If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to declutter your home, good news: There are plenty of places around the five boroughs where you can donate your unwanted items—nonprofits, charities, libraries, and bookstores across the city can all put them to good use.
Plus, by donating the things you decide to discard—instead of dumping them in the trash—you’ll be helping the environment. According to the Department of Sanitation, diverting unwanted items from the city’s waste streams reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Just in 2019, through the donateNYC program, the city reduced the equivalent to the annual emissions of 42,500 cars (!).
Below, find a guide on where to donate your clothes, furniture, books, and electronics. For additional places near where you live, donateNYC has a handy map showing where you can find places to donate a wide variety of times, in the five boroughs.
Just about everything
Organizations like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Housing Works will take almost anything, with a few exceptions. For instance, Goodwill doesn’t accept furniture, while the Salvation Army and Housing Works do. All three accept clothes, books, and housewares. And both the Salvation Army and Goodwill will take vehicle donations. It’s best to check their websites to make sure that they’ll accept certain items.
Furniture and other household items
If you’ve got an old bed or other pieces of furniture to get rid of, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will take just about everything in that category. They have a long list of items they accept, which includes refrigerators, fans, mirrors, toilets, stoves, window air conditioners, and windows. (The organization uses two all-electric trucks for its pick-ups instead of regular, greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles.) Housing Works will also take furniture.
Nazareth Housing, a nonprofit that provides supportive housing and emergency family shelter to New Yorkers, also accepts a wide variety of household items, including laundered and gently used bed and bath linens or blankets, dining tables, small kitchen appliances, chairs, and dressers.
Some bookstores, including the Strand and Argosy, will buy your unwanted books for cash or store credit, but keep in mind that they can be very selective. Some, like the Strand, offer you the option to take back what they don’t buy or to leave it as a donation, but the store does warn that since it’s not a nonprofit, you won’t get a tax receipt for it.
NYC Books Through Bars mails books directly to incarcerated individuals who make requests for them. The group will take paperbacks only (most prisons don’t allow hardcovers) at its Red Hook location, on different topics including African-American history, dictionaries, GED studies, Latin American history, mythology, and languages.
As of 2015, it’s illegal for New Yorkers to drop their electronics in the trash. For things like TVs, laptops, printers, or video game consoles, the city asks people to discard them at one of its special waste drop-off sites, at SAFE Disposal events, or at one of more than 90 drop-off locations around the city, including the Lower East Side Ecology Center, the Gowanus E-waste Warehouse, Best Buy, and Staples. (Best Buy requires a $25 fee and Staples doesn’t accept TVs.)
The Department of Sanitation will also pick up electronics you’re discarding, but you need to first make an appointment.
Clothing and textiles
If you’re getting rid of clothes, thrift shops like Le Point Value and nonprofits like The Bowery Mission are natural places to donate. Many of the city’s Greenmarkets also have textile donation bins through the GrowNYC program, and will accept paired shoes, handbags, and belts as well. Materials for the Arts also accepts rolls and large pieces of fabric.