The Best Places to Donate Household Items Before Moving

The Best Places to Donate Household Items Before Moving

Thrift Store donations

Moving gets stressful quickly. That’s why it’s important to maximize your efficiency before, during, and even after you move. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by decluttering your home before packing. This allows more space in your moving vehicle for items you use and want to keep. After you’ve finished decluttering you will need to find places to donate your household items. So let’s break down the best places to donate household items before your move.

Where to Donate Household Items

Determining where to donate your household items can generally be boiled down to two factors- what places are near you and what are you donating. You can drop off items you no longer want at one of the many thrift store chains throughout the United States. Aside from franchises your town may have local thrift shops or shelters where you can donate items.

Chart indicating which items common thrift store chains accept
Remember, every store is different and may not accept items other stores within the same franchise accept. This chart is also a genralization of items within these categories and there may be limitations based on various factors.

Thrift Store Franchises Accepting Household Items


Goodwill is a thrift store chain with multiple locations in each state. While all these branches have slightly different ways of running their stores, the Goodwill mission always remains the same.

“…Enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”

What Can I Donate?

Goodwill accepts a large range of donations from clothes to household items. Here is a list of some of the items they typically accept.

  • Clothing 
  • Accessories
  • Houseware
  • Electronics
  • Small Appliances
  • Media
  • Books
  • Furniture

Unsure if your local Goodwill will accept an item you want to donate? Just give them a call. You should do this before you make a big trip with things like furniture and electronics that are often questionable to donate.

How Your Support Helps

Goodwill is known for supporting communities in many different ways. On their website, they discuss a variety of different programs they offer to help community members. Some of these programs include job coaching, school-to-work programs, veterans programs, and community service programs. All of these programs help people learn important job skills and help them succeed in the workforce.

By donating to Goodwill you are not only helping people within your community access gently used household items at a reduced cost, you are also helping support all these programs. 

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a chain of thrift stores that are found throughout the United States. They help around 23 million Americans annually through their mission to meet human needs without discrimination.

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What Can I Donate?

The Salvation Army accepts a large variety of donated household items. Below is a list of some of the items that they typically take. 

  • Appliances
  • Automobiles
  • Children’s Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Household Goods
  • Men’s Clothing
  • Women’s Clothing
  • Miscellaneous

Be aware that not all locations accept furniture and automobiles. If you want to donate items in either of these categories it is best to call ahead and ask.

How Your Support Helps

The Salvation Army has fourteen different programs ranging from disaster relief to adult rehabilitation. When you donate items to their thrift stores you are helping them raise money from these items, which allows them to fund all these programs.

Donating your items to the Salvation Army also allows community members to buy used items at a lower price.


Savers thrift stores can be found throughout the United States, Canada, and even Australia. They state their purpose is to, “champion reuse.” Meaning their goal is to keep items out of landfills and get people to reuse items.

What Can I Donate?

Savers accepts the typical range of items that you see in most thrift stores. Below is a list of the items that they accept.

  • Backpacks & Purses
  • Bathroom Products
  • Bedroom Linens
  • Books & Media
  • Clothings & Shoes
  • Decor
  • Electronics
  • Exercise & Sporting Goods
  • Games & Toys
  • Kitchen Utensils
  • Small Appliances
  • Small Furniture

Savers do not accept bigger items such as mattresses, large furniture, and large appliances.

How Your Support Helps

Savers is not a non-profit but they do partner with certain non-profits such as The American Red Cross and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

The donated items they accept are on behalf of these non-profit organizations and Savers then purchases them from the non-profits to sell at their stores.

household goods for donation in a clear plastic container

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are independently owned locations operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. There are more than 900 locations around the United States.

What Can I Donate?

Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts a slew of donated household items other thrift stores often don’t. Below is a list of some donations they will take. 

  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Building Materials
  • Household Goods
  • Automobiles

This is one of the best options if you have any larger furniture or appliances that you are looking to donate. Many of the locations even offer free pick-up for larger donated items so you do not have to worry about getting them to the store yourself.

How Your Support Helps

When you donate items to Habitat for Humanity ReStore you are supporting the building of homes for families within your community. The sale of items you donate goes to help Habitat for Humanity partner with families to build or repair homes within your community.

Your donations will also help local families ability to buy items such as furniture, building supplies, and appliances at a reasonable price.

Local Thrift Stores

When searching for the best place to donate your household items you should always consider local thrift stores in your community. Both big and small towns have local thrift stores accepting household donations.

What Can I Donate?

The items local thrift stores accept will vary from store to store. Below is a list of items that most small thrift stores commonly accept.

  • Clothes
  • Toys & Games
  • Books
  • Kitchenware
  • Shoes
  • Small Appliances

Before donating to a local thrift store it is best if you call ahead or do some research to see which items that specific store accepts. 

How Your Support Helps

When you donate items to a local thrift store you are directly helping the community that you live in. Whether the local store runs programs to directly assist community members or simply provides people with low-price items, you are supporting a local business. 

Profit vs Non-Profit

You may want to consider which stores are for-profit and which stores are non-profit before donating your household items. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are all non-profit, while Savers is a for-profit organization.

Non-profits are required to spend a certain amount of their revenue on their programs to help the community, while for-profits do not have any requirements for their revenue.

Alternative Options

There are other options to get rid of household items before your move besides donating them to thrift stores. This includes giving the items away to family and friends, having a rummage sale, or selling them online.

Family and Friends

Before donating items to a thrift store it can be a good idea to let your family and friends look through the items. This allows you to help out the people closest to you and it may reduce the number of trips you would take to donate the items.

Rummage Sale

When getting rid of items before a move you can always consider having a rummage sale. This allows you to both get rid of unwanted items and make a little money before moving. After you are done with the rummage sale you can always donate the items that are left to thrift stores.

Selling Items Online

If you are looking for a different way to sell your unwanted items you could try selling them online. There are many different online stores such as Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Craigslist, and eBay. These sites allow you to post pictures and descriptions of items and for others to buy from you either online or in person.


There are countless places to donate household items before your move. Before you decide where you want to donate your items consider what items you are donating and how you want to help your community. 

Donating items to thrift stores can be quite a hassle at times. We’ve rounded up some tips to simplify your search and donation drop-off process. We promise the extra effort is worth helping out your community!

Jessica is a students at the University of Northern Iowa. She is majoring in English Education with a creative writing minor. In her free time she loves to read books of every genre, write short stories, and spend time with friends. In the future she hopes to share her love for reading and writing with her future students.

Headshot of Ashlyn Cook, UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager

Ashlyn is a homegrown Iowan (go Cyclones!). She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2023 with a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications. Now, she serves as UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, watch baseball, and spend time with her dog!

To get in contact with her regarding blog partnerships at UniMovers please email