For homeowners who embrace the simplicity of having less “stuff,” or who don’t like the idea of putting still usable building materials into landfills, the tricky part is often not what to get rid of, but how to do it.
Small items, like clothing and accessories are easily sent to local charities for resale, but what about the larger items like furniture and appliances? Putting them to use somewhere else is an ideal “green” strategy, and thanks to a growing number of local options, very easy to do.
For items in ready-to-use condition:
Many homeowners dispose of sofas, bed frames, dressers and dining pieces because they are no longer needed or wanted, not because they are worn out or broken. Some of larger programs include:
- The Home to Stay Furniture Donation Program, part of the City of Chicago’s Family and Support Services, places donated furniture directly into participating homes.
- Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore warehouses have multiple locations throughout Northern Illinois that accept furniture for future installations.
- There are a growing number of local pro-bono interior design groups like Designs for Dignity and Designing for Veterans that accept specific items needed for projects they are working on at the time of donation. Contact them directly to determine their current needs
- Spring rummage sales will soon be starting, and they need donations. Here’s the 2011 list of local church sales with contact information. (We’ll update this with the 2012 dates as soon as we have them.)
- LEAD in Lake Forest already has their date (April 27) and they’re accepting goods now. Here’s the link to their specific requiests for their Upscale Rummage Sale.
For items that can be repurposed:
Some pieces need more than a new space to call home, and finding ways to recycle things like cabinets, doors, light fixtures and moldings pulled out during a renovation can be a bit more challenging.
Here are several local warehouses and re-building groups that provide a clearinghouse for high quality building products.
- The Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse resells items like cabinets, light fixtures, doors and moldings, using the proceeds for job training and development.
- The Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago accepts similar items, creatively helping builders re-purpose materials in innovative ways.
- The Solid Waste Agency for Northern Cook County’s Green Pages Directory is a thorough directory of local recycling sources broken down by category and type. It also helps find places that accept electronics and appliances.
All of these options try to make donating effortless, with flexible hours of operation and some even offer pick up service.