Decluttering? These charities offer free pickups
Is it the added sunlight or maybe the heat that sparks our need to declutter in Spring? Whatever the motivation, these organizations make the task a whole lot easier by picking up unwanted goods, right from your home.
Bonus, or possibly the best part, your donations will be reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills while supporting community services. If you're moving, plan early; you'll want to allow a week or more lead time for the movers to arrive.
Ensure items are clean and in usable condition - nothing holey, stained, smelly, or dirty. Though not officially required, consider providing a cash donation to help cover transportation costs. Donations receipts are available, inquire when scheduling your pickup.
Furniture & Housewares
It's tempting to just leave a couch or heavy chair in the alley and hope it will end up with someone in need. What's more likely is a garbage truck will haul it off to the landfill after the pillows are swiped leaving a heavy useless shell.
Just as easy, but so much better for the environment and people in need, is to donate your old furniture to an organization that offers pick-ups!
If your furniture is beyond donatable, please call 311 to request Bulky Item Pickup before placing it in the alley.
Habitat for Humanity Chicago
Habitat for Humanity collects donations to fund its three programs: the Neighborhood Grants Initiative, the Affordable Homeownership Program, and HomeBuyer University, a program that teaches students about the homebuying process. Donated items are sold at Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and the proceeds help fund grants and promote safe, affordable housing.
Habitat for Humanity regularly changes its accepted donations list to reflect what is currently needed, so double-check its website and accepted donations list to see if your furniture is a good fit. Beyond furniture, they'll generally accept demolition materials like cabinets, sinks, toilets, and hand tools.
To schedule a pickup, fill out a donation request on their website or email email@example.com. Within a few days, a member from the ReStore team will be in touch to set up a date and time.
Note: Their staff cannot climb stairs or enter homes, be ready with your donations on the street level of your home. You must be present to donate any items.
ReStore Donation Pickup Request form - scroll down to the bottom.
Chicago Furniture Bank
The Chicago Furniture Bank is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide free furniture to Chicago families in need. This organization recommends a donation for pickups to make sure they can always give away furniture to families for free.
All movers are insured, so you can feel confident scheduling a pickup. Chicago Furniture Bank works with Honest Junk Company to divert furniture from landfills, and each organization has its own rules.
Chicago Furniture Bank only accepts donations that are in good condition, so do not donate furniture with any stains, tears, or odors. Visit the Chicago Furniture Bank website for a full list of accepted donations.
Pickup dates must be scheduled a week in advance for weekdays, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are no weekend pickups.
Learn more and request a pickup on Chicago Furniture Bank’s website.
The Cancer Federation
The Cancer Federation funds cancer research and scholarships by selling donated items to private companies for resale.
They can accept furniture in good condition and small household items, like kitchen utensils and yard equipment (no riding lawnmowers). Movers can pick up items outside your front door, on your driveway, or near the curb by your mailbox.
In the event of rain or snow, this organization will still arrive to pick up items; they recommend covering any items with a tarp or plastic bag to protect them from the weather.
Brown Elephant, Howard Brown Health
Brown Elephant supports Howard Brown Health’s mission to support LGBTQ+ healthcare. Donations help provide affirming healthcare, including primary medical care, elder services, youth services, and HIV/STI prevention.
Brown Elephant’s pickup service is free of charge, but they do suggest donating $30 to help cover the movers’ fuel expenses. Pickups are scheduled daily; they will send you an email within 24-48 hours with available pickup times.
Brown Elephant accepts gently used furniture and some household items, they cannot accept items with stains, discoloration, pests, or pet hair. Before the movers arrive, move all donations outside; they cannot enter homes or help bring donations outside.
Visit their website for a list of accepted donations and fill out the form to request a pickup.
Looking to update your spring wardrobe? Consider donating clothes you no longer need to one of these organizations that offer pickup services in Chicago.
The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
The YWCA accepts new or gently used clothing and shoes. The YWCA sorts donations and sends them to three thrift stores run by Charity Clothing Pickup. Be sure to put all the clothing into a bag and close it to make transporting the items easier for movers. Here's a list of everything they accept.
To schedule a pickup call (773) 486-8010 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cancer Federation
The Cancer Federation also accepts clothing donations. On their website, you can view the entire list of needed items. This organization needs clothing for adults, children, and infants, and even accessories like belts or purses. You can also donate vehicles or cash donations to support their mission.
Bag the donations and visit The Cancer Federation’s website to request a pickup.
Other donation resources:
If you find any books you would like to donate while spring cleaning, we've tracked down the local organizations that can use them.