The holiday season often comes with an influx of new stuff, from decor and winter maintenance supplies to gifts and kitchen gear. If you find yourself feeling a little cluttered as a result, consider donating!
There are some awesome organizations around Portland that can give your unwanted possessions a second life. Maximize the good you do with what you have by following this simple guide, compiled with the assistance of SCRAP PDX’s handy website.
What to Do With…
High-quality art and design materials > Donate to SCRAP PDX
SCRAP’s website has a useful list of stuff they do and do not accept. The bottom line: they, like many other local creative reuse and recycling organizations in Portland, aren’t exactly hurting for donations. That means they are selective with what they accept. Keep this in mind when donating to any of the organizations on this list—quality matters. Consider SCRAP for your donations that fit the bill and support their efforts in environmental sustainability education and mission that revolves around access to creative expression for everyone.
New and lightly used clothes > Donate to a local homeless shelter
There are a lot of wonderful community organizations in Portland focused on ensuring the health and safety of people who’ve fallen on hard times. At this time of year, your donation of a warm winter coat can make a huge difference for someone in need. Organizations that accept donations of clean clothes in good condition include:
Portland Rescue Mission
Central City Concern
Rose Haven (specializes in items for women and children)
Bedding, clothing and other fabrics > Call the Pioneer Wiping Cloth Company
It’s best not to donate bedding, clothes and other fabrics that aren’t in new or like-new condition. If you wouldn’t want to wear it or snuggle up in it, it probably isn’t suitable for donation. But that doesn’t mean it needs to go into the trash—the Pioneer Wiping Cloth Company might be able to recycle your old fabrics. Give them a call to find out!
Old electronics and tech > Donate to Free geek
Free Geek is a nonprofit focused on reusing tech equipment rather than sending these hazardous materials to landfills. When they refurbish tech, they grant what they’ve fixed to local community organizations. You can donate just about anything electronic to Free Geek, and they’ll either reuse or recycle it for you.
Household appliances, fixtures and building materials > Call the ReBuilding Center to inquire about a donation
If you’ve never been to the ReBuilding Center, you should plan a trip as soon as possible. This place is a playground of salvaged building materials you can use in DIY home improvement projects. They also accept donations, though you should call ahead if you have a lot of stuff on hand.
Furniture, lamps and other furnishings > Donate to Community Warehouse
We love the Community Warehouse—Wick is very involved with the organization, and we believe in what they do. They’re a furniture bank, meaning they function similarly to a food bank, but for furniture. If you have home furnishings in good condition that you just don’t need anymore, donate them to the Community Warehouse! Last year, the served 7,000 families.
Building supplies > Contact Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro East to inquire about a donation
You don’t have to pick up a hammer to help Habitat for Humanity build houses for low-income families. Habitat would love to reuse your building materials, and they’ll even come pick them up! If you’re planning a renovation in your kitchen, for example, Habitat may be able to arrange for a crew to come remove cabinetry that they’ll then use in a new home.
Office & school supplies > Donate to Schoolhouse Supplies
Schoolhouse Supplies is a great local organization that provides free school supplies to children in need. Any old boxes of pencils, pens, notebooks or markers can go to good use with this organization. Like SCRAP, Schoolhouse Supplies has a list of items they do and do not accept on their website. Give this a read before you bring stuff to them.
Anything plastic > Call Far West Recycling to see if they can recycle
Portlanders are getting wise to the fact that plastic is pretty terrible for the environment. If you’ve recently replaced a lot of plastic stuff with more sustainable materials, that’s great! Far West Recycling may be able to recycle your unwanted plastics.
Everything Else > Call the Metro Recycling Hotline
Unsure what to do with everything else, or with things that get rejected for donation? Call the Metro Recycling Hotline and they’ll help: 503.234.3000