Love Living Local: Donate Your Stuff

After 30 years in the same house, my parents are moving.  Boxes and boxes of childhood mementos, tax papers, holiday decorations, clothes from several different decades, and my beanie baby collection.  And that’s just the attic.  Looking at all of it, the job seems a bit harrowing.  “One box at a time” has become the house mantra.  So now what? With all this stuff, a lot of it is still in good condition.  I don’t like feeding landfills so I investigated my options.

Photo credit: My Sister’s Closet

Everyone know to donate gently used clothing to Goodwill, which is a great organization.  I also like to switch it up and donate to other organizations to support their causes and help their clients.  The Salvation Army Thrift Shop is pretty popular.  A few lesser known choices are Wheeler Mission Ministries, New Leaf New Life, and Monroe County United Ministries Opportunity House, The Bloomington Thrift Shop of the Zeta Chapter of Psi Iota Xi.  I have donated nicer clothes to My Sister’s Closet which helps women dress for  job success. The Shalom Center doesn’t have much storage space, but if winter coats and clothes are essential for their clients.

Photo Credit: Hoosier 2 Hoosier

Getting rid of furniture can be a hassle.  However, many organizations offer to pick up used furniture (and reserve the right to turn something down if it is not clean). Check in with organizations to see if they offer pickup and to schedule. Habitat ReStore moved to the east side across from Pier One.  I recently found Help Build a Better Life Corp. that helps people with disabilities. Society of St. Vincent de Paul does do furniture pick up.  And the Salvation Army is a one stop shop to donate.  We are also in the donation period for Hoosier 2 Hoosier, a massive sale to keep used items out of landfills.

I have to accept that I do not have the space to create a Beauty and the Beast-inspired library. And why should I let all those books sit on the shelf and collect dust? Bloomington has two fantastic options.  I used to volunteer with Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project so I donate textbooks and nonfiction that is appropriate to the project. If that’s not your thing, the Hoosier Hills Community Book Fair is fantastic place to donate.  It’s the circle of life for books in my opinion.  Every year I buy way too many books.  Then every year I donate books I read back to the Fair.

Photo credit: Hoosier Hills Community Book Fair

And for those odd items, Bloomington still has options.  Neighboring Brown County Humane Society needs gently used dog houses.  Old cars can be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Bloomington Community Bike Project takes old bikes and bike parts.  Cell phones can be donated to Middle Way House.  The Bloomington Lions Club collects eyeglasses and hearing aids.

I also would like to mention New Hope Family Shelter.  NHFS will take donations dependent on their current residents.  Check their website to find out more about what they need.

And if all else fails, Bloomington is fortunate to have great recycling centers in 5 locations.  Each has a small space to donate items still in decent condition. The South Walnut location also takes hazardous waste.  Bulk recycling travels each week so check the website.

So happy donating! And anyone need four bags of stuffed animals?


3 thoughts on “Love Living Local: Donate Your Stuff

  1. Thanks for sharing our story about cleaning out 30 years of life-stuff from the attic, basement, and other nooks and crannies of this wonderful old house. Maybe it will help other families find places for gently used items long before 30 years go by and it becomes a gigantic project!! Share what you don’t use instead of stuffing it somewhere just because there is empty space!! So glad Bloomington has so many options for recycling and reusing still good items….take advantage and help your community by doing so! Happy Recycling……from Brigitt ‘s Mom and biggest fan!


  2. Thank you for this wonderful piece on reuse and the many locations in Bloomington to recycle items. We are fortunate to have so many places that will accept and reuse items. It just takes a little effort to get the items back in circulation and most importantly, divert from the landfill (60 miles away in Terre Haute, IN!)
    As a supporter of the Hoosier To Hoosier Community Sale, one of the H2H goals was to share where to donate and recycle items throughout the year, and your article does just that, its a resource treasure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s