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Spring Cleaning and Giving Back in DC.

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People move in and out of this transient city every year—and around it—as jobs change and relationships evolve. I’ve lived in the same apartment for four years, which is basically ten in DC years. Needless to say, I've collected a LOT of stuff I don't need anymore.

As I was spring cleaning this rainy weekend, I searched online for a comprehensive list of local nonprofits where you can donate certain household or clothing items—ones that give these items back to the DC community. Sadly, I couldn't find such a list of organizations that didn't also require access to a car. 

Here’s my take to make this list, based on volunteer opportunities I’ve had in the past and awesome local organizations I’ve donated to previously. 

This is meant to be a starting point, so please contact these organizations directly before you stop by to ensure these policies are still accurate.

Also, please note that many organizations serving low-income individuals or people experiencing homelessness have limited space for donations. You should contact groups like Calvary Women's Services, N Street VillageDASHNew Endeavors by Women, and other great organizations not included on the list below to learn more about their needs.

Books! Dictionaries, how-to books, history books, Westerns and fantasy novels (preferably paperbacks), and scientific magazines

DC BOOKS TO PRISONS

Because of limited space, they restrict book donations to one box at a time. They request you drop off books during packing time on Wednesday evenings (6:00-8:30 PM) at Foundry United Methodist Church at 1500 16th St NW. (You can also volunteer here! Just be sure to go through orientation first.)

Other Books and Children’s Books

TURNING THE PAGE

They accept most books that DC Books to Prisons does not (and can take higher quantities). They accept donations of gently used books, CDs, and DVDs of any genre and for all ages (for kids and/or for adults), but no magazines, periodicals, encyclopedia or other large book sets (unless classic literature), or VHS tapes.

You can drop off donations at the Carpe Librum bookstore in downtown DC (1030 17th St. NW). For 5 boxes of books or more, they can coordinate a pick up anywhere in a 30 minute driving radius of downtown DC.

MARTHA’S TABLE

They distribute children’s books free of charge so families can start home libraries.

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday.

Backpacks

THRIVE DC

Backpacks are one of the most vital donations clients can receive. Many of the people Thrive DC serves keep their whole lives in their backpacks, and need things that are sturdy, portable, and inconspicuous.

You can drop off items between 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday at their Columbia Heights location (1525 Newton St NW G1). Before you come, please let staff know to expect you! If you are unable to visit during normal operating hours, they are also willing to schedule a more convenient time. 

General Clothing

MARTHA’S TABLE

They request cold-weather clothing donations (pants, jackets, sweaters) from September-March and warm-weather clothing donations (shorts, tank tops, dresses) from April-August. Please neatly fold clothing and housewares donations into boxes or sturdy shopping bags. To ensure the utmost respect for Outfitters patrons, they ask that donations not be dropped off in garbage bags.

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday. 

SO OTHERS MIGHT EAT (SOME)

SOME distributes new and gently used donations of clothing, free of charge, for men, women and children. They ask that donors give only clothing items appropriate for the season in which they are dropped off. Clothing should be laundered and free of tears or stains. Want to really help? Bag men’s, women’s and children’s items separately.

The main drop-off location for material donations is 71 O Street, NW and they receive donations from 8:00am-4:00pm during the week, or 7:00am-2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

THRIVE DC

While they are unable to accept size specific clothing donations such as shirts, pants, suits, and dresses due to limited storage space, they have a desperate need for ponchos, socks, and underwear.

  • Flip Flops – Clients use them as shower shoes, and they are easier to fit sizes for in the summer than sneakers.
  • Hats/Visors – Clients are out in the sun A LOT. Please help shade their faces to avoid sunstroke!
  • T-shirts – With so few resources for laundry, many clients go through clothing quickly. By helping stay stocked in t-shirts, you can help keep clients clean and clothed.
  • Scrubs – They need one-size-fits-all clothing that’s easy to store in a small space. This is for clients who need emergency clothes until they can get a more permanent set.

You can drop off items between 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday at their Columbia Heights location (1525 Newton St NW G1). Before you come, please let staff know to expect you! If you are unable to visit during normal operating hours, they are also willing to schedule a more convenient time. 

Children’s School Uniforms

MARTHA’S TABLE 

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday. 

Small Furniture Items

MARTHA’S TABLE 

They accept small furniture items, such as bedside tables and coffee tables, that are in good condition. Items for children are always in demand! They ask that donations of car seats, strollers, toys, and portable swings be brand new.

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday. 

A WIDER CIRCLE

A Wider Circle accepts dressers, kitchen tables and chairs, end tables, rugs, desks, sofas, TVs, lamps, bedding, vacuum cleaners, and moving supplies. They do not accept donations of entertainment centers, armoires, china cabinets, and wall units. 

Items can all be dropped off at 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD, or you can schedule a pickup. But first, ensure all items meet the organization's guidelines.

Gently Worn or New Bras

THRIVE DC

Well fitting bras help women feel confident, attractive, and dignified. But for many homeless women, bras are a luxury they can’t afford. You can help our female clients get the support they need with a donation of either new or very gently used bras.

You can drop off items between 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday at their Columbia Heights location (1525 Newton St NW G1). Before you come, please let staff know to expect you! If you are unable to visit during normal operating hours, they are also willing to schedule a more convenient time. 

Beds (mattresses, box springs, and frames)

A WIDER CIRCLE

Almost every family they serve needs beds. Please donate only those that are without rips or stains. Items can all be dropped off at 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD, or you can schedule a pickup. But first, ensure all items meet the organization's guidelines.

GOODWILL OF GREATER WASHINGTON

Their main donation center isn't super accessible without a car, but for big items like beds, they'll pick up for free! Please make sure all donations are transportable and in an accessible area. Transportation personnel will NOT remove items from attics, basements or carry item up/down stairs.

Kitchenware

MARTHA’S TABLE

They accept clean and fully functioning kitchenware, including pots, pans, dishes, glassware, utensils, and small electric appliances. 

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday. 

SO OTHERS MIGHT EAT (SOME) 

SOME accepts pots and pans, plate sets, and other kitchen basics. They do not accept highly specialized kitchen equipment (bread machines, ice cream makers, etc.), single glasses, cups, plates, Tupperware, or recycled food containers.

The main drop-off location for material donations is 71 O Street, NW and they receive donations from 8:00am-4:00pm during the week, or 7:00am-2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

Other Household Items

SO OTHERS MIGHT EAT (SOME) 

SOME accepts gently used donations of basic household items. These donations are given to individuals who have recently moved off the streets or out of shelters into a new apartment. They accept:

Ironing boards ● Blankets/quilts ● Twin sheets & pillow cases ● Throw blankets ● Towels ● New cleaning supplies (dish & laundry detergent, etc.) ● Paper towels & toilet paper ● Garbage bags ● Reusable grocery bags ● Banker boxes

The main drop-off location for material donations is 71 O Street, NW and they receive donations from 8:00am-4:00pm during the week, or 7:00am-2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

MARTHA’S TABLE 

Martha’s Table accepts bed and table linens, working lamps with shades, non-CRT computers, flat screen monitors and televisions, and other small, working electronics. 

You can drop items off at Martha’s Outfitters (2122 14th Street, NW) 12:30-5:30pm Monday through Saturday or at Martha’s Outfitters MLK (2204 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) between 10:00am–4:30pm Monday through Friday. 

Toiletries

SO OTHERS MIGHT EAT (SOME) 

SOME accepts new toiletry items (think samples from Sephora, BirchBox, etc.). These donations are given to individuals who have recently moved off the streets or out of shelters into a new apartment. They accept: 

Combs/Brushes ● Conditioner ● Deodorant ● Depends ● Lotion ● Pads & tampons ● Razors ● Shampoo ● Shaving Cream ● Soap ● Toothbrushes ● Toothpaste

The main drop-off location for material donations is 71 O Street, NW and they receive donations from 8:00am-4:00pm during the week, or 7:00am-2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

THRIVE DC

They give out more than 100 personal care items a day! They ask for help supplying soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors and more.

You can drop off items between 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday at their Columbia Heights location (1525 Newton St NW G1). Before you come, please let staff know to expect you! If you are unable to visit during normal operating hours, they are also willing to schedule a more convenient time. 

Business Attire

MENZFIT

If you have men’s business attire to get rid of—including suits, blazers, shirts, ties, and shoes—this store will take it off your hands to help out men who are homeless, disabled, ex-offenders, or others on public assistance. The clothing is distributed free to the men, who are partnered with a program that teaches career development, interview preparation, and financial literacy. 

They accept items by appointment only (contact them at info@menzfit.org for details), including: suits, shoes, ties, sports coats, belts, shirts, cuff links, khakis, dress pants, socks (new only). They ask that all clothing donations be dry-cleaned or laundered and on hangers and either gently worn or new.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

What would you wear to a job interview? That is exactly the type of clothing they are looking for to help clients gain the confidence they need to enter or return to the workplace and land a job that could change her life. They accept interview appropriate suits and professional separates, and work appropriate shoes, scarves, jewelry, and briefcases. They accept all sizes of shoes and clothes, but are often in need of clothing sizes 0-2 and 16+ as well as larger shoe sizes. 

You can stop by with donations on Thursdays betwen 12:00pm - 6:30pm or the fourth Saturday of every month from 9:00am-12:00pm. Please use the 5th St. Chapel entrance for donations at 421 Seward Sq SE, and coordinate your dropoff directly with Dress for Success (not Capitol Hill United Methodist Church).

SUITED FOR CHANGE

Suited for Change welcomes donations of gently used, current, pressed, clean, interview-ready clothing. They accept suits and pantsuits, separates, shoes, accessories, unopened pantyhose, and handbags.

They accept donations without appointment every Thursday between  10am-4pm at their office (1010 Vermont Ave. NW,  Ste. 450). 

A WIDER CIRCLE

As a complement to their growing schedule of job preparedness and other adult education programs, they accept clothing and accessory donations including suits, separates, ties, dress shirts, briefcases, belts, and new shoes. All items should be season-appropriate, clean, and on hangers.

Items can be dropped off at 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD, or you can schedule a pickup. But first, ensure all items meet the organization's guidelines

Other places you love to work with? Let me know.