7 Ways to Clear Out Your Old Stuff and Help a Family Who Can Desperately Use It

Did you know the stuff you’re looking to throw out can actually change a family’s life? …

With the holiday season once again upon us, millions of Canadians will be touched by good cheer and receive gifts from friends and loved ones this December. At this time of the year, it’s important to think about charities that will accept in-kind donations when you make room for the new… When you factor in the increased popularity of Black Friday in Canada, household shopping in November and December will continue to rise for many Canadians.

According to a recent survey by Accenture, Canadians expect to spend $873, on average, on holiday shopping in 2016. This marks an increase of 17 per cent over the $744 they expected to spend in 2015.

Furthermore, more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of Canadian shoppers surveyed were expected to shop on Black Friday in 2016, compared with 60 per cent in 2015. This metric is remarkable when you consider that more Canadian survey respondents said they will shop on the traditionally American shopping day than did U.S. respondents (70 per cent versus 65 per cent).

While millions of Canadian will be spending far and wide this holiday season, millions more will go without. Not all Canadians will be making additions to their households this December but many will be clearing space to accommodate gifts and big ticket items purchased on Black Friday or Boxing Day.

Why not create a new holiday tradition in 2016 by instituting a “one in, one out” policy in your home? For every major gift or holiday purchase that enters your household, the opportunity is there to gift back and make an in-kind donation to a local charity. Think of it as a “carbon credits” model for your home and a natural opportunity to share goodwill and togetherness with environmental benefits in support of Canadians in need.

Here are seven gift categories that are popular during the holiday season and for each, a Canadian charity or social enterprise that would gladly accept gently used goods or in-kind donations on behalf of its clients.



The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) Clothesline accepts gently used clothing, cloth based items, bedding, footwear, and more. Canadians can donate to the CDA Clothesline in one of three ways (online, by phone or in person). Beyond clothes, the CDA also accepts small consumer electronics including cell phones, laptops, tablets, iPods, digital cameras and gaming consoles.

New Circles is a clothing bank that works with referring agencies to redistribute clothes to families who need it. Over the holidays they can use sweaters, raincoats, winter coats, snow suits, snow pants, sweat pants, boots, scarves, hats and gloves. Donations are accepted on-site at 161 Bartley Dr, North York, during regular business hours.

Baby Items

The New Mom Project redistributes gently used baby clothes and other baby gear to families in need. The New Mom Project’s mission is to support new families in a confidential and non-judgmental manner by providing basic baby necessities. Their Canadian Baby Boxes, distributed to new moms in need across the Greater Toronto area, include items such as basic clothing, blankets, toys and books

Laptop Computers

Free Geek, a fellow social enterprise, collects used computers and offers both a drop off location in downtown Toronto plus a paid pickup service. Free Geek has a simple vision: “To make our city a place where e-waste is disposed of responsibly, safely and ethically, and where everyone has access to computers and the Internet.” It’s mission includes reducing the environmental impact of e-waste through reuse and recycling, and increasing access to computing and communications technologies.

Children’s Books

The Children’s Book Bank of Regent Park area of Toronto offers a drop off location for books for children up to age 12. Families in need are welcome to visit as often as they wish and every person is permitted to take and keep one book per visit. The Children’s Book Bank is staffed by child literacy experts who assist the customers in selecting appropriate books and who provide advice and support on literacy issues. A great rule of thumb for donations to the Children’s Book Bank? If you would gift the book to a child, then it would be a great book for them!

Sporting Goods & Camping Gear

The Sharing Depot, a community hub started by The Toronto Tool Library Team, gives members access to a wide range of things without having to own or store them. The organization’s mission “envisions a world that responds to these crises by sharing resources, creating resilient projects and communities, motivating us to our highest potential”. They accept donations of camping and sports equipment, board games, toys and house party supplies.


If you’re updating your kitchen this holidays, Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great option for donating major appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and washing machines. Beyond the holidays, ReStore also accepts other homebuilding materials such as cabinetry, sinks and countertops. Those looking to give back in southern Ontario can also donate the gift of time. In the GTA alone, 10,000 volunteers contribute over 100,000 hours each year to supporting Habitat for Humanity GTA.

Furniture and Housewares

Donating furniture during the holidays is a great way to clear space in your home while giving back to families in need. Various furniture banks across the province are committed to ensuring all individuals and families transitioning out of displacement and homelessness are given the best possible chance to succeed in their new lives – through a furnished home. Options across Canada include Furniture Bank – TorontoMississauga Furniture BankJRCC – Vaughan and Matthew House OttawaHelping with Furniture – OttawaHomeStart Foundation – Vancouver.

Call to book a pickup of your used furniture in the GTA. (416) 934-1229 Ext # 2.

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