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How to prepare your items for donation

Becky Engen

You've got an item (or items) to donate, and you know where you're going to donate them. Now what?

For some donations, it's as easy as throwing the items into a box or bag and dropping them off. But it's always a good idea to take a few simple steps to make sure your donation is in good condition before dropping it off or scheduling a pick up.

donation drop off

1) Clean it

Although it may sound like common sense, some items are donated in poor condition, and are even turned away by organizations when people skip this step.  A simple wash or wipe-down are generally all that's needed, and is always appreciated by the donation recipient. 

2) Assemble all the pieces

For items that may have many smaller pieces as part of a larger unit (think toy sets, hardware for furniture, battery charger for power tools, etc.), be sure to assemble and attach all of the parts to your donation. Labeling pieces in separate plastic storage bags can be helpful, as well as including any instructions or manuals that may accompany your item(s). If you have a larger item you're donating, consider labeling the dimensions or weight on a piece of masking tape and adhering it to the item in a logical spot. 

These preparation steps are immensely helpful for donation teams, and can help eliminate extra steps for staff and volunteers when they process and sort the donations. It also ensures that they can ask for the best price when reselling your item, since it will have all of the parts and manuals included.

3) Consider how you transport the item

Does the receiving organization have any requirements on how items are bundled (cardboard box, plastic bag, other)? If you don't know, it's best to look up donation guidelines on the organization's website, or call the location directly. 

For larger items - will some minor disassembly make transporting the item easier? Can you wrap or tie pieces together? Will you need blankets, straps, or other materials to transport your item and reduce risk of damage? Taking these extra considerations into account will help make sure your donation is successful, and that your item doesn't get turned away at the donation door due to transport damage.

new restore truck 5

Tips on preparing items for a ReStore donation pick-up:

In addition to the tips above, here are some important reminders for anyone scheduling a donation pick up with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlets.

  • Please place items outside the home (garage, driveway, etc). Our staff cannot enter a residence to pick up items or assist with moving them.
  • Please clearly label items as "Habitat ReStore Donation" to visually verify the donation for our truck drivers.
  • If there is inclement weather in the forecast, please call our Donations Team to discuss the placement of items for pick up.

A final thought

Any time spent preparing your items for donation will increase the likelihood of the organization accepting the donation.  It will also be appreciated by the recipient organization—and in turn, the future owner of the items.

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Topics: Tips and Tricks, Donate, 2018