A young woman puts clothes in a box

How to donate your items responsibly

It's time to declutter your home and there's a lot of stuff you’d like to get rid of. Before throwing things away, think about donating items that are in decent shape to community organizations that lend a helping hand to people in need.

Choosing the right items

When preparing your items for donation, make sure you’ve carefully inspected what you want to donate by following these advices:

  • Your articles should be in good shape, clean and in working order.
  • Contact community organizations and charitable donation sites to find out what they need and their criteria for accepting goods.
  • Sort your items carefully and label them to help the donation centre workers inventory what they receive.
  • If you’ve had infestations of things like bed bugs, clothing mites or cockroaches, make sure that everything you donate is free of any risk of further contamination.
  • Carefully wrap dishware to protect against chipping and breakage while in transport and wrap knives well to prevent someone being injured.
  • Make sure non-perishable food items have their original packaging and labelling to properly identify them.

Usually accepted donation items

Here’s a list of items that are generally sought or accepted by charities that take in goods:

    • Clothes, including shoes, coats and accessories
    • Books and educational materials
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Personal hygiene and care products in their original packaging
    • Items for pets
    • Textiles (sheets, curtains, towels, etc.)
    • Furniture
    • Kitchen items and appliances in working order
    • Tools
    • Baby items
    • Toys and games

Community organizations will sometimes only accept certain types of items, so you want to check on that before making your donation. The key is to check with the charity beforehand to make sure you donate the right things to the right group.

Where to drop stuff off

Here are some of the sorts of organizations that accept material goods:

  • Food banks
  • Shelters
  • Donation centres
  • Family centres
  • Animal rescue shelters
  • Youth centres and some schools

Some organizations even offer a pick-up service for donations.

Do you need additional help to find the right place for your donations?

Here are some tips for finding out where your donations will be most appreciated or useful:

  • Contact the Community and Social Resources office of your area. Their reference personnel will give you a complete list of relevant charities in the area around your postal code. Note that not all regions are served by this service.
  • Search for a list of organizations accepting donations on the internet.
  • Ask neighbours or people in your community. For example, reach out through community chats or groups. You’ll find that people are more than willing to offer a guiding hand.
  • Look for donation drop off points or boxes in your neighbourhood and try to keep track of collection drives that are often focused around holidays to help families in need.
  • Call shelters, organizations and emergency housing facilities in your area. They will be happy to guide you.
  • For things that donation centres won’t take, publish free listings online that help people barter, reuse and recycle goods to benefit the community. Make sure you take care and properly prepare your items for collection.

Not all articles are accepted by community groups. Consult your local recycling centre for a complete list of items that you can recycle in an ecological and responsible manner.