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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Where to Donate Toys and Other Children's Items After Spring Cleaning

Photo by Baltimore County Public Library (Flickr)

Now that spring has arrived, my girls and I are officially in spring cleaning mode. We're cleaning the entire house from top to bottom and getting rid of clutter in each room. I'm especially excited about donating our unwanted kids' items to charity because we own too much stuff. To help my girls become more generous, protect the environment, and support a good cause, I ask them every year to research where we can donate our unwanted stuff. So far, my girls have recommended several places that will accept, use, and appreciate our gently used toys, clothing, and other children's items.

Thrift Stores

Goodwill, Salvation Army, Community Aid, and Volunteers of America are four of many charitable organizations that resell donated items in their thrift stores. These organizations support employees with disabilities, feed the homeless, help at-risk youth, rescue pets, or meet other humanitarian needs in our community.

Collection Centers

Companies like Planet Aid accept used clothing and shoes via collection bins that are placed in store parking lots. Organizations use donated items to support environmental and social progress around the world. In addition to using collection bins, we've also donated shoes to Soles4Souls and winter coats to One Warm Coat, two organizations that serve people in need.

Local Homeless Shelters

In our local area, several homeless shelters provide temporary housing and support for families, including children, in need. I hate the thought of kids living in a homeless shelter, but I'm grateful that our like-new toys, clothing, and other items can give these kids a feeling of normalcy despite their challenging circumstances.

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies

After an accident, illness, house fire, severe storm, or other emergency, displaced families need a lot of support, including toys and clothing. My girls like to support Stuffed Animals for Emergencies because they know their gently used children's clothing, toys, books, and baby items will be loved and appreciated during hard times.

Nurseries and Preschools

Nonprofit nurseries and preschools typically operate on a limited budget and often appreciate donations of gently used children's items, including baby toys, books, and outdoor play toys. When we've donated to a nursery or preschool in the past, we usually ask if we can help out by reading to or playing with the children after we drop off our items.

Hospitals and Doctors' Offices

When my girls were younger, they always looked forward to visiting the doctor because of the toy and book section. Now, they get excited about donating toys to our local pediatric hospital and doctors' offices. Some of our local facilities only accept new items because of germ and infection risks, so we always call first and ask about their donation policy.


We've met dozens of new friends through Freecycle. Members of this online group give or seek almost anything, making it the perfect way to purge our possessions and give kid-related items a new life in someone else's home.

Before You Donate

To ensure that our donations can be used by charities, we take several steps before we donate.

  1. Donate only new or gently used items.
  2. Wash clothing and toys thoroughly.
  3. Inspect items carefully, and throw away or recycle anything with missing pieces, holes, or other blemishes.
  4. Contact the charity to ensure that they can accept your specific donations.
  5. Review recalls and toss any unsafe items.

As my family cleans our home each spring, we look forward to donating our gently used toys, clothing, and other children's items. Consider joining us this year as we support good causes, protect the environment, and teach our kids to become more generous. Where is your favorite place to donate children's items?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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