Spring Cleaning for 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 that children’s furniture your grandkids have long since outgrown.  

We clean out closets and look for the closest depository bin. 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, and often, thrift stores run out of room for inventory. And you wouldn’t want donate the long forgotten power tools to a charity focused on clothing and feeding children.  

While you are in the process of choosing which store, church or shelter 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). Or give them a call to be sure they’ll accept what you have.  

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. 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 Used mattresses and damaged furniture are unacceptable, as are outdated appliances and equipment. Clothing and linens 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 local charity? Here are some ideas for you to check out when deciding how to thoughtfully make your gift count towards helping others in our community.  

Shepherd’s Office: (302) 858-8556 Shepherd’s Office 408 N. Bedford Street Georgetown DE 19947 

  • Homeless shelter in need of non-perishable items, camping equipment such as batteries and flashlights, household items like storage containers, household cleaning supplies. 
  • Great need for clothing, especially for men. Many of its guests only stay temporarily or just use the pantry. Most live outside in the woods near Georgetown.  

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.  

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

  • A division of Habitat for Humanity, the store houses an impressive array of everything for the home, with an emphasis on construction supplies, equipment, tools and fixtures. It also accepts furniture and household goods with resale value.  
  • Call in advance to schedule a pickup of large items. 
  • Lawn and garden equipment and supplies are very popular in the warmer months.  

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, such as fire departments and shelters for displaced persons. 

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 (85% of profits).  
  • Mission is to “recycle” goods in excellent condition while lowering the impact of clothing and other manufacturing practices  
  • Bedding and clothing donations must be new and packaged in the original wrapping. Furniture must be in good condition with no damage.  

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  
  • Proceeds go to All Saints parish and other community organizations.  

Goodwill Retail Store and Donation Center: Millsboro  

  • 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 drop off times are, and to inquire about the gift acceptance list.  
  • Pick up arrangements are available. 
  • Several charity bin drop-offs are located throughout SoDel.  

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. Someone in need will appreciate your generosity. 

Happy organizing!  

By Bridget FitzPatrick

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