The most received question we receive via email is, “Can you accept this?” Sometimes it’s easier to answer the question by stating what we do NOT accept. Here is our list of items we are NOT able to accept. If an item is not on this list, then it’s most likely OK to donate!
- Clothing, shoes, coats, etc.: We cannot accept these items because we do not have the space or staff capacity to sort and organize clothing. In the future, we hope to be able to move to a larger space where we will be able to accept this items.
- Used Tupperware: We receive more used tupperware than probably any other item. The issue with used tupperware is that it often has an odd smell, is sticky, or smells like whatever was stored in it. Please only give brand new tupperware.
- Used water bottles/plastic cups: We are not able to accept used water bottles or used plastic cups, simply because it is very hard to properly clean and sanitize these items in between owners. Too often than not, we receive water bottles that smell mildewy or have bite marks on the mouthpieces. If it’s plastic, please only donate it new!
- Pots and pans with a lot of scratches: This is probably the most thrown away item at our donation center! If a pot or pan has scratches (particularly teflon/non stick coated pans), we cannot give these items to family. When Teflon/non stick coatings get scratched, they start flaking and that ends up in food. These flakes can cause all sorts of bad things to happen in the body, and as such, we cannot give these away to families. We know it’s hard to throw away pots and pans when you’re cleaning your home, but if it’s teflon/non stick coated, and it’s scratched, please do not donate it.
- Items that are old: this is tough to define. Some older dressers are absolutely ok to donate. Some solid furniture pieces that are older are wonderful and families love them. The issue is with older kitchen appliances, decorations, knick knacks, etc. If something was made before the 2000s (it’s hard to believe that it’s been 21 years since Y2K!) it’s probably too old to donate. The only exception would be items that were made exceptionally well (solid metals, woods) and are timeless.
- Old and outdated decorations: If you’re getting rid of holiday decorations because they are old and outdated, our donation center is not the place to take them! Please only donate nice decorations that are either timeless or are newer.
- Very specific kitchen items: Donut makers, spaghetti noodle makers, ice cream makers…. basically any novel kitchen item that you received as a gift and only used once (or never used!). The majority of our families eat diets consisting primarily of rice, meat, vegetables and fruit. This means no baking cookies, no making fancy spaghetti noodles and no donuts!
- Bed frames: We used to accept bed frames, but we are no longer accepting them. Many families are not taking them and we currently have an abundance at our donation center!
- Cribs that have to be assembled: We used to accept cribs, however, since many cribs need to be assembled, this has been a barrier for the families we serve, and we are no longer accepting these types of cribs. We DO accept pack n’ plays.
- Recliners: We used to accept recliners, but we are no longer accepting them. When we have asked families if they’d like to take a recliner, the most common answer is, “Our living room isn’t big enough for both a couch and a recliner.”
- Extra large pieces of furniture: Unfortunately, we cannot accept XL pieces of furniture. For example, if a desk fits more than two chairs under it, it’s too big. If a couch seats 5 or more people, it’s too big. Many of the families who come to our donation center live in apartments or homes that are on the small side. A good rule of thumb is that if it takes more than two people to move, and if you have a very hard time getting it out of a door frame, it’s too big for us to accept.
- Anything that is broken, missing pieces, missing hardware, needs to be washed, or comes from a home with bed bugs, cockroaches or someone who smokes in the home: We cannot accept anything in this category. Unfortunately, we have had quite a few donations dropped off where we were told, “You just need to paint it…. sew it…. wash it… go to the hardware store…etc.” We do not have the staff, budget or ability to repair or clean items. We put donations out the same day for families to come and take, so everything has to be ready to go on the day that you drop it off.
We created a visual guide called “Give This, Not That,” that we would encourage you to check out too!
Thank you for supporting Restoring Dignity, and for ensuring that we are providing quality items to the families that visit our Community Donation Center!