you can’t transport on your own.

These tips for donating to charity will get you set up for a successful home clear-out session! Thinking about other forms of donations or charity work? Check out these seven ways to be charitable!

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