Spring clean-out: Local organizations accepting donations

Mother and daughter preparing toys and clothes to donate for charity.

Last month, Chicago Parent blogger Katie gave us five simple tips for spring cleaning our lives. They are such great suggestions for purging and starting anew. Like Katie, every spring I purge belongings; everything from clothing and shoes, books, children’s gear, and general stuff that we’ve acquired in our storage space. If it will improve someone else’s lives rather than just sitting around collecting dust in my home, I want it out.


When giving back, it’s important to find out how your donation will actually be used and reach people in need. Check out sites like CharityWatch.org for more information.


While there are plenty of big charity organizations, including American Red Cross, United Way, Goodwill and Salvation Army, that are great and will accept most of your donations, some organizations have more specific needs.


Career warrior


If you have an exploding closet, these organizations could use your donations.


Dress for Success is a national organization that has helped impact more than 1 million women and counting! Its mantra is “to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”


Bridge to Success is a local organization with a similar mission to support both at-risk men, women and young adults citywide in the Chicago metropolitan area. They help with providing high-end interview and workplace appropriate clothing, as well as career coaching and confidence building.


Kids stuff


Our littles aren’t little forever, and so their wardrobes and essentials are constantly being upgraded. If you have items that can help other families, these three organizations are willing to take your stuff.


The Perfect Cadence is a local organization that aims to celebrate and shower new parents-to-be with the essentials and frills for their little ones. Twice a year, they set up a pop-up shop where families can shop wonderful items for free. They also host baby showers and prepare welcome baskets for new moms.


Share Our Spare is a local organization that takes your new or gently used items for families in need. Each month, they offer a few days on their website for scheduled drop-offs. They also need help with organizing. If you can share your time and are looking to give back, they have a “Sip and Sort” project that involves wine. I call that a win-win!


Cradles to Crayons is a national organization that recently expanded to Chicago in the last year. Did you know 1 in 3 children in Chicago lives in poverty? This organization creates KidPacks of new and gently used items for children between the ages of 0 to 10 years old. Find drop-off locations in your area via their website.


Special occasions


Fairy Godmothers gives girls the dress of their dreams for special occasions and dances. It’s prom season, so many of your daughters have either had their prom recently or it’s coming up. So what’s a girl to do with that dress when the big dance is over? Donate it, of course! The same could be said for many of those bridesmaid dresses that our dear bride friends claimed we could wear again.


Brides Across America provides first responder and military brides with wedding dresses for free. Since 2008, they have gifted more than 20,000 dresses. It was the dress of your dreams for your big day, why not give another woman the chance for it to be hers? I bet it’s just hanging in your closet anyway.


Do you have any other special organizations that didn’t make my list? I’d love to know more! Be sure to tell me what’s on your list via my Instagram post on @stephnthestrollersquad.


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