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 that accept children's items.
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.
Housing Works — Citywide
Visit the website for locations.
Housing Works accepts donations at all of its thrift store locations throughout the city. Note that cribs, used toys, strollers, and car seats aren't accepted 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.
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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 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.
Dumbo Moving and Storage facilitates the distribution of donated items. Photo courtesy of NYC Mamas Give Back via Facebook
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 or picked up by a messenger for a tax-deductible fee. Smaller items can also be donated through the mail. Room to Grow's holiday toy drive is now in its fifth year.
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 providing 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 Monday to Saturday from 7am to 7pm and provides more than 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.
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.
Abby House – Harlem
139-43 West 138th Street
Founded in 1992, Abby House is part of the Abyssinian Development Corporation's community outreach programming and provides shelter to homeless families. Donations of gently used clothing and toys may be dropped at the shelter's front desk.
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Donate clothing, gear, and diapers to Little Essentials. Photo courtesy the nonprofit
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. Photo courtesy of CHiPS via Facebook
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.
This article first published in December 2013 but has since been updated.
Top photo courtesy of NYC Mamas Give Back