It’s spring! Time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine and the warm weather. It’s also time clean out closets, organize your garage, rearrange your storage area and purge. This may be my favorite part of spring — getting rid of the stuff we don’t need anymore. There are so many options for recycling your stuff nowadays. Let’s look at some of the choices we have here in the Corridor.
There are many options for donating household items and clothing in our area. By donating to any of these organizations you’re not only giving your stuff one more chance to be useful before heading to the landfill, you’re also supporting good causes in our community. Below are just a few that I am familiar with.
Goodwill – Goodwill’s mission is to advance the social and economic well-being of people who experience barriers to independence. They accept a wide range of household items and clothing. They have two locations in Cedar Rapids, one in Marion, one in Coralville and one in Iowa City. Find all the locations and hours of operations at their website. Find a list of allowable items and items they cannot accept here.
Salvaton Army – The Salvation Army’s mission is to meet human needs (often in times of natural disaster) in the name of Jesus Christ. Funds made at the stores support their adult rehabilitation programs. There are three Family Stores (formerly Thrift Stores) located in Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City. You can also call to schedule a pick-up for large items or a large quantity of items.
Habitat ReStore – The Habitat ReStore accepts new and used building materials and related items. You can see a list here. Items need to be in working condition. Funds are used to support Habitat builds in our community and around the world. There is a location in downtown Cedar Rapids and one in Iowa City. Items donated must be in good working order.
Young Parents Network – The Young Parents Network operates a We Care Shop for participants in their programs. They earn points for healthy behaviors and can redeem points for baby care items in the shop. Check their list to see what they need.
Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Centers – Bridgehaven (formerly Aid to Women) empowers women and families to make healthy choices regarding relationships, pregnancy, and parenting. They have a resale shop called Treasures in Cedar Rapids. Find a list of items they accept here.
Olivet Neighborhood Mission – The Olivet Neighborhood Mission has a program called Clothing Closet through which they distribute clothing and household items to people in need.
Stuff Etc. Charitable Accounts – Maybe you already knew that Stuff, Etc. in Cedar Rapids and Iowa are resale consignment stores. But maybe you didn’t know that non-profits can set up charitable consignment accounts at Stuff, Etc. They don’t publish a list of participating organizations, but you could check with your favorite charity to find out if they have an account. Several churches and schools in town have accounts as well as some nonprofit human services organizations. If you are so inclined you may even set up an account for your church or other favorite charity. It’s easy to set up and easy for donors to contribute.
Freecycle – While it doesn’t support a local charitable cause, Freecycle is another great option that is also not-for-profit. Freecycle is a website that is run by local volunteers. Users can post items they would like to give away to someone else or can post a request for an item someone else may be willing to part with. You post an item, someone says they’ll take it, you agree on a day/time to leave it for them to claim from your curb and that’s that. It’s quite satisfying to know someone else has claimed an item you no longer need.
While there are a lot of options for donating working and usable items, sometimes you have items that you just need to dispose of. Be sure to check out the recycling options at the Linn County Solid Waste Agency. There are two locations in Cedar Rapids and they do their best to recycle as many materials as possible to avoid filling the landfill. The East Side Recycling Center in Iowa City offers many of the same recycling services.
Of course many items can now go in your CURBY–that big blue recycle bin from the City of Cedar Rapids. Check out the list to know for sure what is OK to go in your CURBY. Iowa City curbside recylcing guidelines can be found here.
There are a lot more options than what I have listed here. These are just a few that I am familiar with.
What other organizations do you know of that can benefit from our unwanted things?