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Spring Cleaning: What to Toss and What to Donate

Spring Cleaning: What to Toss and What to Donate

Sun shining late into the evening, warming temperatures, and melting snow can only mean one thing: spring is here. And that means it's the perfect time do some spring cleaning!

Box labeled "donations" with a heart on it.Before you get trash-happy, consider what items you can donate. You may be surprised to find that much of what you don't need or want anymore can be donated. You'll not only keep items out of the landfill, but you'll make another family very happy.

But where do you start? We'll help you identify some things you didn't know you could donate (and tell you where to donate them) and some things that are better sent to the trash.

Things You Didn't Know You Could Donate

These recommendations are current as of March 2023.

Sports Equipment

Did you upgrade to a new catcher's mitt, grow out of your hockey skates, get a new softball bat for your birthday, or buy a new bicycle? Instead of letting the old stuff collect dust in the garage, donate it to Goodwill or resell to Play it Again Sports. Rest assured, someone else will be overjoyed to buy your equipment at an affordable price.


If you wear glasses, you're well aware that your prescription changes year to year, requiring you to buy a new pair of glasses. So, what do you do with the old ones? Unless they can be used as a costume prop for Halloween, donate them. Typically, your local Lion's Club will accept them—or drop them off at a nearby eye doctor's office.

Lawn Mowers

Although not typically part of your spring cleaning regimen, if you have an old lawnmower in the shed or you recently upgraded to a new one, you can donate the old one instead of letting it sit and collect dust. Your local Salvation Army will take it, and sometimes local mechanics will accept it and use it for parts.


Donated side-by-side silver fridge at ReStore.Did you recently renovate your laundry room, complete with a new washing machine and dryer? What happened to the old ones? If you still have them, consider donating them to one of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's ReStore locations, as long as they fit under ReStore’s Donation Guidelines.

Same goes for that kitchen renovation. We’ll take your unused refrigerator (no commercial models or built-ins), freezer, or stove or vent hood. (Note: Appliance donations to the ReStore must be less than 10 years old. Determine the age of your appliance here.)

Building Materials

We know homeownership comes with a list of projects to complete around the house. Whether you did some plumbing or there's still extra lumber from that deck you built last summer, there's a place to donate your leftover building materials. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's ReStore locations will accept the following items:

  • Copper or PVC pipe
  • Lumber
  • Plywood
  • Tile (new only)
  • Flooring (new only)

Click here for a complete list of accepted items.


If you did any kind of painting during the last year, you probably have a partially used gallon of paint taking up space in your garage or storage room. You don't want throw it away or dump it down the drain. Good thing both ReStore locations are drop-off sites for Paint Care recycling. Up to five, one-gallon containers or less are accepted per visit. Please visit www.paintcare.org for more information. Containers must have original label.

Cars, RVs, and Boats

Have a car sitting in your driveway that hasn't run for years? Maybe it's an old RV or boat? Lucky for you, Habitat for Humanity's Cars for Homes program takes donated boats, cars, and other large vehicles and sells them to raise money for our homebuilding projects. This includes cars, boats, and RVs, even if they don't currently run. And your donation is tax deductible.

Things You Should Throw Out

Outdated Medicine and Vitamins

While you're spring cleaning, you may find some leftover medications you no longer need or that are expired. Although these medications should be discarded, it's best not to just throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet, where they will most likely end up in a landfill or the water supply, respectively.

Your best option for expired medications and vitamins is to locate a "take back" program in your area. Your local pharmacy might have one, or Hennepin County's Medical Disposal site can help you locate one. If you can't find one of these programs, call your primary care physician to see if they have a "black box program." Many doctor's offices have an expired medicine pick-up service with their biohazardous waste program and can add your medications to their black box. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Expired Food

It's a good idea to clean out your kitchen cabinets or pantry while spring cleaning. Check all the canned goods for expiration dates, and throw away any cans that are expired, badly dented, or bulging. Give your refrigerator a good cleaning, too, by getting rid of expired food and uneaten leftovers. Then, wipe down all the shelves and bins.

Will ReStore take my donation?

Don’t worry—even if you have items that you don't think you can bring to a ReStore location, you can request a pickup!

If you found some miscellaneous items you no longer want or need during your cleanup but they weren’t listed above, check out the ReStore’s donation guidelines– there’s much more on there.

Now that you've cleaned the clutter, enjoy spring and summer with a clear conscience. You've earned it!

Free donation pickup - schedule now

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