(NEXSTAR) — Spring is the time to start fresh, open up the windows and clear out the dust — along with all the other junk you have lying around. What do you do with all the stuff you can no longer bear to see piled up in the depths of your closet or the corner of your garage? Donating is one of the best ways to keep that extra stuff out of the landfill.
But can you really donate a single sock that doesn’t have a match? What about a chipped plate? We asked Goodwill what they’d take and what they’d turn away — and it turns out they’ll accept a shocking amount of your stuff.
“We appreciate any donation that somebody is willing to give to us, but there are some things that we’re always looking for, especially clothing, shoes and small household goods,” said Courtney Nelson, senior director of marketing and communications at Goodwill.
Appliances, kitchen gadgets, utensils, vases and any small decor items are also very appreciated at Goodwill, Nelson said.
When it comes to clothing, Goodwill will accept anything and everything. If it has a stain or a tear, that’s OK. They may not put it out on the sales floor, but they’ll try and find a use for it, Nelson said. A clothing item with a large hole in it could be sent over to a partner company that repurposes old clothing to make rags or insulation, for example. A run-down pair of shoes could be handed off to a dealer that will use the rubber in their soles to make the material for backyard sports courts, she said.
Nelson said they even have a way to reuse a single shoe missing its pair.
“We work with a dealer here that finds those shoes, and they actually match shoes that are the same size and have the most similar look,” she said. The dealer then distributes the rematched shoes to charities in other countries, giving them to people in need.
About 50% of donated items end up on the sales floor, Nelson said. Of those items, only about 60% end up being sold. Everything that isn’t resold is brought to a clearance outlet, where it’s sold by the pound. In other cases, the organization makes an effort to salvage or recycle the items.
The only thing Nelson said the Arizona Goodwill branch she works with can’t accept is toxic waste. Pretty much everything else is fair game.
“We know that when somebody is choosing to donate their items to Goodwill, or choosing to donate to any organization, they’re making an effort, especially if it’s during spring cleaning. They spent a lot of time going through those items. Those items at one point meant something special and dear to them. — So if it doesn’t work for you, donate it to Goodwill, and we’ll make sure that we get the best use of it.”
Your local Goodwill locations may have additional restrictions, so be sure to check with the individual store before donating.