Donating in NYC: A Guide

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You are at the end of your Big Spring Clean, or you are packed up to move, or you were suddenly struck with the motivation to perform a life changing overhaul of your apartment. You’ve sifted through every item of clothing you own and you’ve rearranged your furniture four times in order to find the most attractive and practical layout for your living room, planning to get rid of pieces that add clutter and disharmony to your space. Or, maybe, you’re a Done and Done client, and Kate and Ann have done the hard work for you, and your furniture is wrapped; clothing, linens, and books are neatly boxed and arranged according to which items to keep and which items will have to go.

But the question remains: where do we send those items that we no longer need? Selling clothing and furniture is a popular option, but it can be time consuming and yield only so-so returns. But there is a fairly easy, tax-deductible and feel-good solution waiting for you: donating to one of the many amazing philanthropic organizations that help people, animals, and communities stay vibrant and healthy in our fair city.

For us at Done and Done, it’s important to know how our donations are used, so here is a guide to donating everything from clothing, books, bikes, pet stuff, and more to some of the non-profits that we most admire.


A common phrase is “gently used items.” This means pieces that are without holes or stains, clean, and if it is a set, complete. Do not donate items that have been recalled, banned, or violate safety standards. A good rule of thumb is: your garbage is likely their garbage too. For more information, Goodwill has a handy guide of donation Do’s and Don’ts.


Housing Works

Their Mission:

Founded by four members of the influential AIDS activist group, ACTUP, Housing Works provides lifesaving resources to the tens of thousands of homeless men, women and children in New York City living with HIV and AIDS. Initially, the organization sought to provide stable housing for HIV-positive people on the presumption that stable housing is the key to living healthy and fulfilling lives and prevent further spread of virus, but has since expanded to provide medical, dental and behavioral health care.

Where exactly do your donations go?

Donations of clothes, accessories, dishes, electronics, and books are sold at bargain prices at Housing Works Thrift stores and Book Cafe, versus the “rock-bottom” prices that other shops sell used items for – a formula that has proven successful in raising significant proceeds for the community services the organization offers.

Accepted Items:

Clothing, books, dishes, appliances, or furniture. They do not accept medical gear, sports equipment, safety gear or children’s items.

Pick-Up / Drop-off Policy:

It’s best to show them a picture of the furniture you would like to donate and get it approved before lugging it over to a Housing Works shop. If there is more than one piece of furniture, they will come pick it up for you!

Locations in NYC:

The Bookstore Cafe is on Crosby Street, The Buy the Bag shop is on 28th street in Brooklyn, and the many Thrift stores are located throughout Manhattan. Find one near you!



Their Mission:

Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 by a methodist minister, and has since grown into an international organization that seeks to provide community-based services for people who face employment challenges, including the eldery, individuals with disability, and those with a criminal background. The retail thrift stores are also non-profits, and themselves provide employment opportunities as well as funding the community services. Citing “people, planet and performance” as their bottom line, the organization operates as a network of 165 independent organizations in Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, Canada and the US.

Where exactly do your donations go?

By selling donated clothes and household items, the agencies raise billions of dollars which directly support community based programs such as career counseling, resume prep, and job training, often extending opportunities to work directly for Goodwill in thrift shops. At the Goodwill website, you can read amazing stories of individuals whose lives are changed by the services offered by Goodwill, as well as calculate the hours or resume prep and career counseling that your donations have yielded by inputting items into the nifty Impact Calculator.

Accepted Items:

Clothing, books, household items such as dishes, electronics, countertop appliances. Agencies above 79th street in Manhattan will take furniture. They do not accept exercise equipment, baby furniture, large appliances (washer, dryer, or refrigerator), textbooks, mags or encyclopedias, food, or mattresses.

Pick-Up / Drop-off Policy:

There is no pickup service from Goodwill agencies in NYC. Bring donations in during normal business hours, 10:00am to 9pm.

Locations in NYC:

Over ten locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Find yours!



Recycle a Bicycle

Their Mission:

Devoted to empowering New York City young, Recycle a Bicycle has developed dozens of programs including high school internships, Earn-A-Bike, Kids Ride Club, Green Jobs Training programs, and others that are dedicated to environmental education and teaching job training skills. Every day, RAB salvages around 1,800 bikes from the garbage so as to lessen the city’s landfill burden. Although RAB’s physical storefronts are in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and DUMBO, Brooklyn it also has a shop located in a school on Staten Island and a workshop in Long Island City.

Where exactly do your donations go?

Students are put through a curriculum of bicycle mechanics in which they are taught to restore donated bikes. They then have the choice to volunteer after school in exchange for a bicycle frame, which they can build into a full bike for themselves, a friend, or family member. A fleet of restored bicycles is kept for the Kids Ride Club, where children are taught to ride, practice road safety, and develop a love of fitness. Children’s bicycles are often used to build recycled art sculptures, or restored and donated to partner organizations.

Accepted Items:

Bikes! Toddler, children, adult – since they refurbish bikes, all parts are useful, and nothing goes to waste.

Pick-Up / Drop-off Policy: 

Recycle a Bicycle generally only has the resources to pick up large donations of fifteen or more bicycles, but they are open to requests, so give them a call. Otherwise, their DUMBO and East Village locations are open noon-7pm, Monday through Saturday.

Locations in NYC:

East Village

75 Avenue C (between 5th & 6th Streets)

New York, NY 10009




35 Pearl Street (at Plymouth Street)

Brooklyn, NY 11201




Art Start NYC

Their Mission:

Art Start provides programs for at-risk youth in NYC – kids living in homeless shelters, involved in court cases, or whose parents are in crisis. Kids collaborate on projects with local teaching artists who instruct students to channel their creative energy through music and painting . For students who exhibit exceptional talent, Art Start will provide opportunities for internships, showcasing, and networking. Their youth offender outreach program features a hip hop summer camp, in which students are exposed to an academic curriculum of performing and musical arts as well as holding them accountable for responsibility, professionalism, and discipline.

Where exactly do your donations go?

Donations of art supplies go directly to the students!

Accepted Items:

The accept lightly used and well organized art supplies of any kind.

Pick-Up / Drop-off Policy:

Donations can be dropped off at their Chelsea office, located at 526 West 26th Street.



Baby Buggy

Their Mission:

While many organizations do not take baby furniture or supplies because of the strict safety guidelines, Baby Buggy specializes in collecting gently used baby furniture, clothing, toys, and maternity wear to distribute to families in need. Baby Buggy gives these necessary supplies in combination with comprehensive social services such as parent education, job training and financial literacy classes in order for parents to learn skills necessary to become better providers for their children.

Where exactly do your donations go?

Directly to the parents and children!

Accepted Items:

Gear that is less than three years old. View the full list here.

Pick-Up / Drop-off Policy:

Call 212- 736-1777 to schedule an appointment for drop off or request a pick up. Their drop off location in NYC is 306 West 37th Street.



Pet Stuff

The ASPCA on the Upper East Side takes pet supplies, including toys, bedding, food, blankets, as well as all used linens for the care of their rescued animals.

Sports Equipment

Hartley House in Hell’s Kitchen takes sports supplies for their athletic programs that build community for the kids in the neighborhood.


Any branch of the New York Public Library will take your gently used books! Find the one nearest you!