With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.
We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough accepting children's items.
Abby House – Harlem
131 Odell Clark Place
Founded in 1992, Abby House is part of the Abyssinian Development Corporation's community outreach programming and provides shelter to 25 homeless families at a time. In-kind donations of gently used clothing, baby furniture, books, school supplies, and even computers are accepted. Simply fill out an online donation form and a staff member will contact you to make arrangements for drop off.
Hour Children Thrift Shops – Long Island City, Queens
12-10 36th Avenue
Though the physical location of this thrift shop is in Long Island City, it picks up donations in Manhattan and beyond. Gently-used clothing for children and adults, as well as housewares, children's items, and more, are sold in this organization's pair of thrift shops. Sales help support Hour Children's mission of aiding incarcerated women and their children in maintaining strong bonds throughout prison stays and as they re-enter society. Services aim to help break the cycle of incarceration and poverty. The thrift shops also provide recently-released mothers a workplace to earn money and life skills to begin the rebuilding process.
Housing Works – Citywide
Visit the website for locations.
The organization accepts donations at all of its thrift store locations throughout the city. Unfortunately cribs, used toys, strollers, and car seats aren't eligible but lots of other items are. If you've got a surplus of books or DVDs, the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe will be happy to take them off your hands. Proceeds from all stores benefit people living with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS.
RELATED: Thanksgiving Volunteer Options for NYC Kids and Families
The Good+ Foundation accepts children's gear and clothing, which it distributes to families across the city. Photo courtesy of Good+ Foundation.
Good+ Foundation – Midtown West
306 West 37th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, eighth floor
This charity, formerly known as Baby Buggy, works with community-based organizations to get kids' clothing and essentials to NYC families in need. The Good+ Foundation accepts new- and gently-used gear and clothes for babies and children up to age 14, including strollers, baby monitors, and baby swings. All items must have been purchased less than three years ago. You can drop off items at the midtown office Monday through Friday or request a pick up for a small, tax-deductible fee.
Goodwill – Citywide
Visit the website to find a donation center near you.
Goodwill accepts adult and children's clothes, but asks that they be dry-cleaned prior to drop off. The organization will also take toys and games, provided all the pieces are intact.
NYC Mammas Give Back – Upper East Side
Visit the website for drop off locations.
This organization began when one mother reached out to a homeless mother-to-be and mobilized her network to set the needy mother up with the gear and support she needed for her unborn baby. The organization has a pair of drop-off locations on the Upper East Side and accepts new and gently-used gear and clothing, including high chairs and bouncy seats, which it in turn passes along to a variety of shelters serving women and children citywide. Note: While still accepting clothing and gear donations, NYC Mammas Give Back also greatly appreciates financial donations to purchase items that can only be donated brand new and unopened (diapers, wipes, nursing supplies, etc.). Also be on the lookout, via social media, for upcoming holiday toy drives in November and December.
Room to Grow – Chelsea
7 West 30th Street, Third Floor
This unique organization provides essentials for babies born to families living in poverty, and continues to monitor their progress every three months until the child turns 3. Room to Grow accepts baby gear, clothing, toys, and other essentials for kids up to that age. Donations can be dropped off at its Chelsea location or picked up by a messenger for a tax-deductible fee. Smaller items can also be donated through the mail. Please note: The organization has moved from its long-time location to a new spot on 30th Street.
St. Luke’s Thrift Shop – Greenwich Village
487 Hudson Street near Christopher Street, lower level
Profits from this store help fund the church's good works, like helping the homeless with clothing, job interview attire, and other essentials. Every day, the shop welcomes drop-offs of usable and resalable items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, and housewares. A free pick-up service is offered for small furniture.
St. Francis Thrift Shop – Upper West Side
268 West 96th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam
One of my personal favorites (despite its lack of organization). The store accepts children's clothes, toys, kids' books, and more. The prices are low, meaning residents in need (and local bargain shoppers) are guaranteed a great deal. Tax-deductible receipts are available, but you need to ask for them.
The Bowery Mission – Lower East Side
227 Bowery near Prince Street
This spot accepts donations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides more than 48,600 articles of clothing to men, women, and children every year. The Mission takes gently used clothing of all types, with coats, gloves, hats, and scarves in high demand right now. Bath towels, face cloths, twin-size sheets and blankets, standard-size pillows and pillowcases, and sleeping bags are also accepted.
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores – Citywide
Visit the website for locations.
The Salvation Army thrift stores support citywide Adult Rehabilitation Centers, and accept everything from children's and adult clothing to major appliances and furniture. The organization offers a value guide for tax-deduction purposes and will come pick up large items. You can even schedule a pickup online.
The Thrifty HoG – Flatiron
11 West 25th Street
This shop is operated by charitable organization Hearts of Gold, whose mission is to help homeless mothers get back on their feet and transition into permanent housing. The store helps in two ways: First, it provides these mothers with on-the-job training as they staff the "designer thrift shop." Second, all revenue goes to fund Hearts of Gold's missions. The shop takes new- and gently-used clothing for men, women, and children, as well as toys and games, and small home furnishings. Donations can be dropped off at the store on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
Prefer making a little dough to donating? Check out our list of kids' consignment shops in NYC.
This article first published in December 2013 but has since been updated.
Top photo courtesy of NYC Mamas Give Back.