Where to Donate Items that Don't Sell

Jill Vonier

Jill Vonier

6 min read

Unfortunately, there isn't always a buyer for every item you want to sell. For those items, here are some great places where they can be donated.

Cardboard boxes with the word donatation on them

Selling items on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can be a great way to declutter your home and make some extra money.

However, you may have some items you're not sure if you should donate or sell on Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace because they are no longer in demand or because they are in poor condition. Maybe you already posted them online and they've sat there for a long time without getting any interest. If so, you may want to read our blog post Item Not Selling? Make Sure to Take Into Account These Top Factors.

In the cases where you can't see the item, you have some great options for places to donate your items. However, these places each have their pros and cons.

Read on to learn more about each of these donation centers to find the best place to donate your stuff.

Top Places to Donate

Here are our top 4 places to donate your items.

Local Thrift Stores

One of the best places to donate items that you are unable to sell on Craigslist is your local thrift store. Thrift stores often accept a wide range of items, including clothing, jewelry, books, furniture, and household items.

Thrift stores typically resell your items at a more affordable price compared to national organizations like Goodwill. This way they can make some money off of it to keep their store open but also offer an easier way for needy families to afford what they need.

By donating your items to a thrift store, you can help support your local community and ensure that your items are put to good use.

Consignment Shops

If you're hoping to still try to make some money off your items, you can send them to a consignment store. These stores will sell your items for you and give you a portion of the profit.

However, if they didn't sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, there's a chance they won't sell at a consignment store either, even if for a lower price. You can tell the shop owner to put it on consignment but if it doesn't sell after a few days, just donate it for free.

Community Shelters & Charities

Another option is to donate to local shelters or charities. Many shelters and charities accept clothing, furniture, and household items, and can put your donated goods to good use in their programs.

One popular charity is Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. Most counties have a local Habitat for Humanity that would accept your donations.

Choosing a shelter or charity is a great way to support a cause that is important to you and make sure that your items are able to help less fortunate people.

National Organizations

If you are unable to find a local thrift store or charity that is able to accept your items, you can also consider donating them to a national organization such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. These organizations will even give you a donation receipt to use as a tax-deductible.

These organizations have drop-off locations across the country and may even leave a truck in their parking lot for after-hour donations.

The one downside is these organizations tend to resell your items for higher prices than local charities or thrift stores. If you were hoping to donate to help families in need, choose a local charity instead.

Post for Free

Another quick option to get rid of the items you can't sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace is to keep the listing live and just reduce the price to "free." You could also refresh the post entirely by taking it down and reposting it. This puts it at the top of online marketplaces so people will see it.

This option can actually require less work because people are more willing to come to pick up the item if it's for free so you don't have to load it up on a truck or waste gas driving to your local donation center.

Tips to Donating

Before you toss your items into your truck and drive it down to the donation center of your choice, make sure to follow these tips first.

Check On the Working Condition

If your item requires moving parts or is electronic, make sure it works before donating it. While it's possible some places will still accept donations of broken items, it's more than likely they will not. Or you could make a note that certain features no longer work but the item itself is still functional.

If your item is in poor condition, it's possible you just need to dump it. You can do this in a trash can as long as your trash service accepts it, or you can take it to your local landfill.

Make Sure Your Item Will Be Accepted

Your local thrift store may have rules against selling certain items, either because they are a safety issue or are unsanitary. Call ahead or search for them online to find a list of acceptable items.

It's also possible your local thrift store, shelter, or charity may not have enough space to store certain items, such as large furniture or bicycles, and ask that you wait before donating these items.

National organizations like Goodwill may not accept certain items, such as mattresses or children's car seats because it goes against their company policy. This also may just be dependent on your local store so call ahead of time.

Clean It Up

Even if you're giving it away for free, it's still important to clean up you items for the next person. If you were already trying to sell it on an online marketplace, hopefully, you already got your item looking fresh. However, if you didn't, do that now.

Wash all clothes and fabrics in gentle detergent, use a Magic Eraser to clean up any scuffs off hard surfaces like old bowling balls or lamps, and wash your dishware in the dishwasher.

You can even make some minor repairs to your items, such as rubbing a walnut on your bedroom and dining room furniture to buff out some scratches, or add a dab of paint to an item that has started chipping.

Cleaning your items ahead of time ensures your items will be ready to go on the shelf and not require volunteers or workers to have to clean them for you.

If you don't think your item will sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or is already listed and struggling to get any interest, it may be time to just donate it. Thrift stores, shelters, charities, national organizations, and even online marketplaces are all great places to donate your items and ensure that they are put to good use.

By making sure your items are in good condition and calling ahead of time to make sure your items will be accepted, you can declutter your home and support a good cause at the same time.


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