By Liana Cannon
It’s that time of year when we pull out the old bins, sort through the closet, and get rid of all the “stuff!” Quarantine life gives us plenty of time to de-junk and organize, but there’s one big roadblock – where do you take it?
While some of the more obvious places are closed (Deseret Industries, Savers, The Salvation Army), there are some smaller community options you may not know about.
I called around to see where our unwanted items could land – and discovered five places around Utah that are still accepting donations.
Many Utah locals’ first instinct when donating used items is to head for Deseret Industries. But “Goodwill” stores serve the same purpose and help the community in similar ways. When you donate items to “Goodwill,” they will sell the items in their stores or on shopgoodwill.com and use those proceeds to give employment training and job placement services to people in need around the community.
There are two locations in Utah, one at 6042 South State Street in Murray, and the other at 4545 South 900 East in Salt Lake City. They accept donations Monday through Saturday from 10am- 5pm and Sundays from 11am-4pm. Just pull up to the south side of the building and there will be a big donation bin and cardboard boxes where you can unload items. To keep things safe during Covid-19 regulations, employees will wait until you have left to come out and collect your donations.
The Other Side Thrift Boutique
This little thrift store employs students from The Other Side Academy, an alternative program for men and women facing long-term incarceration. Many of the employees are convicts, substance abusers, or homeless individuals who are striving to learn self-governance and improve their lives. The thrift store not only helps the academy be self-sustainable with the revenue it generates, but also helps students who work there learn marketing, business, and trade skills.
The Other Side Thrift Boutique is located at 4290 South State Street in Salt Lake City. You can bring anything that’s not damaged out to their back dock Monday through Saturday from 9am-4pm. If you’re worried about leaving the house or being in close proximity with others, another great option would be their home pickup service. They will send a driver to your door to pick up the donations from your doorstep! Just email pictures of your items with your address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cavalry Thrift is a ministry of the Calvary Church in Salt Lake City. Their service motto is sculpted by the scripture posted on their website in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” All their proceeds go back into the community and various relief organizations.
They are located at 7800 South 3200 West in Salt Lake City by Dollar Tree. They accept a wide variety of donations that you can bring around the back of the store Mondays through Fridays 10am-3:45pm. If you want a 20% off coupon for future use, they require a minimum donation of a large box or full shopping bag (24″ x 12″ x 12″) of reusable items.
Volunteers of America Detoxification
This institution offers self-reliance programs and health services for people who struggle with homelessness, addiction, and mental illnesses in Utah. They have various facilities targeting vulnerable populations in different situations, including men, women, and children. All the donations go directly to the members of the detoxification centers and transition homes who are in need of clothing and supplies.
Currently, they aren’t accepting used donations due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but if you’re cleaning out the closet or garage and find some new or unopened items you don’t need, this is a great place for those unused treasures! Their website has an exclusive wish list you can visit at voaut.org/in-kind, but as I talked with them, they mentioned some items they are in desperate need of are underwear and socks for men, women, and children. Toiletries and hygiene products also make it high on their wish list.
Their Youth Resource Center and Center for Women and Children accept the donations and distribute them to the needy through their other branches. They are located at 888 South 400 West in Salt Lake City and accept donations Mondays through Fridays from 10am-5pm.
Rescue Mission Women’s Center
I enjoy making donations here because it’s a very personal experience. This Rescue Mission Center is located in a small residential house at 1165 State Street in Salt Lake City. It houses women fleeing domestic violence or that are in addiction recovery and also occasionally the children of these women. The women come out themselves and help you unload the donations from your car and often immediately begin using them. All the donations go to the women and children housed there and they are always accepting donations of every kind (new and used) from 8am-5pm. They are in high demand of toiletries and hygiene products, however, their most needed item right now is food, either hot food or non-perishable. With up to 14 women housed there, they are in desperate need of fruits, veggies and dairy products.
As I called around, I discovered many other organizations that might not be accepting clothing or household donations at this time are still in need of food donations. So, if you’re cleaning out your cupboards or fridge, there are several locations that would make good use of those unwanted goodies! The Salt Lake City Mission at 1151 South Redwood Road accepts donations at their back drop off location Mondays through Fridays from 7:30am-3pm. Most foodbanks and local coalitions are also in need of food. They mentioned to me that community food pantries and services are seeing an influx of people that they don’t usually see right now due to the recent loss of jobs and are having to double the number of boxes of food they distribute.
As you finish up your spring cleaning and work through your cupboards and closets, keep these organizations in mind! Also remember, though, most second-hand stores accept anything except mattresses, box springs, tube televisions, chemicals, baby items (bouncers, cribs, or things that could be recalled), and used batteries. Most of these places also offer tax write-off slips and even coupons to shop later if you ever find yourself in need of a little something. If you’d like to purchase something at a thrift store, some of them have online shopping options or let you drive around back and stand on the dock to have employees bring items out to you to peruse. Enjoy a unique quarantine shopping experience while also lifting your community!