I was driving home from dinner with friends one evening several years ago with my then-2-year-old daughter in the back seat. As we passed the Sears store in Shoreline, she roused from her semi-sleep and begged: “Mommy, we go store!”
“No, honey, we don’t need anything,” I replied.
“We go store!” Said with a little more urgency.
“No, we don’t need anything,” I tried again. With that, my daughter let out a wail that would have been appropriate had a large stone dropped on her foot. It went on for several minutes.
Finally, exasperated, I asked her: “Maddy, what do you want at the store?”
Indignant, red-faced, my 2-year-old sputtered, “I … (hiccup) … want … (sniffle) … STUUUUUFFFFFFFF!”
In that moment, our daughter disappeared, replaced by a Consumer Monster, a Mothra with golden curls.
While this hilarious memory still causes both me and Maddy’s dad (and now Maddy, too) to laugh, when it happened it also caused us to rethink how much time we spent dragging our daughter around stores. It rankled the PC mother in me and forced us to consider the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and taking the focus off consumption of “stuff” we didn’t need.
Years later, my daughter and I are avid recyclers – purchasing clothes at secondhand stores to reduce industry waste and donating items we haven’t used or needed in a year to places that distribute good quality used items to families in need. We’ve pretty much got the lay of the land on where to donate.
So, where do you go when you are ready to send your gently used kid stuff back out into the world for another family’s use? Try this list of organizations that accept donations of new and gently-used items.
Editors note, 2021: Be sure to check with the organization to get the latest on their ability to accept donations during the pandemic. Some groups have limited hours or aren’t doing pickups.
Schedule at Home Pick Up: If you’d like a local organization to come to your home and collect your donations of kids’ clothes, furnishings and other items, just log on to Donation Town and follow the easy steps to find a group near you and schedule a pick up.
Wellspring’s baby boutique provides free children’s and maternity items such as clothing, shoes, diapers, toys, and equipment to families who are homeless. Among items needed: clothing, learning, teething and ride-on toys, pajamas, headphones, books, dolls, games and more. Baby Boutique accepts donations Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Email email@example.com with questions. 1900 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle.
Children’s Seattle Hospital Thrift Stores
The hospital’s stores accept gently used jewelry, clothing, furniture, collectibles, coins, linens, shoes and more. Donation drop offs in all stores are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Various locations.
Eastside Baby Corner
The Baby Corner is currently looking for items like bikes and bike helmets, winter coats, clothing, socks, bassinets, high chairs, small toys, books, portable cribs, strollers, diapers and more. Donations are accepted Monday 5 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon at 1510 N.W. Maple St., Issaquah, or check here for other locations.
Your donations of new and reusable items help fund Goodwill’s free job training and education programs for low-income and disadvantaged individuals in the community. Goodwill accepts all things for kids and family from clothing to furniture to kids’ toys and more.
Hopelink collects clothing, furnishings and other gently used goods to help families in need throughout King County. Hopelink’s Sno-Valley Center accepts clothing, shoes and bedding during regular business hours. The organization also accepts gently used furnishings that are in excellent condition at various sites. Most needed are complete queen and twin beds, kitchen tables and chairs, dressers, small couches, lamps, small tables and bookshelves. Items should not have any tears or stains and should be structurally sound. Hopelink also partners with Volunteers of America for vehicle donation. If you have a car, boat or other vehicle you would like to donate (running or not), please call 1-877-CAR-4-VOA (1-877-227-4862). They will coordinate pick up of the vehicle and all paperwork. Mention Hopelink when calling. Hopelink centers accept donations during their opening hours, which are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, except for the Sno-Valley Center, which is closed on Fridays. Various locations.
Northwest Center accepts clothing and household items to support children and adults with disabilities. To schedule a donation pick up or to learn more about how to give to Northwest Center, visit the Center’s website.
St. Joseph’s Westside Baby
Westside Baby takes donations to help families in need. Any lightly used children’s clothes and toys are very welcome, as well as formula or diapers. Make sure that all items are clean and in good condition. Not sure about an item? If you would purchase it from a thrift store for your own family, then it’s probably fine. Donations may be dropped off at multiple locations.
St. Vincent De Paul Council of Seattle/King County
From new clothes at the beginning of the school year to Christmas/holiday season assistance for needy families, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers help children and families with a variety of needs all year long. St. Vincent’s accepts all sorts of household goods, baby equipment, clothing and more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their free store, the Wearhouse, is stocked with things kids in foster car need and want to feel good and fit in. You can drop off donations of new and like new clothing, supplies and toys at Treehouse. Currently they are looking for boys and girls denim, long sleeved tops and joggers and hoodies for teenage boys. 2100 24th Ave. S., drop off hours are Tuesday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm and Saturday, 10 am-2 pm.