Most of us have been social distancing for months now, doing activities like binge-watching Netflix, baking bread, finally tackling home improvement projects, and home organization. If you have spent the last few months cleaning out your basement, closets, and whatever other spaces are filled with clutter, you might be at a loss for what to do with your hand-me-downs, considering many businesses still remain closed or are not accepting donations for safety reasons.
Fortunately, there are a lot of places still taking donations—and many of them are actually in desperate need of all your old belongings.
If you are holding on to any clothes that are the least bit professional, this is your place. “Dress for Success is one of my favorite options, especially for the ladies who are cleaning out their closets,” Samantha Wenig, founder of Neat Spaces NY, tells MyDomaine. While most of their locations are closed, she suggests checking with your local store to see if you can mail items in.
Just because you aren’t on the market to adopt a dog or cat doesn’t mean you can’t help one of the largest pet-friendly organizations during the pandemic. “Helping pets right now is as important as all of the other donations,” says Wenig. “Nonprofits like the Humane Society have a full wish list of items they are taking and need more than ever.” This includes towels, pillows, pet food (canned and dry only) dog cases, and more.
Want to make money while getting rid of last season’s clothes, shoes, and bags? “This online marketplace, which is mostly consignment, is still up and running,” points out Wenig. Since Poshmark is a similar model to eBay, people are able to buy and sell clothing and they ship directly, this does not come from individual vendors. “I recommend washing whatever items you may be purchasing before use or wear,” she says.
The RealReal is a luxury resale company still allowing people to clean out their closets and sell from home. “On their website, you can also do virtual consults with their buyers and they can deem which items are ok to sell, and which they do not accept,” points out Wenig. “If that is not an option for you, they also offer free UPS shipping labels to send your items to them.” The process takes about 2 weeks. If you want to donate goods, they are also offering an awesome service: a free UPS pickup for anyone who would like to donate items to first responders such as medical supplies, masks, and more.
While the nationwide thrift store locations of Salvation Army are mostly closed throughout the U.S., they are accepting much-needed items, including diapers, cleaning and hygiene related products as well as nonperishable food, according to Wenig.
Wenig is a fan of this nonprofit that takes your used shoes. Due to COVID-19, their locations are not accepting in person drop-offs, but you still have the option to mail shoes to them. The company works hard to give back to communities all over the world, including Haiti and Honduras, following suit to sneaker brand Allbirds, who recently donated $500,000 worth of shoes to healthcare workers, according to Wenig.
“ThredUP is awesome, easy, and contact free,” says Wenig. Here’s how it works: They send you a large bag via USPS, which you can fill to the brim. “From there, you mail it back, and in a few weeks (a little slower due to COVID-19) they go through, pick what is able to sell and they donate the rest.” You can also opt for a donation bag that allows you to give your unwanted items to charities like Feeding America.
There are likely many people in your own community who are in need of everything from old appliances and furniture to baby gear and clothes, and Craigslist is a great way to connect with them. Go online and research if there are any local “Buy Nothing” groups, or list your goods for free on Facebook Marketplace. It is incredibly easy to do a curbside pickup transaction, takes little effort, and helps encourage safety in buying and selling goods during the pandemic.