Spring Cleaning With a Cause 

The fresh air that spring brings inspires each of us to look anew at our possessions. Such as that battle weary blanket chest you always swore you’d refinish or refresh with a new and attractive color. Or those kids’ furniture your grandkids have long since outgrown. 

We clean out closets then find reusable bags for packaging clothing, shoes and various household items to be dropped off at the nearest charity bins. But when we kiss it all goodbye, have you given thought to where it will end up, and who it may benefit? 

If your goal is to simply declutter, there are plenty of options for passing along your used – and often unused items to a local charity or thrift shop. Why not put some thought and heart this year into researching the most appropriate recipient of your donation? You may be surprised at how specific the missions of some charities that accept goods really are. 

For example, your anonymous drop-off of gently used clothing or linens may not be deemed acceptable. You wouldn’t necessarily donate the long forgotten power tools from your garage to a charity focused on clothing and feeding children. And the store accepting a wide variety of goods simply may not have room to store more inventory. 

While you are in the process of choosing which store or food pantry you’d like to help out, your best bet is to do a little recon first. Check out their website or Facebook page (many cannot afford to manage a bigger web presence). Most of our local organizations preempt unnecessary donations by listing what is or definitely is NOT acceptable. 

Give them a call first to ask questions about your gift. Who are the beneficiaries of their sales or re-donation of your possessions? What are their biggest needs at the moment (no Christmas trees in July, for sure)? 

Important too is whether they can pick up your donation to save you a trip or remove large items such as furniture or lawn equipment. Most stores and pantries have designated drop off and pickup times, and keep in mind, it is usually at the discretion of the driver to accept or deny the item based on its condition or space remaining in the cargo space. 

Habitat for Humanity, for example will not lift and remove any heavy items requiring the driver and helper to negotiate any steps. 

Some basic rules of thumb are clear on all the local organizations we looked into. Used mattresses and damaged furniture are unacceptable, as are outdated appliances and equipment. If the charity accepts clothing and linens (not all do!), they must be cleaned and folded. Dinnerware must not have chips and should be a complete matching set. 

Why not distribute your goods gifting to a variety of local charities? We have food and baby pantries and a few thrift stores that sell almost anything you can think of, such as wedding dresses and used cars. Here are some ideas for you to check out when deciding how to thoughtfully make your gift count towards helping others in our community. 

American Veterans Thrift Store, 34396 Tenley Ct, Lewes, DE and another store at 
35224 Hudson Way, Rehoboth Beach. All proceeds are dedicated to serving our US servicemen and women through housing assistance, furniture, clothing and more. 

  • Family-owned and operated by a couple who have served in the US Army. 
  • Check the store’s website for a list of acceptable gifts, store hours and to arrange pickup for certain items. 
  • Popular shopping destination for the entire community featuring clothing, furniture, vehicles in good shape, holiday décor, veterans memorabilia and much more. 

Sussex County ReStore, 18501 Stamper Drive, Lewes (just 3 miles west of Five Points on Route 9, (302) 855-1156. 

  • A division of Sussex County’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, the store houses an impressive array of everything for the home, with an emphasis on construction supplies, equipment, tools and plumbing/electrical fixtures. 
  • It also accepts furniture with resale value, clothing, household goods, office furniture and equipment and appliances. 
  • Call in advance to schedule a pickup of large items; acceptance of donation is at the discretion of driver, and they will not negotiate any steps for safety and liability reasons. 
  • Lawn and garden equipment and supplies are very popular in the warmer months. 
  • Rolling inventory means that prices are reduced to sell to make way for new items…so attention savvy shoppers! Prices are reduced if you are patient enough to wait and keep checking. 

New Life Thrift Store,  34686 Jiffy Way, Lewes, (302) 644-0171 

  • 100% of store proceeds are a major source of funding for LRAC (Lewes-Rehoboth Association of Churches). 
  • The LRAC is involved with numerous local charities and service organizations. Key recipients of their support include the Lewes and Rehoboth Fire Departments, home repairs and services, local food pantries and shelters for displaced persons. They also assist with addiction counseling services and ministries for area correctional facilities. 
  • Store days and hours can vary. We suggest checking in advance for any questions about what is acceptable, and what their current needs may be. 

Unfinished Business (302) 841-1740, behind Panera Bread on Coastal Highway, 18389 Olde Coach Rd, Rehoboth.. 

  • Women-founded and operated, Unfinished Business is a community thrift store benefitting several designated local charities such as CAMP Rehoboth, Milton Theatre, Delaware Hospice and local libraries to name a few. 
  • Mission is to “recycle” goods in excellent condition while lowering the impact of clothing and other manufacturing practices (reduction in landfill use, lower energy costs, etc.). 
  • 85% of profits are presented to local nonprofits. 
  • Bedding and clothing donations must be new and packaged in the original wrapping. Furniture must be in good condition with no damage or pet dander or stains visible. No mattresses or broken household items. 
  • Contact the store directly for accurate store hours and questions about specific dos and don’ts. 
  • Not a consignment store. 

All Saints Rehoboth Beach Thrift Store: https://www.facebook.com/asrbthriftshop/, 20673 Coastal Highway Rehoboth, (302) 206-3123 

  • Accept donations of clothing housewares, bicycles, small furniture and more 
  • Contact store for list of acceptable donations and arrangements for drop off. 
  • Proceeds benefit All Saints parish and other community organizations. 

Goodwill Retail Store and Donation Center: 28985 DuPont Boulevard, Millsboro,  (302) 934-9146. 

  • Wide variety of store items, including clothing, antiques, unused furniture, kids’ bikes and toys, housewares and appliances. 
  • Contact Goodwill via phone or their website what their store and drop off times are, or to inquire about the gift acceptance list. 
  • Pick up arrangements can be made by arrangement 
  • Several charity bin drop-offs are located throughout SoDel. 

In these particularly difficult economic times with uncertainty for many, donating your valuable goods are sure to bring smiles to many families. You will smile to yourself when you do finally part with something that was once usable but is no longer needed or is taking up too must real estate in your garage or basement. 

Happy organizing! 

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