Have you been thinking about giving back to the community one way or another? Donating them to goodwill is a good way to do that as you’ll be helping people who need the things you want to do away with or are tired of using.
However, before packing that bag you’re donating to goodwill, you need to know what Goodwill does and does not accept. You’ll be surprised to find out that some items you consider simple and are probably looking to donate are not accepted by Goodwill.
Here’s a guide to help you through the entire donation process, beginning with acceptable item identification.
Does Goodwill Take Camping Gear?
Goodwill takes a wide variety of donated items, but just because you can donate it doesn’t mean you should.
Accepted camping gears by goodwill:
- Tents (must be free of any bedding and be weather-proof)
- Sleeping bags
- Blankets (must be clean and in usable condition)
- Flashlights with working batteries
- Camping tents, tables and chairs (must have all parts, no broken chairs)
- Running shoes (must be usable) and athletic clothing that is in good condition and very rarely worn. (Goodwill sells these in their retail stores.
Does Goodwill Take Camping Equipment?
Yes, they do!
If you’re a camper who’s considering giving away some of your items that are in good condition, either because you want to purchase new ones or you’ve grown tired of using them, you can donate them to goodwill.
However, there’s a caveat because goodwill doesn’t accept camping equipment that contains fuel, such as fuel canisters. If you’re donating camping tents, chairs, and tables, you also need to make sure that all their parts are complete and none is broken.
Here’s a list of camping equipment accepted by goodwill.
- Barely-worn, neat, athletic clothing
- Blankets; provided they are in good, clean condition
- Camping coolers
- Camping tents that are waterproof and bedding-free
- Flashlights and working batteries
- Running shoes that are in good, usable condition.
What Items Does Goodwill Accept?
Beyond camping equipment, there’s a wide range of items you can donate to goodwill, spanning from home appliances to clothes and books.
Here’s a list of items accepted by goodwill.
- Belts and Purses
- Boots and shoes
- Clothing and Linens in good condition and mildew-free
- Frames, Collectible Artwork and Antiques
- Home Electronics
- Small exercise equipment
- Wheeled toys and bicycles
- Small-sized furniture without obvious tears or stains (should be assembled)
- Media and books
- Audio/Visual Equipment
- Gardening tools and accessories
- Small power and hand tools
- Household décor
- Light Fixtures and Jewelry lamps, except Fluorescent
- Musical instruments except for organs and pianos
- Flat screen television
- Pet Supplies
- Sporting Equipment
Please note that some goodwill donation sites will turn down heavy and large items.
It doesn’t hurt to check the website of the goodwill donation site closest to you because there might be variations in the things they accept, especially in the area of weight.
What Items Does Goodwill Not Accept?
As expected, goodwill can’t accept everything you donate, and this happens for several reasons. Standard is a major consideration, and as such, poor-quality items will be turned down.
Safety, Ethical, and Legal concerns also play a role in goodwill’s decision to reject some items.
Here are some general items goodwill does not accept:
- Soiled, Damaged, or worn materials and items
- Auto parts and other items that have been used with fuel, oil, gasoline, or propane
- Food and beverages
- Light bulbs, fluorescents, batteries, and tires
- Built-in and large appliances such as baths, sinks, and toilets.
- All kinds of weapons, including bows, guns, swords, paintball guns, ammunitions, firearms, knives, etc.
- Liquids, including bleach, pesticides, paints, chemicals, and cleaners, as well as hazardous household waste.
- Mattress, bed pillows, hidden bed sofas, mattress toppers, futon mattress and frames, waterbed and frames.
- Car seats, cribs, playpens, baby toys, and safety gates.
- Microwaves, copiers, printers (especially large ones)
- Large exercise equipment such as treadmills
- Large musical instruments
- Documents and magazines.
How To Donate Items to Goodwill?
Now that you know what you can and cannot donate to goodwill, let’s talk about the processes you’ll need to undertake when you want to donate items to goodwill. Follow these steps for a simpler and more organized donation process.
1. Collect and Organize your Items
Go through the things you want to donate to goodwill and pick out those that are accepted by goodwill and place them in one spot. You can then categorize them and make different piles of similar items.
For instance, you can put clothes in one pile, books in the other, and electronics in a different pile.
Ensure that you keep the pairs together, such as pairs of shoes and socks. If you’re dealing with dishes that go in sets, ensure to group the sets so they don’t get lost during packaging or sorting.
2. Assess and inspect your donations
Carry out brief inspections of the items you have separated for donation and ensure that they are in good condition, have all complete parts, and are not damaged.
If you’re donating electrical appliances, confirm that they’re all working appropriately.
3. Make a donation list and worth evaluation
Many times, it is necessary to make a list of your donations. On one hand, it helps you to ensure that you’re donating everything you plan to, without leaving anything behind.
On the other hand, you need a list to evaluate the worth of your donations, especially if your donations are channeled towards writing off taxes.
4. Package your donations
It is important to state that you need to use reusable, green, or durable containers when packing your donations.
Ensure that the containers will be easy to carry around and transport. When you use reusable containers, you’re reducing waste and protecting the environment while making your donations.
If you’re donating fragile items, put them together and label all the containers appropriately. That way, the goodwill attendant will handle them carefully to avoid breakage.
5. Dropping off your Donations
The first step is to locate the goodwill donation center nearest to you. You can search for the nearest point on the internet or use the store location on the goodwill homepage.
Then, visit the donation location and get your items to the attendant. If you’re going by car, you can follow the directions and park at the loading center where you will find a donation assistant to help you handle your donations.
If you’re going by foot, go in through the front door and speak with the attendant at the counter to help you with your donation.
6. Request a receipt
If you live within the U.S.A, you can get tax deductions for charitable donations. If you want to save some tax money, you can ask the attendant for a receipt reflecting your item donations.
Ensure that the receipt perfectly reflects all that you donated without any item overlooked by mistake. If you made a list of your items earlier, you can easily compare the receipt you get and the list of items on the receipt you receive.
Hold onto the receipt and then file it in the section for charitable donations when the time comes to file taxes.
Additional Helpful Tips While Donating to Goodwill
- It helps to call ahead before visiting a donation site so that you can schedule a comfortable time. Some goodwill donation centers have pickup services and make them available when you’re making large donations. Leveraging such services can save you the stress of moving such items.
- Check your items before you donate them. For instance, ensure that you’re not leaving important files behind on your computer and you’re not forgetting any valuable item in the pockets of clothes you’re donating.
- If you have a busy schedule or want to have a stress-free delivery, it helps to make donations during weekdays and off-hours because many people make donations on weekends. However, ensure that you go within store hours to avoid having to return home with your items and going back at another time.
Are you ready to make that donation? Your items and equipment will make a change in the lives of many people, and you can make that change by donating to goodwill.
However, ensure that the items you’re donating are in good condition, and follow the goodwill guidelines on items that are accepted and those that are not.
Take advantage of an opportunity to help others and also reduce your taxes at the same time.