Is it trash or donatable? Here’s how to tell

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Many people donate items as a chance to get rid of the clutter inside their own homes. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with this if the items that you give are still useful. Read on to learn how to tell if your item is trash or donatable so you don’t make this mistake yourself.


Donating something is not a good way to get rid of broken or excessively damaged items. How excessive is excessive exactly? The best way to think about it is, “Does the damage to this item affect its primary function?” For example, clothes with large tears through them or pieces of furniture with missing structural components are damaged enough that they aren’t useful anymore and aren’t helpful to anyone. So, you can either get them fixed—extending their life–or it’s time to retire them once and for all. Tip: cut up old clothing into dust clothes to get the most use out of them.


Four words: get rid of them. Chances are you’ve got a friend that has a hand-held steam cleaner or you can rent a bigger one pretty inexpensively from your local grocery store. Even a fully intact piece of clothing or furniture item won’t make a good donation if there is an odor that you just can’t get rid of. Consider how much use could someone get out of this particular item if any at all.

Would You Use It?

This may be a hard question to answer as the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but try to be neutral about it. While it’s great to keep items in circulation and out of landfills, it’s better to pass along items that are in “reasonable” condition.

For everything that you determine is donatable, GreenDrop® has a donation center ready and waiting for your visit. Don’t forget, you can also set up a donation pick-up from us as well if that method works with your schedule more!

GreenDrop® is a for-profit company and registered professional fundraiser where required. We pay our nonprofit and charity partners for your donations, helping them fund their programs in your community. Read Disclosures

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