I recently moved into a small apartment on the other side of the river in St. Paul. I was eager to more thoroughly explore the twin city with its exceptional restaurants and shops, though frankly, I was mostly thrilled I wouldn’t have to commute through the Lowry Tunnel each day. As excited as I was about the move, it wasn’t until I found myself with my sister in the middle of the night schlepping a 200 pound dresser up a flight of stairs and pivoting into a narrow hallway that I not so rashly decided that I’m never moving again ever. Ever.
A move is all it took for me to realize how much stuff one can accumulate. I asked myself some hard questions that night: Do I really need this many shirts? How many pairs of shoes can one justify owning? Later that week I dragged three stuffed garbage bags into Arc’s Value Village for donation. The whole process was so easy and convenient it felt like I was getting away with something. They are just one place around the metro that can make your life less cluttered and hectic. I’ve compiled a list of great organizations that not only give you tax deductions on your unwanted items but also give back to the community.
Arc’s Value Village
New Hope · Bloomington · Brooklyn Center · Richfield · St. Paul · arcsvaluevillage.org
I must admit whenever I donate to Arc’s Value Village I find myself unable to resist browsing the aisles discovering one great item after another. Conveniently open seven days a week with five locations, you can support this nonprofit that aids programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by donating everything from toys, books, and clothes, to kitchenware and appliances. They will even take more difficult to give away items such as RVs, ATVs, cars, boats, canoes, and furniture. For a more complete look on what you can give, reference their A through Z donation list on their website.
(photos courtesy of Arc’s Value Village)
Bloomington · Roseville · bridging.org
Through the reuse of donated items, this nonprofit helps over 4,000 people each year who are transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. They are always looking for quality and gently used items. You can donate furniture, linens, appliances, and even artwork. You can drop off items at both locations where staff are available to help you unload or for a fee you can schedule a pick-up. For more details on what you can donate check out their website.
1107 West 7th Street, St. Paul · josephscoatmn.org
With a small staff and over 100 volunteers, Joseph’s Coat helps disadvantaged individuals and families by providing free goods and items. You can be a part of this wonderful organization by donating. They accept clothing, books, hygiene products, cookware, household items, and more. You can drop off donations Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 2pm.
Sharing and Caring Hands
525 N 7th Street, Minneapolis · sharingandcaringhands.org
If you need to get rid of odd items around your house, Sharing and Caring Hands is the place to donate. A compassionate organization that offers a plethora of services to those in need from shelter to medical help, Sharing and Caring Hands takes in all sorts of donations. You can donate personal hygiene items, food, clothing, car seats, strollers, diapers, televisions, electronics, and even vehicles. They have convenient drop off times Monday through Thursday from 8-4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8-12pm.
150 West 60th Street, Minneapolis · leonardosbasement.org
If you’re a creative D.I.Y.er or find yourself tinkering around in your garage, Leonardo’s Basement is your place. A unique organization, Leonardo’s Basement provides workshops and classes for all ages to invent, design, and build anything they can image. If you need to get rid of any extra hardware or tools they are always looking for people to donate. You can give lumber, wheels, chains, hinges, and even small electronics. For a more detailed list and how you can donate contact them on their website.
(photos courtesy of Leonardo’s Basement)
Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota
1600 University Ave. W Suite 300, St. Paul · epilepsyfoundationmn.org
You’ve probably noticed this organization’s purple Drop Bins all around the cities. The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota is a wonderful nonprofit that supports and provides services dedicated to helping people with epilepsy fight and overcome the many challenges they face. You can use the purple Drop Bins to donate smaller items that fit in a standard kitchen garbage bag such as clothing, shoes, and accessories. They accept larger items like furniture, small appliances, and certain electronics that can be dropped off at their drive-thrus where the staff will help you unload or for even more convenience they will pick-up curbside rain or shine. Visit their website for a full list of acceptable items, to set up a curbside pick-up, or to find a drop off location near you.
Bloomington · Golden Valley · St. Paul · techdump.org
You can guess by the name but this is the organization to help you get rid of all your old flip phones, chargers, and unwanted electronics. Tech Dump makes an impact by providing training and practical experience for adults facing barriers in gaining employment. You can help by donating your televisions, monitors, cell phones, printers, batteries, computers, and many more items. There are no fees and more importantly always guaranteed data destruction for any of your devices. Tech Dump does offer free pickup for certain items. Visit their website for more details.