8 Tips for an Easy Goodwill Drop-off

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Photo: Flickr/Mike Mozart

Have you ever put together a Goodwill donation and wondered whether you’re doing it right?

"Do they even take these items? Should I put them all in the same box?" Should I take a receipt?"

Have no fear, we’ve put together some top-notch tips and answered your questions to make sure your next donation is a breeze for both you and your local Goodwill store.

Making a Goodwill donation offers convenience for you, helps other people and is good for the planet. Goodwill stores across the country accept donations of clothes and household items to help fund job training, employment placement services and other community programs.

Generally speaking, there are no firm rules when it comes to getting your donation ready. But while “anything goes” is okay, there are some tips you can apply to help the attendants and sorters at your Goodwill drop-off center get through your donation quickly and safely.

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Photo: Flickr/_e.t

1. If items belong together (think dishes and shoes), donate them together

Brooke Lochore, VP of public relations at Goodwill Big Bend, recommended wrapping a rubber band around pairs of shoes to keep them from getting separated and packing items that belong together in the same box or bag. It’s also helpful to keep items like clothes together, rather than randomly mixed throughout your donation.

2. You can help keep fragile items intact

If you have fragile items, hand them directly to an attendant or package them carefully and label them as fragile to avoid accidental breakage. Broken items lose their value and are tougher to re-sell. Glass items should never be placed in unattended donation bins, as broken glass can be a safety hazard for Goodwill employees.

3. Use a reusable container to deliver your donation

Bags and cardboard are recycled by most Goodwill facilities, but if you’re looking for a more sustainable method of transport, Goodwill welcomes reusable bags, boxes or even laundry baskets to be used for donations. Just take your container back home with you once your donation has been sorted for a zero-waste option.

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Photo: Flickr/circle face

4. Don’t over-pack

Whether you’re using boxes or bags to deliver your donation, resist the urge to over-pack them. Items are more likely to be damaged accidentally, and heavy boxes and bags require extra hands for processing. As Lochor simply put it; “Too heavy, two people”.

5. When in doubt, donate

Value is the primary factor in sorting donations. Goodwill can profit the most from items in good-use condition or better.
That said, not all items received are good candidates for the sales floor. Once received, all items donated items are evaluated by Goodwill staff. Rest assured that if an item cannot be resold at Goodwill, in many cases, it may be sold to a recycler for proper disposal.

Clothes and linens, in particular, are received in varying states of quality. Fabric that is ripped or stained can’t be sold in stores but may be sold as bulk salvage on an international rag market. This alternative keeps the material from going to landfills, and offers additional income for Goodwill toward its services. There are now post-consumer recycling markets for many items like books, leather, shoes, glass, cardboard and even stuffed animals.

  • http://www.urbannaturale.com/ Deborah Davis

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips for donating to Goodwill properly. I am a big fan of Goodwill and I donate to my local shop regularly. I also love to shop there.
    I am going to keep these helpful hints in mind the next time I donate.

  • Mrs_Wudi

    I recently toured a Goodwill hub in Dayton, Ohio, and got to see workers disassembling the donated computers. There were dozens of bins everywhere, and the workers separated certain parts for reuse. Then those pieces were used by some guys in a nearby area to refurbish computers. Then they’re bundled with a flat-screen monitor, a keyboard & mouse, and sold for about $200 or less. It’s a fabulous program, to say the least.

  • Kathryn Dowell

    cringe… typo!

    7. Erase the data or remove you hard drive prior to donating computers and electronics

    YOUR

    • Ashi

      Wow! You seriously took time out of YOUR day to point that out? I doubt that this person really thought YOUR was spelled YOU. Come on… think about it… Good for you to be able to point that out and be as rude as possible! … Cringe!

  • Janice

    I was surprised to find out that Goodwill does not accept artificial Christmas trees. We had one that was in good condition that we could no longer use. Since they can be a bit costly, we thought that someone on a budget might enjoy getting it for a reasonable price. They told my husband they could not take it. We ended up putting it on the curb. Fortunately, someone picked it up within minutes.

  • Art

    Is it true that Goodwill’s CEO keeps the majority of the income for himself? exactly what % of proceeds are actual donations? I read that Goodwill is just about the worst when it comes to donating… just google “Goodwill corrupt”… lots of articles, it’s sad, but looks like it’s true. I’d like to believe otherwise, so if the writer of this article can tell us why she chose to use Goodwill instead of other charities? or is this also corruption (ie – get paid by Goodwill to promote them? People should just educate themselves before they donate to Goodwill.

  • http://www.katienormalgirl.com/ katie: normal girl

    This came along at just the right time! I’ve got a pile of goods that are ready to be donated this weekend. Thanks for the tips!