So, you’ve thanked your old sweaters, jeans, and kitchen appliances for their service and consigned them to the purgatory of the garage, swearing that you’ll get rid of them soon. Don’t let them become a permanent fixture. Toss that stuff in the car and donate items that no longer spark joy to one of our local non-profits or give them to a friend in need.
Before making the trek to the donation center, offer things you no longer wear or use to friends or family. That vase you’re ready to part with—your neighbor has been secretly coveting it for years. Here’s a chance to make her day.
Ask for an invite to the Facebook page for Lamorinda Treasures, where you can post photos and descriptions of items you’re ready to part with and get takers to collect them right from your doorstep.
Dedicated to creating a gift economy where people can offer goods and services to other members in their area free of charge, the Buy Nothing Project is a great resource for giving your old belongings a new lease on life.
The organization has chapters in Moraga, Orinda and Lafayette, each with its own unique Facebook page. Join the one closest to you and start sharing with others in your community.
Trash to Treasure
The Assistance League Thrift Shop at the Way Side Inn, conveniently located on Mt. Diablo Boulevard in downtown Lafayette accepts clothing, books, kitchenware and much more. Visit their website for a complete list of desired items as well as things they do not accept.
Proceeds from Way Side’s tidy shop are the major source of funding for The Assistance League of Diablo Valley, which provides support to children in need in Contra Costa County.
The organization’s Operation School Bell and Common threads programs supply kids with new clothing, including uniforms, shoes and underclothes at the beginning of each school year.
Additionally, the Assistance League aids families with infants at risk, puts together duffels bags for foster kids achieving independence and Assault Survivor Kits® for victims of sexual assault, funds scholarships for foster youth and donates groceries for CalWorks families in need.
Moraga’s outpost of Goodwill in the Rheem Shopping Center is open to receive your new and gently used household items, clothing, books and toys Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For furniture and other large pieces, call their “House Call Services” line at (510) 534-6666 to arrange for pick-up at your home.
Sales from donations to this international non-profit are used to fund programs helping people find work, train for new jobs and become financially independent.
Clean Out, Help Out
Founded by two local women, Grateful Gatherings is in the business of helping families recovering from homelessness get settled into new digs.
In one day, the organization, along with a cadre of volunteers, transforms each apartment or house into a fully furnished home using community donations of both new and used furniture, housewares and artwork.
Get on their mailing list to find out about their events and where to donate your gently used furnishings. Grateful Gatherings has no storage, so everything must be delivered directly to their collection sites for use that day.
Need a Pick-Up?
Call the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Contra Costa County at (925) 439-5060 to arrange for a pick-up of your furniture, clothing or household items. The Society is a Catholic lay organization providing anti-poverty services, including food and shelter as well as medical and dental care.
The Eyes Have it
Time for a new pair of specs? Donate your old frames at The Art and Science of Eyewear in Lafayette’s Fiesta Square. The shop will pass along your eyeglasses to the local chapter of the Lions Club. You do not need to be a customer in order to drop off.
Share Some Love with Your Local Library
Bookshelves overflowing? Head to one of Lamorinda’s three libraries and donate those self-help books that weren’t all that helpful (Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” excepted, of course).
At the Orinda library, enter the garage and leave your books behind the door marked “Book Donations”. The Moraga Library accepts donations, both fiction and non, in the bins just inside their entrance. Stop at the desk and ask for a receipt if you’re looking for a tax deduction.
Lafayette Library has a cabinet located near the front of the parking garage. The Friends of the Library bookshop asks that you remove your books from the bags and boxes and place them on the shelves in the cupboard.
If you only have a one or two books to give away, pull up to one of Lamorinda’s Little Free Libraries and exchange your novels for something new.
You never know what you’ll discover when you rifle through the charming little boxes your thoughtful neighbors have constructed in front of their houses and businesses.
You may even find a hardcover copy of that book you’ve been meaning to buy. For a list of local locations, visit the Little Free Library website and enter your zip code or keep your eyes peeled for signs while driving around town.
Kick it to the Curb
Twice a year during Reuse and Cleanup Days, you can place reusable items such as clothes, housewares and books out in front of your house for pick-up by RecycleSmart.
Visit their website for a list of acceptable items, which will be passed along to people in need or sold in thrift stores. The Reuse Program brochure should arrive in your mailbox about two weeks before your scheduled date.
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