The Best Places to Donate Your Belongings Before You Move

Moving is an excellent opportunity to clear out a lot of old items that you’ve stashed under your bed or hidden away in the dark recesses of your closet. Once you’ve got everything out in the open, you can really put the KonMari method to the test and whittle down what truly brings you joy. But what do you do about the remaining items?

While you can throw them out, especially if they’re not in good condition, chances are a lot of the things you’ve accumulated throughout the years have only been used a handful of times and are practically like new. It’s not only a waste to throw them out, it also contributes to our waste. The US alone generates 230 million tons of trash every year – that’s around 4.6 pounds per person per day! Rather than contribute to this waste when you move, why not lighten your load by donating your items? Sure, it might be an additional step in your moving journey, but not only will you reduce how much your NYC movers will have to pack and transport, you’ll also be doing a good thing. And if that’s not enough, you can also get a charitable deduction for items you donate.


Old Apartment Furniture
Old Apartment Furniture

Chances are high that the furniture you might have had in your old apartment won’t necessarily fit in your new one. Or maybe you’re just looking to upgrade from your curbside pick up to something a bit more “adult.” Whatever the reason, you have some gently used items that you don’t want to throw away. If they’re in very good condition you could probably sell them, however if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of people coming over to look at your furniture while you’re moving, you can just donate it.

The best part is that you don’t have to lug your furniture over to the store as there are several options that will pick up from you.

  • Housing Works – This NYC non-profit fights against AIDS and homelessness. Generally speaking they look for higher quality pieces of furniture so they’re unlikely to take your Ikea bookshelf.
  • City Opera Thrift Shop – As the name suggests, this non-profit focuses on the arts with proceeds supporting the design and creation of costumes in the NYC opera. Make sure you look at their donation form to see what they accept and what they do not.
  • Junkluggers – This service will simply cart away your furniture and either donate it based on its condition or recycle it. Not convenient enough? They’ll even send you a tax-deductible receipt within 14 business days for the items that were donated on your behalf.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore – You probably recognize the name Habitat for Humanity as they build homes for low-income people. Did you also know that they accept (and pick up) furniture? There are some restrictions to what they’ll accept, so make sure to look over the list.


Old Baby Clothes
Old Baby Clothes

You never really know how much clothes you have until you move. If you didn’t fall into the organizational craze, you might be wondering what to do with all the bags of clothes you’ve collected. While it might be tempting to just throw them out, consider this fact: people throw out about 81 pounds of clothes a year! If you have clothes that are in good condition there are several places you can donate them to:

  • Salvation Army – Perhaps the most well-known Goodwill store in NYC, Salvation Army will generally accept almost all clothing, so long as it is in good condition. Naturally, they don’t accept things like used socks or underwear.
  • New York City Rescue Mission – As the oldest shelter in the US, the NYC Rescue Mission is consistently in need of clean clothes and other items (such as bedding). They generally only accept clothing in new or good condition. The items that are most needed tend to be work/interview attire, but they’ll accept all clothes.
  • Dress for Success – This non-profit only accepts career appropriate attire for women.  When donating, remember to launder/dry-clean them before donating. You can see a more complete list of what they accept here.
  • Buffalo Exchange – If you have some high end clothes that you no longer wear, Buffalo Exchange is a great place to drop off your brand name items. If the staff accepts them, you’ll receive cashback for your clothes. And you can still choose to donate the clothes that don’t net you any cash if you just want to get them off your hands.
  • Greenmarket Clothing Collection – for clothes that are damaged or not donatable (like underwear and socks) you can drop off these goods at one of the many locations around the city. They’ll accept almost all clothes though they will not take things like fabric rolls and scraps, carpeting, rugs, pillows, comforters or luggage. The company then sends the clothes off to be reused and/or recycled.
  • H&M and Zara – Wait, what? Yep, that’s right, these two companies have a bin in all of their stores where you can drop off your old clothes even if they’re not from the brand. It’s a nice effort, though the bins tend to be pretty hidden and people tend to think it’s a trash can.


Old Books/Magazines
Old Books/Magazines

It’s hard to say goodbye to books and magazines, but these can take up a huge amount of space and add a lot of extra weight. While you don’t have to get rid of everything, chances are you have several dozen that you probably don’t even pick up anymore. Take the opportunity to rid your home of clutter and get rid of them!

  • The Strand – if you have enough books to donate, The Strand will pick up your boxes of books for you. However, if you only have a dozen or so, you’ll need to go directly to their location and donate. You’ll even get some money back on the books depending on what it is.
  • The New York Public Library – While they only accept academic titles, if you happen to have some on hand, the NYPL is a great place to donate. Libraries might also take your old magazines so long as they are in good condition.
  • Books Through Bars – Live in Brooklyn? Then you can cart your books over to Freebird Books and donate them. Just make sure to read their guidelines to ensure your books are accepted.
  • Reach out & Read – If you have a lot of leftover kids books that you no longer need, this organization is more than happy to accept them. They then distribute these books to pediatrician’s offices. You can drop it off at one of their sites or, if you have a lot, ship them over to their main office.


leftover food
Leftover Food

There are around 1.4 million people who rely on emergency food programs in the city, whether soup kitchens or Food Banks. If you happen to have a lot of leftover food that you don’t want to move, consider donating them to a good cause. There are even places that can pick up your perishable items so long as they’re not opened/used.

  • The Bowery Mission – one of the most well-known shelters in NYC, they also offer soup kitchens every day. You can drop off your food donation between 7am and 7pm. While they generally request non-perishable items, they will accept fresh prepared foods as long as they’re still in their packaging.
  • Hour Children Food Pantry – Located in Long Island City, this food pantry is organized more like a supermarket to give a sense of normalcy and allow its patrons to find items faster. They tend to veer more towards non-perishable items.
  • New York Common Pantry – if you don’t want to transport all of your items to a location, have the organization come to you! New York Common Pantry provides pick ups everyday from 8am-11pm. They are one of the few organizations that accept perishable items such as product, meat and other items though they do not accept pastries, cakes, chips, sodas or other junk food.

There are many other charitable organizations willing to accept your gently used items so make sure to look around and find one that makes sense for you. Donating not only gives your items a second chance at life, it also helps the environment by reducing waste and even puts extra money in your pocket come tax time.