15 surprising places to donate your gently used stuff
There’s a do-good destination for almost everything in your donation pile
By Reiko Milley
Few things are as satisfying as a freshly purged closet—or as guilt inducing as the pile of stuff sitting next to it. Impulse-buy home decor, once-worn cocktail dresses, teetering stacks of books…. Where’s it all going to go? And how can you make sure it’ll go to someone who could really use it?
Luckily, there are plenty of local organizations beyond the usual big-name donation spots that would welcome your gently used items, including those suits from your old job and that barely-used Dutch oven from your Julie & Julia phase.
Here are a few under-the-radar places to check out in the GTA. (Our advice: Call ahead to bricks-and-mortar destinations, as storage space can be limited and most-needed items change regularly.)
Furniture Bank Toronto helps transitioning and at-risk individuals make their spaces feel like home. Drop off good-condition furnishings yourself, or call to arrange pick-up—in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and parts of York Region—for a nominal fee. (The service employs those with limited job opportunity.)
Hand over your retired laptop to this social enterprise, which provides job training and employment for people living with mental illness and diverts e-waste and supports the community by refurbishing gadgets for resale to students and job-hunters looking for affordable tech.
The City of Markham’s innovative—and charitable—bin rollout has kept millions of pounds of textiles out of landfills. Look out for their regulated receptacles, which have also helped curb the city’s “rogue” (read: for-profit) bin problem.
Give small appliances, dishes and clothing new life by popping them in a STEPS donation bin, which are located throughout the northern GTA. The collection program also provides work experience for individuals in treatment for addiction.
Like the women’s organization Dress for Success, downtown Toronto-based Dress Your Best helps men suit up for job interviews. Bring in blazers, belts and shoes that will ensure a stylish first impression.
15 Major retailers (really!)
Major brands including The North Face, Uniqlo and H&M will accept clothing for recycling or donation (either their own pieces or any pieces).