Nonprofit thrift stores, like Goodwill or Threads of Hope, use purchases to fund job training or food banks within the larger organization. They’re great places to take your unwanted things all year round.

But taking the time to donate your unwanted belongings to the right place can help make sure they go where they are most needed. (And if you’re someone with object attachment issues, it might be easier to let go if you know it’s going to the “right” place.)

Maine Needs is a new nonprofit in Portland that collects and distributes clothing, hygiene products, household items and other necessities across the state through a network of volunteers. They work with schools, caseworkers, shelters and more to focus on people who are “starting life over from scratch: domestic abuse survivors, asylum seekers and those facing financial hardships.” Visit to see what they are accepting and their drop-off dates on Forest Ave. in Portland.

Furniture Friends distributes home furnishings to people in need in the greater Portland area. They served over 550 homes in 2019, partnering with over 120 local organizations to collect referrals. Furniture Friends can pick up your items, though the wait time is a little longer with COVID-19 safety protocols. Start the donation process at by making sure your items meet the criteria.

Mutual aid groups are informal, person-to-person organizations. These days, it helps to have a Facebook or Instagram account in order to connect with them. Some, like the Maine People’s Housing Coalition work to direct items to people experiencing homelessness or who have recently found housing.

Other groups, often found asbuy nothinggroups on social media, are populated with people in your neighborhood who are searching for and giving away all sorts of items. In addition to creating an opportunity to declutter, they will socially connect you with community during a time that we remain physically distant.

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