With the holidays upon us, ‘tis the season of heavy boots, hot chocolate, and the stress of finding the perfect gifts. Although it may feel like gift-giving is a hassle, there is a lot to be gained from the process, according to the website www.happify.com. Scientifically speaking, gift-giving releases dopamine and oxytocin, hormones that trigger positive feelings and lower stress levels. In addition, studies show that oxytocin makes people feel even more generous and empathetic towards other people for up to two hours – creating a cycle of goodness!
Volunteering and donating to charities elicits the same positive feelings. A recent study showed that in 120 out of 136 countries, people who donated to charities reported as much satisfaction with life than as if they had doubled their household income. That helps explain why donating our clutter makes us feel so good!
Donate Your Clutter to Our Favorite Charities
We are fortunate to work with many charities that accept donations of all kinds of household items and clothes. Here are few favorites for you to consider donating your time, money, or unwanted items. For more donation details visit our Chicago-area Donation Places page.
Amvets aids veterans from all branches of the military, providing career counseling, help with compensation claims, scholarships and support. They advocate for veterans programs and have more than 70 sites throughout the country. Donations of used clothing, household goods and toys are sold in thrift stores. In Illinois you can call 1-800-732-1708 for a pickup.
The ARK provides free social and medical services to help members of the Chicagoland Jewish community get back on their feet, with the primary goal to stabilize clients’ situations and achieve the highest degree of self-reliance possible. The ARK operates a Thift Shop in Chicago and also accepts donations at its Northbrook location.
Founded in the basement of a Manhattan church, Dress for Success is an international nonprofit organization granting women the power to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire, networking support and career development tools. The local affiliate in Chicago is Worldwide Central, located at 70 E. Lake Street.
When you donate your new and gently used items to Goodwill, they are sold in stores and online generating funds for valuable employment training and job placement services. Last year, Goodwill helped more than 312,000 people train for careers. There are dozens of stores throughout the Chicago area, including Palatine, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, and Lake Zurich to name a few.
Open Books has reached hundreds of thousands of students through book grant programs, community events, and literacy partnerships. Volunteers power their reading and writing programs for more than 5,000 students every year. Funding comes in large part from the sale of donated books at their Pilsen and West Loop stores, as well as online.
The Salvation Army’s motto is “Doing the most good.” This good includes food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking, and numerous children’s programs. Items sold in Salvation Army Family stores support their mission. Donate at 14 locations in the Chicago area or schedule a free pickup of items.
This Glen Ellen, IL- based charity wants to inspire people, through education, to preserve and care for the Earth’s natural resources, while working to build sustainable communities. They reuse and recycle books, school supplies, and buttons, supporting schools in need.
WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger)
WINGS is a program dedicated to provide housing, integrated services, education, and advocacy to end domestic violence for women. Three resale stores in Schaumburg, Niles and Arlington Heights accept donations of furniture, household items and clothing to support their mission.