And options to recycle, instead.

By Sarah Van Cleve
Updated January 04, 2018
Designating a place where you can put items you want to donate will prompt you to eliminate clutter before it has a chance to pile up. Try keeping a bin easily accessible. You could keep it tucked away in a hall closet or consider stowing it in the trunk of your car—then you won’t have to do any heavy lifting when the bin is filled and it’s time to donate. Toss in old toys, ill-fitting clothing, and other unused items regularly; when the bin is full, give the items away and start over. Related: 5 Common Sources of "Micro Clutter" Lurking Around Your Home 
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Have you been lured in by The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up? Whether you’re cleaning out clutter to start fresh in the new year, or just making room for all of those new holiday gifts, now is a great time to rid your home of unnecessary items. Instead of letting them go to waste, donating to charity is almost always the way to go. However, there are some items you should skip giving to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Here are some items you absolutely shouldn’t toss into your donate pile.

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Stained, Ripped, or Otherwise Damaged Items

Giving away an item of clothing because it doesn’t fit or just isn’t your style anymore? Go for it. But if your item isn’t in what you’d deem wearable condition, don’t toss it in that donation box either. “Donating items that are in working condition, contain all of their pieces and parts, and are free of stains and rips is the best way to ensure that your goods do the most good,” according to Goodwill. This goes for kids’ toys and household items, too. If it no longer works and can’t be fixed, don’t immediately throw it in the trash. Most household items and textiles can be recycled to prevent adding to landfills. Use’s recycling locator tool and enter the material you’re trying to recycle to find the nearest drop-off site.

Worn Socks or Undergarments

Not a big surprise, but even if they’re still in good condition, most donation sites cannot accept socks or undergarments that have been worn due to sanitary concerns. However, if the items are still new and have their packaging or tags, you should still be able to donate them, but check with your location to make sure.

RELATED: This Genius Trick Will Make Decluttering Easier

Expired or Recalled Items

If you’re donating food to a local shelter or organization, it might seem obvious to check the expiration dates. But did you know that items such as car seats also have expiration dates? Car seats, cribs, and other baby items are also frequently recalled. If your child has outgrown their items, make sure to do your research before donating them to ensure that they’re still safe and can be accepted. has a search tool to search the federal recall databases across six agencies for any products deemed unsafe, hazardous, or defective.

RELATED: Is It Better to Donate to a Big Charity or a Small One?

Old Electronics

If you’re thinking about finally getting rid of that old TV or desktop that’s been sitting in your basement, you may be out of luck. Goodwill and other donation sites are only able to accept flat-Panel televisions and monitors, because of the chemicals used in earlier models and their high cost of recycling. Rear-projection HDTVs also fall into this category. Many electronics companies, like Dell and Sony, offer recycling options for their old products. Visit The Environmental Protection Agency’s website for a chart detailing what companies offer these options and how to take part in them.