Make Your Move Count For Charity: Items To Donate Instead Of Pack

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Whether you're headed across town, across the state or all the way across the country, moving into a new home is the classic time to make a fresh start in life. A career change, new friends and an entirely new environment to explore all await you at the other end of your journey. But how much of your old life will you bring with you? Household goods and existing furniture that fits your new space and style need to be moved, as well as clothing, keepsakes and favorite playthings for the kids and pets. Yet, as more than 35 million Americans that move each year likely discover, there are many items that can easily be left behind instead of taking up valuable space in the moving van.

These expendable items may be be small or substantial in size and have certain value for the way you've been living, but they simply don't fit your new lifestyle. Some items may not be worth the hassle to pack or expense to move when it makes more sense to replace them when you get settled at your new home. Regardless of why you're leaving them behind, many of these items can make a big difference to many charity organizations and the folks they help. From furniture and food to clothing and cars, you can donate what you don't want to move as long as the items are clean and functional.

As you sort and pack for your move, evaluate what you will keep, what goes in the trash, and what you donate, including these items:

Non-perishable Food

More than 750 moving companies across the country participate in the Move for Hunger program. When you are packing up your kitchen and pantry, set aside unopened containers and packages of non-perishable food. Participating moving and transportation companies will send a team to pick up the boxes and deliver them to a local food bank which will distribute the items locally to those in need. The website has a search feature to help you identify movers that support this service.

Furniture and Appliances

Habitat ReStores, owned by Habitat for Humanity organizations across the nation, will recycle new and lightly used furniture and appliances by selling it at a greatly reduced price in their home improvement stores. If you have leftover lumber and building material from projects around the house you are leaving, ReStore will also take that off your hands to use in its building projects or for resale. Many ReStore locations offer pick-up service, so you can make arrangements for them to remove the items before your moving van arrives.


Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Vietnam Veterans of America and numerous local charity thrift shops offer pick-up service. As you sort through your closets and drawers in preparation for the big move, gather outgrown clothes and garments you don't plan on wearing in your new location for one of these organizations to collect and distribute where they will do the most good. Many of these organizations will also take furniture, toys, books and small appliances.


A moving company can make arrangements to transport your vehicles to your new home if it's not convenient to drive there, but if you won't need one of your current vehicles at the new location, consider donating it. You may get a substantial tax deduction for the car donation, but you'll need to do your research first to ensure that the organization you select for the donation qualifies under IRS rules. The deduction amount is based on fair market value and you'll want to ensure that your selected charity is able to provide all the necessary paperwork to qualify.

When you've donated all of your extras, reach out to a moving company through a site like to get your moving services lined up as well. 

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