You’ve cleaned, decluttered, and reorganized — now, what should you do with all of the unwanted items that you’ve unearthed around your home? The Chicagoland area is full of many unique organizations that will accept a wide variety of household items, allowing you to give away the things you no longer want or need while making a major difference in our community.
Finally ready to part with that old couch, or the car parts taking up space in your garage? Have a pile of arts and crafts supplies that could go to a new home? Ready to downsize, or clear out space before a new construction project?
Here’s just a sampling of some of the Chicago-area nonprofits, charities, and businesses making it easier to donate the household items you’re no longer using:
Furniture and Decor
Have a bulky bed frame or old school recliner taking up space in the basement? There are lots of ways to make sure your gently used furniture goes to a good home.
The Chicago Furniture Bank is a nonprofit that collects gently used furniture and common household goods, to help make sure that families and individuals around the region are able to enjoy the comfort of a furnished home.
Habitat for Humanity Chicago accepts a variety of gently used furniture items, appliances, and furnishings, which it sells at a steep discount through its ReStore — helping to eliminate waste from landfills while providing this organization with the funding it needs to create high quality housing in communities around Chicagoland.
The Society of St. Vincent DePaul offers convenient pickup and dropoff services, allowing you to donate furniture in good, usable condition.
The Brown Elephant collects donations of housewares, upholstered furniture, bookcases, dining room sets, end tables, and more, which it circulates back into the community. All sales from the Brown Elephant’s three locations benefit Howard Brown Health, which is committed to delivering expert care to Chicagoland’s LGBTQ+ community, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
Building Materials, Art Supplies, and Tools
Looking to clear out space in your shed or garage? Have plenty of unused building materials leftover from your last big DIY project? Across Chicagoland, you’ll find a number of unique organizations dedicated to making sure these unused raw materials are put to good use.
The Chicago Tool Library accepts donations of new and used tools, with a particular focus on “equipment that is either bulky to store, expensive to purchase, or rarely used by the average person.” This equipment will become a part of Chicago’s first tool lending library, which helps builders and makers around the area get access to the resources they need to tackle their goals.
Rebuilding Exchange collects many different types of building materials and construction supplies, in order to divert waste from landfills while helping to provide community members with access to job training, education, tools, and workspaces.
The WasteShed is a Chicago-based creative reuse center, which collects reusable art supplies and school materials and makes them available to teachers, artists, and anyone who needs them at an accessible price.
Creative Pitch collects art supplies and office materials and provides them to art therapists, art educators, and other local professionals, free of charge.
Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange collects and redistributes the surplus supplies and materials that are most in-demand among artists, teachers, and nonprofits, including paper products, office supplies, AV equipment, white boards and blackboards, classroom furniture, lumber, and more.
Ready to make a little extra room on your bookshelf for your next favorite novel? Finally ready to get rid of the books that your little ones have started to outgrow? There are lots of ways to make sure your gently used books end up in the hands of another passionate book lover.
Open Books Chicago collects new and used books through drop bins and storefronts around the Chicago area. Books donated through Open Books are used to support its literacy programs and resources, which benefit young readers in neighborhoods across Chicagoland.
Little Free Library is a program that encourages neighborhoods to participate in booksharing, by circulating used books around the community. To donate, simply find a Little Free Library location near you, leave behind your used books — and feel free to take a new read home with you.
Bernie’s Book Bank is a Chicagoland resource that collects books in order to safely and efficiently distribute free, high-quality reading materials to the children who need them most.
Cradles to Crayons focuses on helping children experiencing poverty to receive the essentials they need, including reading materials. Cradles to Crayons accepts donations of a wide range of new and gently used goods appropriate for children aged newborn to 12, including books and educational toys.
Reach Out & Read Illinois helps distribute early learning resources and hundreds of thousands of books to families every year, helping set young learners up for greater success by incorporating books into pediatric visits and encouraging families to read together. To help, individuals can donate gently used children’s books or sign up to organize a book drive in their community.
Musical Instruments and Gear
Ready to upgrade your gear? You can start by donating your used instruments and equipment to organizations that are helping people around Chicagoland build their skills and develop a lifelong love for music.
The Old Town School of Folk Music collects new and used instruments in functional condition, including guitars, banjos, mandolins, percussion, pedals, dulcimers, harps, and sitars. All instruments collected are used in the classroom, distributed through an outreach program, or resold to benefit the school’s ongoing mission and programs.
Music Inc. is dedicated to empowering all children by making music education more accessible. To support its mission, Music Inc. accepts donations of musical instruments and supplies, including music stands, instrument cases, and music books.
Girls Rock! Chicago supports music education programs for girls and transgender and gender expansive youth. Acceptable donations include musical instruments and gear, such as basses and guitars, amps, cases, and mic cables.
Intonation Music partners with schools, park districts, and community organizations to provide musical education to kids. Intonation accepts donations of working musical instruments and gear. You can also support this program by donating used guitars and accessories through Chicago Fret Works, which operates the Guitar Recycling Project.
Electronics, Computers, and Parts
Looking to get rid of your used cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices? Many major retailers and technology companies around Chicagoland accept e-cycling donations; you can learn more about where to drop off your gently used devices through the EPA.
FreeGeek Chicago recycles and refurbishes computers and computer-related hardware in any condition, and accepts donations of products ranging from video game consoles, to peripheral memory cards and cables, to laptops and computer towers. Its mission is to help provide functional computers, technology education, internet access, and job skills training throughout the community.
Bikes and Vehicles
Whether you have an old bike that needs some care, or a car taking up precious space on your driveway, there are lots of ways to help make sure your used vehicles go to good use.
Working Bikes collects donated bicycles and gives them “new life,” by distributing them throughout Chicago and to communities around the globe. Bikes collected through Working Bikes help to provide individuals and families with access to resources and opportunities — while reducing waste and pollution.
The Recyclery Collective is an educational bike shop, which creates opportunities for people of all backgrounds to “work, share, and learn together to support a practical form of transportation.” You can help support youth classes, community outreach, and skills training programs by donating used bicycles, bike parts, and tools.
West Town Bikes uses bikes as a tool for positive community transformation. You can donate bikes, tools, and gear by delivering them to the organization’s Ciclo Urbano location.
Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program collects cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment and construction equipment in order to support the organization’s mission of helping families “build strength, stability and self-reliance.”
Wheels for Wishes Illinois accepts donations of cars, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles to help provide funding to Make-A-Wish Illinois.
PAWS Chicago accepts vehicle donations to help fund its many lifesaving programs, including adoption drives and community outreach.
Chicagoland, We’re By Your Side — No Matter What
At Baird & Warner, our agents, loan originators, and staff have always taken great pride in being part of something bigger — part of a community that works together to make Chicagoland a better home for everyone.
Chicagoland is our home. We believe we help make it better when we give its residents the pride and security that comes with owning their home. We also believe in helping our employees thrive and doing our part to support the communities where we live and work — and that have supported us over all these years.
With all the uncertainty right now, we want you to know that we are here for you, no matter what. We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier. We will continue to provide the most updated information and guide you through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand.