A Fresh Start for Our Homes and Our Hearts… donating and disposing of things you clear out

Just like we knew it would happen, the holiday season is coming to an end and 2023 is ready to begin! This past week our home was flooded with new puzzles, books, clothes, and toys, and was an absolute mess after having our two toddlers home from day care for the week. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do appreciate the opportunity the calendar change brings to reflect, set intentions, and start anew.

Source: sheknows.com

This year, preparing for the new year with my family started with a post-holiday cleanout. We needed space for our fun, new gifts, and there were plenty of items we had outgrown or weren’t serving us anymore. Before I knew it, there were bags and bags of things we didn’t need, and I was stuck wondering what to do next! How do I dispose of clothes and textiles that aren’t nice enough to donate? What do I do with pillows and stuffed animals that aren’t accepted at donation centers? How should I handle sentimental items that sit in a box in storage but feel hard to give or throw away? Whether it’s a new year cleanup, spring cleaning, or readying for a move, here are a few solutions for responsibly ridding of belongings you no longer need.

Donation Pick-up and Drop-off

There are a handful of non-profit organizations that will pick-up household items, large furniture, appliances and more, and reuse the items to service communities in need. They also have drop-off locations that accept donations at no cost.

Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone everywhere should have a healthy, affordable place to call home. Donations made to ReStore support Habitat’s mission and are tax deductible. You can schedule a pickup at no charge or arrange a priority pickup for a fee.

Bridging is a non-profit serving the Twin Cities that provides donated furniture and household goods to families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty, with the goal of housing stability. They offer a scheduled, fee-based, pickup service for $125 per visit.

Society of Saint Vincent DePaul was founded to relieve poverty in Minnesota while also addressing the situations that cause it. They offer no fee pickup with a tax-deductible donation with the requirement of at least two large pieces of furniture being given.

The Salvation Army works to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. They offer free, scheduled pickup of donations.

Arc’s Value Village is driven to ensure opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to achieve full and satisfying lives. Visit their website to find a donation location near you.

DAV of Minnesota is a membership organization made up exclusively of Minnesota men and women disabled in our nation’s defense. Their mission is to fulfill our promises to the men and women who served. They empower veterans to live high quality lives of respect and dignity. They have donation centers throughout the state of Minnesota that accept clothing and household items.

Epilepsy Foundation  offers services for people with epilepsy and seizures across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Our programs educate, connect, and empower individuals and families throughout their epilepsy journey. Drop-off bins are available throughout the state and accept clothing and small household items.

Community Share

Another great way to serve folks right in your neighborhood is to join your community’s Buy Nothing or NextDoor groups.

Buy Nothing Project exists to build community. Everything shared on Buy Nothing is given freely, neighbor to neighbor, no strings attached, and for free. They offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people. They believe that communities are more resilient, sustainable, equitable, and joyful when they have functional gift economies.

Source: Whatcom County

Nextdoor allows folks to connect to their neighborhood and find belonging. By bringing neighbors and organizations together, Nextdoor believes we can cultivate a kind world where everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on. It is a wonderful platform to offer-up items that no longer serve you but could be a gift to those in your community.


Terracycle is working to achieve their mission of Eliminating the Idea of Waste®. They have an abundance of free and fee-based recycling solutions. My favorite program so far is the Carter’s kid’s clothing recycling program! You can even earn rewards points at Carter’s by recycling your children’s clothing that is unsuitable for donation. What a deal!

Ridwell is an at-home, fee-based recycling program. They collect hard to recycle items, in a stylish bin they provide, that is intended to sit next to your front door. Every two weeks they come to your home and collect the items you’ve put in the bin on your porch. They collect textiles, lightbulbs, batteries, plastic films and more, and partner with local and domestic reuse and recycling partners so you know your stuff is going to the right place and staying out of the landfill.

Source: Huff Post

Linens and Stuffed Animals

Oftentimes used bed pillows, blankets, linens, and stuffed animals aren’t accepted at donation and recycling centers. It can be helpful to reach out to local women’s, animal, or homeless shelter to donate clean linens in useable condition. Arrow’s Heart Animal Rescue in Zimmerman is often in need of these items and accepts used donations.

Source: New Zealand Management Newsletter

When preparing to donate, gift or recycle items, be sure everything is clean and in working condition. It is helpful to check websites for lists of acceptable items and other conditions for a successful donation. Taking the time and effort to re-home your belongings keeps good, reusable items out of landfills, and helps neighbors who need support. What a win—doing good for our fellow humans, protecting the environment, and creating a less cluttered and more peaceful home environment!


Guest Blogger: Katya Larsen, Stager, A Home Revival


Written By

Kelly Zabel is an award-winning stager, recognized nationally by the Real Estate Staging Association in 2023, 2021 and 2020. Whether new construction, remodeled, or in its original beauty, Kelly knows how difficult it is for potential buyers to imagine a home when viewing a vacant property. She loves taking an empty room, filling it with personality and comfort, and showcasing how homeowners could actually live in that space. Her natural eye for layout and design helps highlight the potential of any space.

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