1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Money Matters
  4. Spring Cleaning: Where to Donate Items Most Donation Centers Won’t Accept
Donation CenterSpringtime always seems like the best time to start fresh! Green grass, sunshine and warmer temperatures practically demand a clean slate – which is why so many of us deep clean our homes to make way for the new.

While cleaning out your closets, you may find some items that you just need to get rid of. While taking them down to Goodwill or a similar donation center is an easy solution, many donation centers won’t accept everything you need to get rid of. So what do you do with those random items that nobody else seems to want? Glad you asked! Here are some items that are commonly not accepted by donation centers and ways you can responsibly get rid of them.


Computers and other electronics contain chunks of metal that can be hazardous to the environment. Plus, your computer contains a lot of personal information you don’t want others to have access to. In other words, leaving your old computer out on the curb isn’t ideal.

So how do you dispose of a computer? First, you’ll want to remove all personal information from the device. You can back it up on an external hard drive first so you don’t lose important information like financial or legal documents. If you have any accounts (like your Apple account, for example) authorized on your computer, you’ll want to de-authorize those. Uninstall any programs you have on your computer, like Microsoft Word or Adobe Reader. Now that your information and programs are removed, you can go ahead and wipe your drive. If you’re not sure where to start with that, don’t worry! Best Buy’s Geek Squad put together a helpful video tutorial to walk you through the process.

Once you’ve removed any personal or important information from your computer, you can safely donate it for recycling. Organizations like e-Stewards responsibly recycle electronics. If you want to make a few bucks off of your unwanted computer, you can take it into your local Best Buy. They have a great trade-in program, and you’ll leave with a Best Buy gift card.

Baby Items

This one might be more surprising, but many donation centers won’t accept larger baby pieces. Items that are often recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, like cribs, high chairs, strollers and car seats, may not be accepted. If you don’t have a friend or family member expecting a child soon, getting rid of these items can seem like a burden – but it doesn’t have to be!

Most cities have crisis pregnancy centers or family planning centers that assist young women who have been on the streets or just don’t have a lot of support. They are often in need of big items like these and would welcome donations.

Large Household Appliances

There are some big environmental concerns when disposing of bulky household appliances like refrigerators, stoves and water heaters. Chemicals inside of these items, and the metal, aren’t good for the environment, so if your donation center doesn’t accept them, you certainly shouldn’t take them out to the trash pile.

A good place to start is by checking the Habitat for Humanity ReStore site near you to see if they’re accepting large household items. Habitat for Humanity will even arrange a pick-up time for your donation so you don’t have to worry about transportation.

If Habitat for Humanity is not accepting items at this time, you’ll have to rely on other options. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should check to see if your area has an electric bounty program. If not, you should contact your municipal department of public works to see how they collect and dispose of refrigerated appliances and other large household appliances.


Most donation centers accept books, but getting rid of your encyclopedia collection is a little trickier. If your donation center doesn’t take them, you don’t have to hold on to them. There are plenty of other places that would love to take the encyclopedias off your hands.

Try boxing up your encyclopedias and dropping them off at a local used bookstore. If you’re looking for a more purposeful use for your old encyclopedias, try local schools and libraries. Schools can use the encyclopedias in classrooms or in their library, and local libraries sometimes use donated books to stock shelves.

Are there any other items you’ve had a problem donating? Tell us how you got rid of them in our comment section!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I have a beautiful complete set of 1993 (15th edition) Encyclopedia Britannica that belonged to my dad.
    If anyone knows a place or person who wants them, I’m letting them go. We’re moving & this is the move they can’t come along. Beautifully written articles & illustrations–the online version is a far different experience–invaluable of course–but not the same as curling up with the text.
    Thanks, from northern VA.

  2. A recent hurricane destroyed my entire set of Encyclopedias and the Great Books dating back to a purchase date @ early 70s. My insurance company insists on a value for each individual volume in order to be compensated. Depreciation is the “elephant in the room”. Having no receipt from that time how do l pursue this?

    1. Hi Gerald,
      I sympathize! A tornado hit our little town in South Jersey back in September, 2021. The damage to structures and trees was unbelievable. However, our beautiful full set of leather bound 1990’s Encyclopedia Britanica books survived intact. As my wife and I are retired and looking to downsize we would be very happy to donate our volumes to you or any good home, business or organization.
      If interested, let us know.

  3. Our encyclopedias are from the 1970s, very outdated. Feels so wasteful just dumping them we will try to send to recycling.

  4. How about 400+ old VHS tapes made while I was overseas (The places I was stationed either did not have very good television or radio, so I had to set up my VHS recorder to record while I was working.)

  5. I agree with the librarian. They dont’ want old encyclopedias and if they do take your books they only want the newest ones. Old ones will be sold off at those book fairs like they have at the mall. I managed to get rid of my old encyclopedias at a senior home. I posted them on free cycle and this place with senior residences was trying to create a library. So they took the encyclopedias and some other older books that I had.

  6. Libraries ABSOLUTELY do NOT want your old encyclopedias and moldy old books. Libraries want to provide their patrons with new and exciting material, and we have no problem filling up our shelves.

    – a Public Librarian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *