When decluttering your house it is normally a great idea to donate those unwanted items to your local thrift shop instead of sending them to a landfill. However, there are certain items that cannot be accepted by shops. One easy question to ask yourself is “If I needed this item would I be okay with buying it second hand?” If the answer is no then it is time to consider what might be usable by the right charity or non-profit. If neither of the above are an option then it is sadly doomed for the trash. The list below will help walk you through these questions and help you determine how to best get rid of those unwanted items.

Mattress

The typical lifespan of a mattress is anywhere from 6 to 10 years. Even if your mattress is much younger than that, used mattresses are not accepted at most thrift shops due to fears of bedbug infestations and other health concerns. Also, it is quite expensive to recycle the parts of the mattress leaving a void in the market for this kind of service. If you are determined to keep your old mattress from the landfill byebyemattress.com can help you find a recycling facility near you.

Baby Items

According to safekids.org, just over 200 infant items were recalled in 2019. It is this kind of safety risk that makes baby items so difficult to donate. Often the person donating it is not aware of the recall. If you do have gently used baby items it is best to do a quick recall check yourself and then give it away to a friend or family member who is expecting. This way it goes to a trusted individual from a trusted individual with no risk to the child receiving the gift.

Auto Parts

While thrift shops are not interested in your old car parts, you may be able to find a junkyard in your area that can take them off your hands. If they are still in working condition of course. Like many of the other items, safety concerns are what make old car parts hard to resell. Also, many are bulky and heavy. For those parts that are no longer working, you may be able to hire a local company to take it to the nearest scrap yard for little to no charge and they will recycle it.

Construction Materials

Think of anything you would buy to build a house, lumber, pipes, cabinets, carpet, doors, etc. These sort of items are not easy to re-sell and take up a lot of space. Luckily, there is one non-profit that might be interested in these items if they are new or gently used. That would be Habitat for Humanity. All you need to do is contact you local Habitat ReStore and determine the best way to donate your items.

Underwear or Excessively Worn Clothing

If you are ridding your closet of items because you never actually wore them, then of course drop them off at your thrift shop and hopefully they will find a new home to love them. On the other hand, if you have decided it needs to go because it has been loved too much then it is probably better suited for the garbage. It can be heartbreaking but nobody wants your cheer camp hoodie with stains from who knows what and that burn whole from last years camp out. Additionally, used underwear or socks are not something worth saving.

Weapons

Twenty-eight states have no laws restricting the sale of weapons from one private party to the next according to findlaw.com. However, every state has their own set of requirements when it comes to official stores selling firearms, explosives, ammunition, etc. It is these laws that make it so donating a weapon is not only frowned upon but possibly illegal depending on where you live. If you are uncomfortable with selling the gun and want to make sure it does not end up in the wrong hands, contact your local police department for information on how to get rid of unwanted weapons.

Hazardous Materials

Large batteries or small rechargeable batteries are unsafe to throw away. Other items include old paint, oil, and other poisonous liquids. Never pour these down a drain or on the ground outside. Instead try calling your local solid waste district, hardware store, or auto parts store for information on proper disposal.

Watercraft

Since there is no easy way to determine if a watercraft, such as a canoe, kayak, paddle-board, etc, is still sea or lake worthy you will have to find a new home for these on your own. Using an online “yard sale” page is one way to sell directly to someone who is able to test it out first. Another option is finding a local kids camp or charity that accepts these kind of donation for their own use. The American Canoe Association is great for ones without engines. Heroes on the Water is an option for bigger boats whether they are running or not.

Food

Anything perishable including fruits and vegetables may be used as compost material. For those non perishable items that are not past expiration but you know you won’t eat can be donated to Move for Hunger’s. They have partners in all 50 states that can help make sure that good food doesn’t go to waste. Anything past expiration or already opened will need to be thrown in the garbage.

Personal Care Items

Most make-up, lotions, shampoos, and other similar items are not something anyone wants if they have been opened and heavily used. Even though thrift shops will not accept these items under any circumstances, there may be some non-profits in your area that are in need of gently used or still sealed products. Check with your local women’s shelter, homeless shelter, and other relocation programs to see what items they will take. You just may be able to contribute to the healing of someone’s soul with your unwanted personal care items. For more donation “do not’s”, contact Community Family Thrift today.