At least twice a year, I try to do a serious “stuff” audit in our house. I take a good hard look around our place and ask myself: What stuff are we using (really using…ie has this object been touched in the last month/season)? And more importantly, what stuff are we no longer using? What clothes have we outgrown? What toys don’t get played with anymore? What books have we stopped opening? The final question that I ask myself is always, could someone else benefit from this object more than we currently are? Luckily, for those of us living in the Washington DC area, there are tons of fantastic thrift stores and donation centers that will gladly accept many gently used items.
When it comes to your home, less is more. When you declutter, you open up the space in your home so you can enjoy it more. It takes less time to clean and leaves you more time for fun.
3 Quick Decluttering Tips:
- Break down the decluttering process. One way to keep from feeling overwhelmed? Go through your home one room at a time. One room always feels more manageable than taking on the whole house.
- Keep it organized. Set aside one empty box for kids, one empty box for adult clothing, and one empty box for general donation. Every time you spot an object that is no longer used, place it in the corresponding box.
- Think seasonally. Shops usually accept clothes seasonally. Place two empty boxes in your kids’ closest and designate one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter. Sort outgrown clothes accordingly.
Thrift Stores and Donation Centers
A Wider Circle
9159 Brookville Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910
A Wider Circle seeks to end poverty in our local communities by providing basic need items and workforce development programs to “individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse, or otherwise living without the essentials of life.” A Wider Circle is looking for household goods and furniture, kitchen items, cleaning products, linens, and infant accessories (click HERE for complete list). Their biggest need are mattresses. Also, this is a great place to volunteer with kids!
4671 Tanglewood Drive, Bladensburg, MD 20710
Renovating a home and don’t know what to do with old sinks, doors, tubs, door knobs, cabinets, etc.? Community Forklift accepts and sells items that may otherwise end up in a landfill. It is a really unique space with loads of quality items looking for a new home. They are truly a community resource helping to reuse items and go green with resale!
2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20020
This thrift store has people in need in mind. When you donate to a place like this, know it is directly positively impacting someone (at no cost to the person in need!). They have various drop-off locations and times so be sure to check it out before driving over. They are more than an opportunity shop since they offer various support with food, education, and community support.
Friends of the Library Bookstore
4886 Boiling Brook Pkwy, Rockville, MD 20852
8901 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910
Friends of the Library Bookstores accept new and gently used books in all languages and for all ages. They will also accept magazines, cds, movies, video games, comics, and board games (click HERE for complete list). All sales help to “fund many different initiatives for [Montgomery County Public Library], including new technology, community programs, staff development, and materials and equipment for library branches.”
Goodwill of Greater Washington
Goodwill “transforms lives and communities through the power of education and employment.” Items that are resold through Goodwill thrift stores provide revenues that “help fund our employment, free job training and placement services for people with disabilities and disadvantages.” They accept gently used clothing, furniture, housewares, and working electronics (click HERE for complete list).
Greater DC Diaper Bank
multiple drop-off locations throughout the Metro area
The Greater DC Diaper Bank works to “[provide] a reliable and adequate source of basic baby needs and personal hygiene products” to individuals in DC, MD, and VA. They accept disposable diapers (open packs are fine, but they ask that you please label the outside of the pack with the size and number of diapers), as well as other new and unexpired items such as formula and wipes. They will also accept gently used potty training seats, baby bathtubs, soft sided front carry baby carriers (click HERE for complete list).
In-home donation pick up
SAMU Foundation is an accredited NGO incorporated in Washington DC that specializes “in medical first response and reconstruction when severe international emergencies occur.” SAMU can accept gently used clothes, shoes, and household goods (click HERE for complete list).
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army retailer offers excellent deals on items and will even pick up donations if they are local. Be sure to check out their locations. Nearly all of the proceeds go to families in need!
The National Center for Children and Families
6301 Greentree Rd. (back of building 3) Bethesda, MD 20817
According to their website, “it is the mission of the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) to create total, healthy living environments for vulnerable children, youth and families, and the quality of life which empowers their ability to thrive and demonstrate responsibility.” In addition to clothing, furniture, and electronics, NCCF is always looking for blankets, towels, comforters, dishes, silverware, and glassware (click HERE for complete list).
Unique Thrift Store
2956 Gallows Rd. Falls Church, VA 22042
Unique Thrift Store accepts gently used clothing and household items (click HERE for complete list). Donations to this location benefit Special Olympics Virginia.
10730 Connecticut Ave. Kensington, MD 20895
Urban Thrift sells nearly-new and gently-used clothing, jewelry, linens, home furnishings, accessories, electronics, DVDs and more (click HERE for complete list). All income from Urban Thrift goes towards The Arc Montgomery County’s programs, which support families affected by disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. Donations are only accepted Thursday through Sunday during regular business hours.
2277 University Blvd E, Chillum, MD 20782
6611 Annapolis Rd, Landover Hills, MD 20784
10121 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903
Value Village is a vast thrift store with lots of options and they accept lots of items. They have a constant flow of items in and out of the store so there are always fresh finds.
Georgia Avenue Thrift Store
6101 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011
This bustling thrift store is busy with people and items in and out each day. They have incredible deals and the store is very well organized.
St. Albans Opportunity Shop
3001 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Since 1955 St. Albans’ Opportunity Shop has offered clothing and items to those in need. The proceeds from the shop go directly to support families that need assistance.
Christ Child Opportunity Shop
1427 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
This 40+ year old volunteer run shop sells “antiques, fine jewelry, sterling silver, crystal, decorative accessories and collectibles” to benefit children in need through Christ Child Society. They have thousands of antiques and collectibles at discounted prices and it all goes to a good cause.
Habitat for Humanity
12006 Plum Orchard Dr, Silver Spring, MD 20904
4311 Walney Road, Chantilly, VA 20151
Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure at this store. Shop and donate a gamut of items that may otherwise end up in a landfill.
Also, be sure to sign up for your local Freecyle Group or Buy Nothing Group as other alternatives to donate items. And remember H&M recycles clothing that unable to be donated because they are so damaged.