Whether you’ve cleaned out just a couple of closets or gone full Marie Kondo with your efforts to declutter, what you’re left with is a pile of stuff you need to get out of your home. When it comes to that next step, putting things in the trash should be your last resort. It took time to accumulate all that stuff, so take a little time to redistribute it responsibly.
First, think about people you know who might be able to use what you no longer can. A neighbor with young children might appreciate some of the toys your kids have outgrown, or maybe your nephew could use that spare set of dishes for his new apartment.
Next, take a wider view. Is there anything in your castoffs that your community’s schools, churches, libraries or shelters could use? Our local libraries collect books for their sales. Teachers need classroom supplies. Churches always have programs that reach out to the less fortunate, and some adopt needy families who could use your old furniture, household goods or clothes. Animal rescue groups almost always need blankets and towels.
If you’re anxious to clear out quickly, there are lots of groups that take donations that include clothing, household goods, toys, furniture and more. Always check each organization’s website for lists of accepted and not accepted items, because it varies from group to group. Make sure clothes are clean and in good condition and appliances and electronics work.
- The Salvation Army. You can drop off your donations at nearby locations in Ashburn, Rockville or Alexandria or arrange a free pickup, especially if you have a large donation or big pieces of furniture. Go to org for more information.
- Goodwill. There are 17 Goodwill locations in the greater DC area. You can drop off items or arrange for a free pickup, but Goodwill also gives you the option to pack and ship your donations to them for free by printing a label from their website at org/donation.
- National Children Center. This organization provides opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Locations in Rockville and Manassas accept donations, or you can schedule a pickup at org.
- GreenDrop. If you want your items to go toward supporting the National Federation of the Blind, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the American Red Cross or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, then go to com to arrange a pickup. GreenDrop does operate some drop-off centers, with the closest ones in Alexandria and College Park.
If you want to try to sell some of your items, local consignment shops, eBay, Craigslist and Nextdoor all provide options for doing that, or if you’re willing to store the items until spring, you could hold a garage sale.
For items that can’t be donated, such as older televisions, broken appliances, paint and building materials, you can take them to the Fairfax County Transfer Station. Depending on what you have, you may need to pay a small fee, but you’ll be directed to specific areas at the site to drop off your items, where they will be recycled or disposed of responsibly. The transfer station is located at 4618 West Ox Road in Fairfax. Click here to learn more.