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.
Hour Children Thrift Shops — Long Island City, Queens
12-10 36th Avenue
Though this organization and its two thrift shops are located in Long Island City, donations can be picked up in Manhattan and beyond. The organization accepts gently used clothing for children and adults, as well as housewares, some children's items, and more. 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 with a workplace to earn money and life skills to begin the rebuilding process.
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The Good+ Foundation accepts children's gear and clothing, which it distributes to families across the city.
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 clean, gently used adult and children's clothing and household items. The organization will also take toys and games, provided all the pieces are intact. Proceeds from stores help to provide job training and other services for local community members in need.
NYC Mammas Give Back distributes donated items.
NYC Mammas Give Back – Upper East Side and Gramercy
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 new baby. The organization has two drop-off locations in Manhattan 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.).
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 NYC accepts baby gear, clothing, toys, and other essentials for kids up to that age. Donations can be dropped off at the Chelsea location (please call ahead!) or picked up by a messenger for a tax-deductible fee. Smaller items can also be donated through the mail. Check out their Book Drive, too.
The Bowery Mission – Lower East Side
227 Bowery near Prince Street
This spot accepts donations Monday to Saturday from 7am to 7pm and provides nearly 50,000 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. Hold on to your baby gear, though—they are not currently accepting baby items.
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 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.
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Donate clothing, gear, and diapers to Little Essentials.
Little Essentials – Tribeca
Formerly based in Brooklyn, this nonprofit has moved to Tribeca where it accepts donations of goods for local families in need year-round. Accepted items include diapers and wipes, car seats, strollers, baby carriers, and in-season clothes for children up to age 4. Donations may be dropped off at the warehouse during donation hours.
CHiPS provides nearly 350 meals a day and relies on donations.
CHiPS — Park Slope, Brooklyn
200 Fourth Avenue between Sackett and Degraw
CHiPS is a small facility with limited storage space. It accepts seasonal, gently used clothing for women, men, and infants (check the website for drop-off times) as well as new items for the soup kitchen and the women's shelter for homeless pregnant women and young mothers.
St. Mary's Church — Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
230 Classon Avenue between Myrtle and Willoughby
St. Mary's Episcopal Church accepts adults' and children's clothing, shoes, and bedroom and bathroom linens, but not diapers or gear. Donations support local families in need. The church picks up donations from select areas across the city and even Long Island. Visit the website and enter your zip code to schedule a pickup.
Zaenah's Blanket Foundation — South Bronx
790 Concourse Village West, Suite 17F
This Bronx-based nonprofit aims to reduce the infant mortality rate by distributing blankets, clothing, and other essentials to newborn babies born to families in need. The organization picks up donations of gently used clothing and other baby gear. Call 917-229-5986 or fill out the contact form to arrange a pickup.
Life Boutique Thrift — Park Slope, Brooklyn
515 5th Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets
This Brooklyn gem collects donations during their regular business hours (heads up! they are closed on Saturdays). Proceeds to go Chai Lifeline, a non-profit that offers support for families coping with pediatric illness, loss or trauma. Don't forget to leave a little time to shop their selection of vintage and second-hand goods—they've got two floors to explore.
Housing Works — Multiple Locations
See website for locations
Housing Works is a fantastic city-wide chain that accepts donations of all kinds. Check out their website for additional details, but keep in mind they don't like to accept children's clothing unless it still has tags on it. If you have a furniture donation, fill out a request for pickup on their website. All other donations can be dropped off at their store locations during regular business hours.
This article first published in December 2013 but is updated regularly. Louise Finnell contributed additional reporting.
Photos courtesy of the organizations