Ready to get organized and rid your home of the clutter? Whether you’re cleaning out your closet or bookshelf or updating your furniture, don’t just toss those items — donate them and make a difference to one of the many local organizations in need. Here’s our guide to where to donate throughout the North Shore and Chicago.
Clothing & Accessories
Best of 2016 winner North Shore Exchange, which is made possible by the Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe, supports charities that provide human services and education to low-income families in the Midwest. Appointments are not required for donations. Visit their website to view an accepted list of designers. 372 Hazel Ave., Glencoe
Encore & More is the National Council of Jewish Women’s major fundraiser; they are in need of donations of high-end clothing and jewelry. Donations are accepted Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1107 Central Ave., Wilmette
With all proceeds benefiting Shore Community Services to improve the quality of life for those with developmental disabilities, Second Time Around accepts gently used clothing, shoes, accessories and more. Call the store before visiting to ensure they are accepting donations that day. 4123 Oakton Ave., Skokie
Cleaning out the kids’ closets? ESCCA provides school clothing and shoes to Evanston/Skokie District 65 K-8th grade school children. They accept clean and gently used children’s clothing and coats. Donations are accepted all year. 1500 McDaniel Ave., Evanston
OneSight, which was founded in 1988, provides vision care to more than 8.7 million people in 41 countries. With school-based vision centers, charitable vision clinics and community vision centers, OneSight helps communities in need all over the world. Eyewear donations can be dropped off at LensCrafters, Sears Optical or Pearle Vision stores. Various locations in the city and suburbs
Winnetka Community House’s annual Spring Rummage Sale donates all net proceeds to more than 40 humanitarian agencies in the Chicagoland area. Donate new or gently used kids and adult clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry and more. The Fall Rummage Sale will be Oct. 15. 630 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka
Gently used suits and professional apparel donations allow Dress for Success to provide interview outfits for women, supporting them in their efforts to achieve their career goals. The program also offers guidance and support for women who have an upcoming interview. Donations must be clean and ironed, and no more than five years old. 515 N. State St. #3240, Chicago
For 27 years, the coat drive has provided coats to those in need during the cold winter months. Coats can be donated at all Jewel-Osco locations in the Chicagoland area beginning in October. Various Jewel-Osco locations
Drop off clothes, shoes and accessories, as well as small furniture, home decor, house wares and books, at the JLE-NS Thrift House Monday through Saturday. Find more information and hours here. 920 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Donate clothes and household merchandise (furniture is not accepted) during The Resale Shop’s open hours: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Resale Shop is closed during the summer. 1000 Elm St., Glenview
Donate used cell phones, iPods, digital cameras and PDAs by printing the shipping label from the website and sending donations to RFC. RFC makes a donation to the charity of your choice for each item you part with.
Fill out a form on the website specifying what you would like to donate, and Zealous Good will reach out to charities that are interested in your item. You will then receive an email where you can choose a charity and drop off your donations. 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Donate your used cell phone or tablet to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit supported by AT&T that provides troops and veterans with communication services. Gently used items from all wireless carriers and brands are accepted. Device donation and shipping costs are tax-deductible. Print a shipping label from the organization’s website.
Secure the Call collects cell phones, turns them into 911 emergency access phones and donates them to senior citizen centers, domestic violence shelters and police and sheriff departments. Visit the website for various drop-off locations in the Chicagoland area. Various drop-off locations
Similar to Secure the Call, Verizon provides cell phones for domestic violence victims. Used phones, batteries and accessories are accepted. Drop off your phone at any Verizon Wireless store. Various locations
Donate at your local public library! Call ahead to see if there are any books they don’t accept (like textbooks).
Donate gently used books to Books4Cause, an organization that, through used book donations, has created 20 libraries in Africa, and keeps books out of landfills. All K-12 books given to the organization are donated, and 13 percent of other book donations are sold while the rest are given away or recycled. Drop them off at their Chicago location in Skokie, or donate $25 to the African Library Project to qualify for a full-service book pickup. 3415 Madison St., Skokie
Bernie’s Book Bank collects new and gently used children’s books to distribute to at-risk homes throughout the Chicagoland area. Each child the organization serves receives at least 12 books a year. There are drop-off locations throughout the North Shore. Various drop-off locations
This volunteer organization distributes paperback books to women’s prisons nationwide to encourage education and self-empowerment. Visit the website for specific books BWP is looking for. You can either drop books off at the Chicago location or send them via USPS. 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago
Open Books collects used books to sell in their Pilsen and West Loop stores and online. The money collected helps fund book granting programs for thousands of students around Chicago each year. The organization accepts “any sellable book in good condition,” as well as LPs, CDs and DVDs. There are various drop-off locations in Chicago, including one in Northbrook. To inquire about a free pickup, fill out the form on the Open Books website. Various drop-off locations
Providing low-income and homeless children with clothes, books, school supplies and more, Cradles to Crayons helps serve nearly 200,000 children living in poverty in Chicago. Visit their website for a list of drop-off locations throughout the North Shore. Various drop-off locations
Both provide pickup service and provide you with a tax receipt. Visit each organization’s website or call to schedule a pickup time. Various locations
All proceeds from this Northbrook nonprofit support 17 local agencies serving women and families in crisis. Small furniture items can be dropped off during business hours, and larger items must be previewed before donating. Village Treasure House pays for transportation of the donated furniture. Visit their website for merchandise guidelines. 1460 Paddock Drive, Northbrook
Brown Elephant supports Howard Brown Health using money earned from the resale of donated items. Bring in any upholstered furniture, tables, dressers, bookcases, etc. Visit their website for a full list of accepted items, as well as a pickup request form. Note: pickup service has a suggested donation of $10. 4025 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago
All proceeds from the ReStore go to Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that works to provide families with affordable, safe housing and has built 90 homes in Chicago neighborhoods. Visit their website for a list of acceptable items. To donate, fill out the form on the website or send pictures of the items to email@example.com. 6040 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago
World Relief Chicago provides cleaning supplies, linens, toiletries, kitchen items, furniture and more to immigrants and refugees who have fled their countries due to war and displacement. Visit their website to inquire about a drop-off or pickup. 3507 W. Lawrence, Chicago
By providing opportunities and goods, RefugeeOne helps refugees fleeing war and persecution from all parts of the world. The organization is currently accepting backpacks and school supplies, but donation needs vary by month. View the calendar of donations here. Contact Amy Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. 4753 N. Broadway St. #401, Chicago
With proceeds benefiting Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah Resale Shop accepts clothing and furniture. Call the store to arrange a furniture pick up time, with no additional charge. 405 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield
Do you have a favorite place to bring your donations that you don’t see above? Tell us about it in the comments below and we’ll add it to our list!
More from Make It Better: