How to Find Charities That Offer Free Donation Pick Up

Donating to charity is a great way to get rid of things you no longer want or need when moving. If you’ve read our articles on packing and planning, you know that we’re huge proponents of using your move as an opportunity to take inventory of what you own. The goal is to get rid of those things that, as the famous tidying-up author and Netflix star Marie Kondo would say, don’t “spark joy” in your life instead of just lugging them with you to your new home. But of course, you’ve got a lot on your plate when you’re prepping for a move. Using charities that offer donation pickup allows you to make a difference and save time — a win-win, in our book.

To help make your life even easier, we’ve compiled the list below of donation tips, and information about donating furniture, books and clothing. Start organizing, schedule a pickup date, and find out how easy it is to give new life to your unwanted items.

Donating do’s and don’ts


  • Clean and disinfect every item
  • Wash or dry clean clothes
  • Make sure the toys, puzzles, books, etc. aren’t damaged
  • Avoid donating children’s items that could be choking hazards
  • Test all equipment that requires electrical power or batteries


  • Donate any soiled, expired or broken items
  • Include anything that is considered hazardous, such as paint, cleaning supplies and makeup
  • Donate anything that has been banned, recalled, or is too old to meet the current safety standards (cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, etc.)
  • If you’re dropping off instead of scheduling a pickup, don’t leave your donation outside unattended. Instead, make sure someone from the donation place knows you’re here with your donation.

Donating do’s and don’ts

What you need to know about donating furniture

Downsizing? Want a home refresh? Many charities will happily take furniture off your hands, whether you’re upgrading your furniture, moving or spring-cleaning. The charities listed here all take smaller home furnishings like chairs, nightstands and coffee tables, but some charities won’t take heavy items like your bedroom set or a sectional. That’s why it’s a good idea to call and ask first.

Instead of calling each charity to see if they will accept your furniture donation, you can also use DonationTown to find a charity that suits your needs. Once you provide your zip code, the online database will show you a list of charities in your area that will pick up your donation. After you pick a charity, you can schedule a free pickup donation. And remember, your donation is tax-deductible. So hold on to that receipt.

If you’re unsure if your furniture is in good enough condition to be accepted for donation, you can always ask the charity directly. Many also list what items they will and won’t accept on their websites. Some examples include ripped or stained upholstered furniture, furniture with pet odors, and lighting that doesn’t work. The alternatives to donating furniture are selling it through an online marketplace, a garage sale, or a mobile app. You can also consign it or try recycling it.

What you need to know about donating books

Most charities will accept book donations, but it doesn’t mean they’ll take any book, in any condition. Donations to libraries generally come with more restrictions, but some charities also won’t take outdated, torn, highlighted or moldy books. Like with other types of donations, please ask first if you’re unsure about anything book donation-related.

Ideally, the books should be in good enough shape to hold up when you pick them up and recent enough so as not to contain very outdated information (this applies to nonfiction more than anything). Some charities won’t accept textbooks (too specialized and probably outdated), encyclopedias (they date quickly), and periodicals. Although the latter might attract some collectors, most should just be recycled.

Instead of donating to the charity, you can try to give your unwanted books to local hospitals or shelters, used bookstores for reselling, nursing homes, local literacy programs, prison libraries or those little free libraries in your community. You can also try setting up a book swap with your friends and family, or just get crafty and create art like a collage, using pages from the books you no longer want to keep.

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What you need to know about donating clothing

So many of us have more clothes, shoes and accessories than we need or want. Regardless of how you ended up with 37 pairs of jeans, occasional decluttering can be good for the soul and the space in your closet, and you can help someone in need at the same time. If you need to clean out your closet for the move, even better. Now is the perfect time to donate your clothes to a charity.

The charities we list in the article will happily take your clothes, shoes, jewelry, scarves, belts, hats, bags and other accessories off your hands. They will sort through your donation, pick out what they think will sell, and put it out on the racks in the store. Stained, torn, smelly or damaged, clothes probably won’t, so please be discernable and try to get rid of those yourself.

Your clothes can go to a charity that helps women in need find professional attire to join the workforce. Local shelters for the unhoused, domestic violence shelters or community outreach centers might also accept donations.

Quick tips for donation pickups

Donating items before a move is a fantastic way to lighten your load while benefiting your community at the same time. Before you just throw all of your unwanted items in a box and schedule a donation pickup or a drop-off, go through these tips to make sure that you’re donating items of value — and choosing the right charity for your stuff.

  • Know what’s worth donating. While it’s a bummer to have to toss or recycle an item that someone might be able to get some use out of, all of the organizations above note that items must be in good condition. This doesn’t mean that they have to be brand new, but they should be clean, usable, and free of serious defects unless otherwise noted.
  • For everything else, look for responsible disposal methods that might not be as convenient as a pickup, but that still keep items out of landfills. For example, textile recycling bins can take unwearable clothing, shoes and bedding and turn them into things like insulation and stuffing for car seats. And your local animal shelter will likely be glad to accept old linens and towels with a couple of stains or tears.
  • Do some research before choosing your charity. All of the charities above do good with your donations, but they have different ways of making an impact. Instead of just going with the first choice on the list, check out an organization’s website to ensure their values and methods meet the mark for you (and that they’re available in your area).
    Quick tips for donation pickups
  • Decide honestly: Keep it or toss it? How do you decide what to keep and what goes in the donation pile? Well, if you haven’t used it or worn it for a few years (it’s a year for some of us, two for others, and a very subjective and personal range beyond that), or if it doesn’t “spark joy,” it’s time for it to go. For clothing, shoes and accessories, consider if it fits, is your style, was a gift you’ll never wear, or you have 20 of that exact item. The same goes for other items: If it was a gift but isn’t your thing, or if you’re holding on to it for sentimental reasons, it’s time to say goodbye for someone else’s benefit.
  • Prep your items. The charity doing your pickup may have specific requests for your donation. Even if they don’t mention anything, you should still do some prep work on your own. This includes cleaning any clothing, furniture, or housewares you plan to donate and safely boxing and/or bagging items for transport. Just leave furniture uncovered so that they can inspect it.
  • Schedule your donation pickup in advance. You may be able to score a last-minute pickup, but don’t bank on it. Once you know the date of your move, start researching your options and schedule your pickup as early as possible. Give yourself some time between donation pickup day and moving day, especially if you’re donating furniture. Some organizations are more strict than others on what they’ll take, and you may need to find an alternate solution for large items you don’t want to take with you to your new home.

How to schedule your donation pickup

  1. Find a charity that offers free donation pickup and has a location near you.
  2. Contact the charity to make sure they still offer that service (some charities had halted their free donation pickup during the pandemic or due to the worker or funding shortage).
  3. Make sure the organization accepts the items you’re donating (many list what they do and don’t accept on their websites).
  4. Prepare your donation by going through the “do” steps listed in the “Donating do’s and don’ts” section.
  5. Schedule your pickup.
  6. Be home during the pickup appointment.

How to schedule your donation pickup

Dropping off your donation instead?

If you’re opting for a drop-off, find out what options are available. Sometimes you can drive up to the charity’s store for a quick hand-off. Other charities provide bins and boxes for contactless drop-off, and sometimes you have to go into an actual facility. Especially if you are doing a contactless drop-off, make sure to pair like items, label them, and don’t include anything you don’t think will sell, like any damaged items. You shouldn’t donate anything you can’t move or safely store in a storage facility of a moving container. That goes for any hazardous items, like explosives or flammables and corrosives. And, again, ask for a receipt. Even if you use a drive-through option, a staff member should be able to provide you with a receipt.

Doesn’t it feel good to do good? Donating through charities that pick up is an excellent way to get rid of stuff, especially big items that are difficult to move on your own. So next time you’re ready to edit down your belongings, don’t just toss them. Instead, schedule a charity pickup and give a new purpose to your unwanted items.

Done donating before your move? If so, it’s time to find the best moving company to handle your upcoming move. Check’s extensive network of reputable and reliable movers. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Good luck and happy moving!

Donating FAQs

  • How do I schedule a donation pickup?
    You can follow the steps in the “How to schedule your donation pickup” section.
  • What furniture donations are typically accepted?
    Not all organizations accept furniture, but many do. If they do, they will typically accept couches, chairs, tables, lamps, bed frames, mattresses, office furniture, dressers, bookcases, entertainment centers, and so on. Some would accept your piano, but it’s best to check.
  • What is not available for pickup?
    It varies with the organization, as some will only pick up smaller items one or two people can easily pick up and carry. Therefore some organizations won’t pick up large furniture or large appliances like a refrigerator or a washer/dryer. Some won’t accept TVs of any kind. Most charities say no to tires, building materials and unassembled items. And no donation organization will accept and pick up any hazardous materials, anything broken, damaged or that doesn’t meet the current safety standards. No firearms, food or beverages either.
  • What condition should my donation be in?
    Gently used but in a condition good enough for resale. If you have doubts about whether your donation is acceptable, just try to evaluate whether it’s sellable and whether you’d buy it.
  • Are my donations tax-deductible?
    Yes, they can be. Save your donation receipts and follow IRS’s rules on charitable contributions.
  • Who are my donations helping?
    It depends on the organization. If you want your donation to go toward a specific cause, check out an independent charity watchdog that lists the vetted and the best-rated charities by cause.
  • Where can I donate clothes besides Goodwill?
    Most charities will take clothes as long as the items are gently used and clean. Charities listed in this article all accept clothes donations. And here are some additional options for donating clothes.
How to Find Charities That Offer Free Donation Pick Up
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