Off the Beaten Track Places to Donate Stuff

Congratulations! You’ve made some hard decisions about what to let go of. And perhaps you’d like to donate your items before December 31st to write them off on your taxes. Now, where should these items go?

We all know about Goodwill and its convenient donation sites throughout the Portland metro area. However, our clients often express a wish to donate to smaller, local, or alternative charities. We’d like to share a few of our favorites!

No car? Can’t lift things? Too busy to drop off donations? Consider scheduling a pickup! Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) pickups are free and you can donate up to 25 bags or boxes of items at a time. They must be light enough for one person to move and load into a truck (i.e. no heavy furniture).

I have a VVA pick-up scheduled at least once a month, to keep me inspired and encouraged to sort. I continuously ask myself, “Is this something that I still want or still works for me and my family?” Or sometimes, I ask, “If I moved, would I want to pack this?” If the answer is “no,” I have a box upstairs and downstairs labeled “Donate.”

Other charities that pick up donations are Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Union Gospel Mission, Community Warehouse, and Adult and Teen Challenge Portland. Some charge a modest fee to cover gas and muscle power. Be sure to check out what each charity accepts and where items need to be staged (i.e. in the garage or outside – some are not insured to enter your home or will not due to COVID safety concerns.) Also, try to plan a little in advance – charity pickups are popular and can schedule 2+ weeks out.

You may be seeking a place closer to home, somewhere that accepts specific things, inspires you with its mission, or accepts donations that day. That is all fantastic!

Here are some local options that you may not already know:

  • Sam’s Attic Eclectic Thrift at Parkside Business Center, 7901 SW Cirrus Drive, Building 27, Beaverton, accepts “no longer needed treasures.” They “LOVE new + like new, gently used clothing, housewares, home decor, jewelry + collectibles. They generally accept donations Tuesdays – Saturdays, 11 am – 4 pm, when the store is open. Some large furniture is accepted but its arrival must be scheduled in advance. Please reach out to them if there is a question or a concern regarding specific items.

  • SCRAP Creative Reuse Center at 1736 SW Alder Street, Portland accepts art and office supplies, fabrics, and many items that can be turned into interesting art. They have a detailed list of what they will generally accept here. To donate, you must schedule an appointment. Here is a link to the scheduling calendar. They do have twice monthly, open donation days (with a limit of 3 banker boxes of items/50 pounds), the second and fourth Friday of every month from 11 am – 1 pm, except for the fourth Friday of December.
  • Community Warehouse connects essential furnishings to neighbors in need. Quality, gently-used and new items are accepted. All donations must be home-ready. What they accept can be found here. Drop off your donations Monday through Friday 10 am – 4 pm at NE Portland or Tualatin. They do offer a pick-up service for a fee and with enough notice.
  • Free Geek refurbishes, redistributes, and recycles electronics. They accept nearly everything that plugs in or uses electricity, including computers, smartphones, tablets, printers, TVs, audio/video systems, related accessories, and much more. A more complete list of what is and isn’t accepted along with quantity can be found here and donated at 1731 SE 10th Avenue, Portland, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 am – 1 pm and 3 pm – 5 pm in the parking lot on the northeast side of the building, or contact them for pick-up (for a fee) at (503) 232-9350. They will also destroy the data on every single data-bearing device they receive.

  • Ethos Music Center believes that all kids deserve access to the benefits of music education and has an ever-evolving wish list to meet the needs of the over 7,000 children they work with each year around Oregon. That list is here and the form to donate an instrument is here. Their location is at 2 N Killingsworth Street, Portland.

  • ReClaimIt! is an environmental non-profit whose volunteers glean over 3,000 pounds of materials each week at the Transfer Station, clean, and repair the items, then sell them to artists and folks in the community. Located at 1 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland, they also take donations from businesses and the community. ReClaimIt! also offers an online shop. They accept a wide variety of items that do not necessarily need to be in working order (think grandfather clocks) or in good repair (think furniture).

  • Cedar Mill Community Library takes donations of books, audiobooks on CD, video games, and board games (if all pieces are included). Contact their Book Sale Coordinator at kimm@wccls.org or (503) 644-0043 ext 116 to make a donation appointment. Cedar Mill Community Library also accepts donations of housewares and clothes for their Second Edition Resale Shop. Accepted items include clothing, shoes and bags, fine and costume jewelry, home decor and other home items, small furniture, toys and games, and linens.

  • Friends of the Hillsboro Public Library accepts donations of books, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, CDs, and more! Make an appointment to drop off items at the Brookwood Library by calling 503-615-2461 or 503-332-8104.

  • Buzzy’s Bees – check out their website for more info, but they accept jewelry and artwork to sell at their gallery in Beaverton to benefit families who have suddenly and unexpectedly lost children.

  • Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center that provides support for women, children, and gender-minorities. Rose Haven posts an updated “Top Needs List” weekly on their website. Drop off donations Monday through Thursday between 1 pm and 3 pm at 627 NW 18th Avenue, Portland. Ring the doorbell at the bottom of the wheelchair ramp, and remember to wear a mask, as it is required when dropping off donations!

  • Insights Teen Parent Services accepts new or gently used infant clothing, toys, formula, diapers, and larger items such as cribs, strollers, baby gates, and new car seats. Call their office to schedule an appointment to drop off any of these items.

  • Schoolhouse Supplies, located at 4916 NE 122nd Avenue, Portland, collects school, office, and art supplies, as well as other classroom materials. Make an appointment online (appointment times are Mondays – Thursdays from 9:30 am – 2 pm) to drop off school supplies, office supplies, incentives, arts and crafts, stationery, classroom materials, and books. Check out their website to see what specific items they need right now.

  • p:ear supports homeless youth in Portland through educational, arts and music, and recreational programs. They accept donations of food, clothing and outdoor gear, and baby items from Monday – Friday 9 am – 2 pm at 338 NW 6th Avenue, Portland.

  • Our House offers healthcare, housing, and other services to people living with HIV. Food donations can be given to Esther’s Pantry or personal care items to Tod’s Corner. Take a look at their wish lists to see what items they’re currently accepting. Donations can be given to one of their three donation sites throughout Portland. Call 503-234-0175 for more information about donating.

Feeling the need to sort through more stuff to find items to donate? I do, too, knowing that the items I don’t use or rarely use could be repurposed, used, and appreciated by others in need!

Of course, there are more places, but hopefully one of the wonderful organizations above stood out to you as a place to give your things. If not, Community Warehouse has kindly gathered a list of alternative places to donate here. Of course, there are also other places to list items for free, such as Buy Nothing, Offer Up, Freecycle, CraigsList, and Nextdoor.

Pay it forward and literally and emotionally create space in your life. Donate and help others in our community in the process. It’s a win-Win.

Have a favorite nonprofit not listed above that you like to donate to? Please share it with our community via our Facebook Group “Rightsizing From the Inside Out.” We love learning about new resources and sharing donation drives and interesting tidbits there.

If you get stuck or would like a turbo boost to get organized in the New Year, please reach out. Our Big Rocks Organizing team is happy to help and we have hundreds of resources at our fingertips with an app we created.