by Rachel Azark

Did you know that January is the month to get organized? According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), this year marks the seventh year that January is the month to get organized. NAPO wants to raise awareness on the benefits of getting organized and since getting organized is usually one of the top five New Years resolutions, what better time to start than now? Read on for where the best places are to donate your things.

One of the best things you can donate is literacy by donating your old books. Have your children outgrown their books? Cleaning out the kitchen and come across cookbooks on the back shelf? What about all those books you bought for your book club and now they’re taking up enormous amounts of room? Or maybe you got a Kindle or Nook for Christmas and now it’s time to retire the paperbacks. Open Books will accept any sellable book in good condition. That includes fiction, nonfiction, craft books, cookbooks, children’s books, textbooks, encyclopedias, and more. They are now also accepting CDs and DVDs in good playable condition.

They have four options for dropping off your books. At their drop-off box, their store during store hours, they will pick them up from you or you can mail them in. Visit their website for more information on all of their options.

Best Buy

Electronics have a tendency to start piling up in the back of a closet or in the attic if you don’t take care of recycling them. The box of old cell phones you don’t use anymore as you’ve been constantly upgrading the iPhone, or the flat screen monitors, the digital cameras, the scanners, the printers, the list continues on. Best Buy has a recycling program at all of their stores to help you safely dispose of your electronics. It doesn’t matter where you bought it, what brand it is, or how old it is, Best Buy will accept it. They’ll take just about anything electronic including ink and toner cartridges and rechargeable batteries. They even have a trade-in program for gently used electronics and in return, you get a Best Buy gift card.

For all of the things they offer in their recycle program, visit their website.

Located in LaGrange, Community Nurse’s mission is dedicated to enhancing the health of our community. They serve as a community healthcare center for residents in the western suburbs of Chicago. In order to fund their clinic and education programs, they rely on donations from the community. They accept everything from clothing and jewelry to artwork, toys, cookware, tableware, small appliances like toasters, books and seasonal items. There are however things they cannot accept and some of the items include computers, mattresses, large furniture, text books, major appliances, and children’s car seats, cribs and playpens.

Consignment Shops

If you’re really into designer fashion, shopping at Prada, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, etc. then you’re probably buying clothes pretty frequently to stay up with the latest fashion. What do you do with the rest of the out of season and out of style clothes just hanging in the back of your closet? Consignment shops are your best option for sharing your treasure trove of clothes with others. Selections located in Lincoln Park accepts authentic designer apparel, footwear and accessories from casual to business attire to evening wear. They have 60% payout on items sold for over $200 and 50% for items under $200. They even have an in-home pickup but with a 15-item minimum.

The Salvation Army

If you are cleaning out the basement or the attic and you have a lot of furniture, large appliances and household goods that need to go, then the Salvation Army is your place to go. You can bring your goods to the family stores, drop-off locations, or schedule a pickup online. By donating your used items, you’re helping a worthy cause of assisting an adult get back on their feet at one of the Salavation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers that provide spiritual, social and emotional assistance to men and women.

Visit their website for more information on donating your items, including a list of the goods they accept and donation value guide.



When you donate to Goodwill, the sales of your donations help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, or lack education or job experience. Last year more than 74 million people donated to Goodwill. They accept appliances, clothing, electronics and furniture that are new or gently used. In the United States and Canada, there are more than 2,600 Goodwill donation locations. In this economic time that we are going through, where so many people are struggling, it’s important to be able to give back anyway you can.

Visit their website to find a donation location near you.

Other options

Don’t forget other places that will accept your donations including Amvets and local homeless or women’s shelters in your area including pet shelters where you can help by donating gently used pet supplies. Let us know in the comments section where you donate your items!

Rachel Azark is a writer, and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog