Donate and declutter: 9 ways to recycle, get organized and help others

A stock image of a woman carrying a pile of sweaters
Donate and declutter: 9 ways to recycle, get organized and help others.

By Anita Murray,  All Things Home

If you need to declutter and your no-longer-loved treasures still have plenty of life left in them, keep them out of landfill by donating household goods to a good cause.

Here’s a list of Ottawa-area charities and non-profits that gratefully accept gently used items. Note that many facilities may have restrictions on donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Get in touch where necessary before dropping off items.

Youville Centre: Accepts clothing, toys, certain baby gear, toiletries, diapers and more for teen mothers and their children. Check the site for what’s most needed and what cannot be accepted. youvillecentre.org

Harmony House: Provides safe, affordable transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of violence and who often arrive with few possessions. See the website for restrictions on what can be donated. You can even donate a car. harmonyhousews.com

Salvation Army Thrift Store: Accepts clothing, household goods and cars. Items can be dropped off at a drop bin or thrift store (the closest is 1490 Richmond Rd.) or arrange for pick-up. Some items cannot be accepted; check the website. salvationarmyottawa.ca

St. Vincent de Paul: Provides clothing and household goods to the needy and newcomers to the city. Smaller items can be dropped off at a drop box or a store (the closest is 1273 Wellington St. W.). For larger items, pick-up can be arranged. facebook.com/saintvincentthriftstore

Habitat for Humanity ReStore: The ReStore sells donated new and gently used items with proceeds supporting Habitat’s programs to help low-income families through affordable home ownership. Furniture and other items and accepted but some things are not; check before donating to ensure there is space for your items. Stores are located in Stittsville and Ottawa Train Yards. Pick-up can be arranged for a fee. There’s also a handy chart to see what you can donate. habitatgo.com

Helping with Furniture: Provides gently used furniture and household items to those in need, especially refugee claimants. Pick-up may be possible; otherwise you can fill out a form on their site to arrange a drop-off. facebook.com/hwfottawa

Matthew House Ottawa (The Furniture Bank): Also provides gently used furniture and household items to those in need, especially refugee claimants. Items can be dropped off or, for a fee and with prior notice, can be picked up. matthewhouseottawa.org

GiveShop: This is a made-in-Ottawa app that allows you to declutter while also raising funds for charity. It’s a platform where you can offer your items and those interested can haggle over price, much like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. Buyers pay with a credit card and proceeds go to the charity of your choice. The giver gets a tax receipt and GiveShop gets a 15-per-cent processing fee. giveshop.ca

Buy Nothing Project: OK, this one isn’t a charity, but it’s an awfully handy way to gift away your no-longer-wanted treasures to those in your community who do want them. This initiative has exploded via Facebook over the past few years with local groups popping up all over the world. You need to be a part of your local group to take part but, once you are, offering up your treasures (which can be just about anything) is simple. buynothingproject.org/find-a-group (or search “Buy Nothing Project” on Facebook).

Anita Murray is former Homes Editor of the Ottawa Citizen and co-founder of AllThingsHome.ca, Ottawa’s trusted resource for home buyers and homeowners.

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