Donation Guide: How, What and Where to Donate

Throughout the years, we acquire many belongings in our homes. In some cases, these are things we use daily, and in others, we may only use them once in a while. But inevitably, our lives evolve and tastes change, and we recognize that there are superfluous things in our homes, much of which no longer serves a purpose.

One of the most rewarding things you can do with items you no longer want or need is donate them.

Whether you’re clearing out your home during Spring cleaning, organizing your home, or downsizing your home for retirement, many of the items you’re looking to get rid of are likely in good condition and can be of use to someone else. It would be a shame to unnecessarily throw out things you’ve spent a lifetime acquiring that could have a second life in someone else’s home. In addition there’s the toll it would take on the environment adding all of these items to landfill.

This is where donation comes in. There may be emotional triggers and memories tied up with many of your belongings, making it difficult to part with them. Knowing that they will live on and be cared for in a new home can help relieve some of those emotional strings. Plus, it’s an environmentally friendly and sustainable thing to do. Depending on the value of what you’re donating, you may even get a tax receipt for a gift-in-kind donation. A win-win-win!

Donating items can be more or less straightforward, depending on what you’re donating. We’ve put together a guide about what to consider, and what and where to donate household contents.

Assorted clothes on hangers

What to Consider Before You Donate

It’s important to remember not everything can be donated. Only items in good condition that can be of use to someone else can be donated. What does good condition mean? Upholstered pieces must be odor free, in good repair and free of stains and extreme sun damage. With wooden furniture, ensure there is no damage and the finish is in good condition. Always make sure items are clean and don’t have broken or missing parts. If you can’t use these things as is, a charity probably can’t either and it takes time and financial resources away from the charity to sort donations only to throw them out.

For some items that have seen better days, there may be ways they can be repurposed or reused. For example, clean but stained clothing, bedding or towels are usually accepted by animal shelters.

An alternative way to donate is to sell the items you no longer want via eBay, Facebook marketplace, a garage sale, or a specialty or consignment shop and then donate the money you make directly to a charity.

What to Donate

As you go through your belongings, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items, the memories, and figuring out exactly what can be donated. This is where having the help of professional organizers in the Greater Toronto Area can be a huge help. They can provide support and guidance during what can be an overwhelming task.

Even though not everything can be donated, many things can. Common items that many organizations accept include:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Bedding and towels
  • Furniture
  • Kitchenware
  • Pet items
  • Home décor, including seasonal and holiday decorations
  • Gardening items and tools
  • Musical instruments
  • Books
  • Art
  • Sports and fitness equipment
  • Toys and games
  • Appliances, big and small
  • Tools and materials
  • Electronics
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Medical equipment and supplies

Every charity and organization will have different rules regarding what they do and don’t accept. It’s always best to visit their websites or contact them directly before filling up your car and dropping by to unload everything.

For things that can’t be donated, like broken objects, toxic materials or old mattresses, it’s essential to know how to dispose of your things in the best and most environmentally friendly way.

Where to Donate

Almost anything can be donated if it’s in good condition, and many organizations take donations. The tricky part can be finding the right organization that accepts what you’re donating. For everyday items like clothes, household items, and more, it’s easy to find places that will take them and put them to good use. For others, it can take a bit of digging. Regardless, there are many good causes and organizations that are eager for your donations. 

General Items

For general things like clothing, household items, furniture, appliances, books, and some electronics, Habitat for Humanity, Value Village, Goodwill, and The Salvation Army are good choices. These organizations all have various locations across the Greater Toronto Area.

Business Clothes

Business clothing can be donated to organizations such as Dress for Success and ClothingWorks that help people get and maintain employment. As mentioned earlier, clothing or linens that are not in good condition can be donated to animal charities.


Electronic waste can be donated to places like Free Geek Toronto, which accepts items such as computers, cameras, mobile phones, TVs, and many more. Most items don’t need to be working to be donated. Recycle My Cell also accepts mobile devices and accessories. The CNIB runs the Phone it Forward program, which gives smartphones to people with sight loss who need them.

Some cities and towns have community environment days, which allow for items to be donated for recycling or reuse, including electronic and household waste, as well as general items. Often there are drop-off locations scheduled throughout the year in convenient locations and various neighbourhoods. The City of Toronto holds Community Environment Day events throughout the year, with drop-off locations around Toronto. Halton Region also holds special waste drop-off days in Burlington, Oakville and Georgetown. Whereas Peel Region has various Community Recycling Centres located in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon that accept electronic and household waste.

Medical Equipment and Supplies

Medical equipment in good condition can be donated to organizations like Access Abilities, ALS Canada, Not Just Tourists or the London Valley Consistory Club. Access Abilities has locations in Toronto and Oakville and services other areas like Mississauga, Burlington and Hamilton.


Furniture Bank has locations around the GTA and accepts furniture in good condition to give to women and children fleeing abuse, people transitioning out of homelessness, and newcomers and refugees to Canada.

With the demand for antique furniture being higher or lower depending on the exact item, it might make more sense to donate large antique furniture with little value. Antique bedroom sets, for example, tend to sell for very little, if at all. However, if you think your set might be one of a kind and worth something, it’s a good idea to research the value of individual items or get them appraised.


Cars and other vehicles can be donated to many organizations. Your local high school might even be interested so that students can work on them. Organizations like Donate a Car handle car donations for many charities and allows people to search for the charity they want to donate to based on province or category.

If you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart, you can search for relevant charities on websites like Charity Intelligence and Canada Helps. These websites can help inspire you and match you to the organizations you want to support.

We hope this guide has been helpful. At NEATSPACES, we aim to help our clients bring organization to their homes and lives. Whether you need a supportive hand downsizing your home or are looking for information on estate cleanout prices, you can always contact us to discuss your home organization needs, and we’ll be happy to help.

For downsizing, moving and organizing services in the Greater Toronto Area contact us today!