Where to Donate or Sell Your Spring Cleaning Castoffs

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NYC living spaces tend to be small. Add kids—and all of their stuff—and what do you have? No more room! If it’s time to clear some space in your place and you’re looking for somewhere to donate or sell unwanted items, New York City provides plenty of options. From shops that will give you cash for nearly-new kid’s clothes and books to civic programs that facilitate donating to non-profits and places you can bring bags of stuff, here’s our list of resources for helping you make a clean sweep!


photo: via Suzette on Flickr

To Unload Baby and Kid’s Clothing, Toys, and Gear

LuLu’s Then & Now
Kids grow so fast it’s not unusual to find items never or barely worn in the closet. (She was the perfect size for the summery Mini Boden dress in the middle of winter, etc.) 

Most local thrift stores are happy to take your gently-used infant and children’s clothing.  But maybe you want to make a bit of cash on those expensive designer dresses you purchased or that new-in-its-packaging Boppy or Ergo. There’s no shortage of high quality kids-focused consignment shops in NYC; check out a roundup of our faves, here.

Tip: Unlike most NYC consignment stores that only offer store credit in exchange for items, Park Slope store LuLu’s Then & Now gives you cash for the things you no longer need. How it works: Stop in with your in-good-condition, up-to-size-12 gently worn clothing and unused kids’ gear between 10 a.m. -4 p.m., daily. A staffer will assess your offerings, then give you the option of receiving a check or store credit. (LuLu’s has a great children’s hair salon, as well as a new toy store and play area.)

LuLu’s Then & Now
75A 5th Ave.
Park Slope
Online: lulusthenandnow.nyc

To Pass On the Maternity Wear

Jane’s Exchange
Not only is maternity clothing often expensive, most of us don’t wear it enough to even get past the “gently worn” stage. So it makes sense you may not want to toss those pricey PeaPod perfect-for-work dresses you bought a few years back. One solution: Take them to Jane’s Exchange and trade them in for store credit, which you can use toward children’s furniture, toys, kids’ clothes or—should the need arise— more maternity clothing.  Jane’s Exchange also takes gently used or new children’s items from clothing to toys to gear. Before coming in with your stuff, call for an appointment.

Tip: One the cold weather returns, Jane’s Exchange is the place to get snow gear, including snow pants, bib overalls, sleds, boots and gloves at great prices.

Jane’s Exchange
91 E. 3rd St.
East Village
212- 677-0380
Online: janesexchangenyc.com

To Clear the Shelves

Strand Bookstore
Ready to part with some of the tomes and tunes taking up space in your apartment? Strand, in Manhattan, is the granddaddy of book buyers, with a very organized, almost rigid book-buying process. Bring your books and upended DVDs and CDs to the special area in the back of the store. A buyer will quickly go through your stack, telling you exactly what the store will give you for it (usually less than 25% of what you paid for it) — or passing on it altogether. Hardback, special edition and recently-published books get top dollar, while your three-year-old copy of What To Expect While You’re Expecting will probably garner a pass. If you don’t want to schlep unsold books back home, you can leave them at the store.

Tip: If you can’t stand the thought of leaving your unsold books at Strand, head a couple blocks away to The Salvation Army general thrift store, at 112 4th St. and donate them.

828 Broadway at 12th St.
Union Square
212-473-1452 ext. 240
Online: www.strandbooks.com

Spoonbill & Sugartown
Yet another bookstore that will actually pay you something (albeit a small something) for your literary castoffs is Spoonbill & Sugartown in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Box up your books and bring them into the store for cash or store credit.

Tip: Spoonbill & Sugartown is a neighborhood bookstore in the best sense of the term, owned and run by booklovers, and a great place to find interesting titles. If you’ve got several birthdays coming up, consider opting for store credit, which you can use to purchase gifts.

Spoonbill & Sugartown
218 Bedford Ave.
Online: spoonbillbooks.com



photo: Grow NYC

To Find a Place To Donate Anything

Grow NYC Stop ‘N’ Swap
Grow NYC’s Stop ‘N’ Swaps are like a gift from the spring cleaning gods. Bring clean, reusable, portable items such as clothing, house wares, games, books, and toys that you no longer need, and take home something new-to-you, free! You don’t have to bring something to take something.The events are happening all around the city this spring; click here to find one near you. (Warning: you may walk away with more than you donated.)

Online: grownyc.org/swap

NYC StuffExchange

photo: NYC Stuff Exchange

NYC Stuff Exchange
Have items you’re not sure anyone will want? NYC Stuff Exchange is an NYC-focused directory of organizations that will accept anything from old cell phones to cribs to scrap metal (just in case you happen to have some aluminum siding hanging around). Hop on the web page, search by zip code, vendor name or item you’d like to donate and you’ll get a list of organizations that want what you’ve got.

Tip: If you like thrifting or need a deal on anything, you can also peruse what other people are giving away. Who knows? —  You may find something you really need.

Online: www.nyc.gov/html/stuffex

ReuseNYC is a membership-based association of 26 New York City  nonprofits that accept and redistribute donated goods. From Baby Buggy to CancerCare Thrift Shop to Recycle-A-Bicycle and The Bridal Garden, ReuseNYC members provide a wide spectrum of services to New Yorkers. Visit the website, take a look at the members and contact one directly to donate items. Note: Is your kid assigned an environmental-themed school report or project? Make sure to poke around the site. There is a ton of easy-to-understand information about the environmental and social benefits of re-using and recycling.

Tip: Teach your children the importance of volunteer work by taking a look at ReuseNYC volunteer opportunities for families.

Online: www.reusenyc.info


photo: Materials for the Arts Facebook page

Materials for the Arts
Materials for the Arts (MFTA) is New York City’s premiere municipal reuse center. A program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Departments of Sanitation and Education, MFTA collects a wide variety of reusable materials from businesses and individuals and makes them available, free of charge, to nonprofits and government organizations with arts programming as well as New York City public schools.

MFTA is not really the place for old clothes and shoes, but the organization is hungry for your leftover fabric (large quantities/bolts), trimmings, arts and crafts supplies, beads, jewelry, household items like glasses, vases and cups, as well as furniture. MFTA will also take any of your used visual and performing arts books.

All donations must be approved in advance. E-mail donations@mfta.nyc.gov or call 718-729-2065 to discuss the items you would like to donate. Drop-off times are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the MFTA warehouse in Long Island City, Queens.

An alternative to dropping off items is the organization’s Direct Donation program, which connects donors and recipients directly, with recipients picking up the item. (This is how you can get rid of that piano or enormous filing cabinet!) E-mail donations@mfta.nyc.gov for more info.

Materials for the Arts
33-00 Northern Blvd., 3rd Fl.
Long Island City, NY
Online: materialsforthearts.org

Where do you donate unwanted items? Tell us in the comments below!

—Stephanie Pedersen