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What NOT to donate!

Spring is quickly turning into summer, and chances are you are still tackling the spring cleaning decluttering process. If you are like many people, you have made multiple trips to donate items to local charities. Good for you! Many times, keeping home items and clothing out of landfills and helping others in need are perfect ideas. However, do you know what NOT to donate?

There are some household items that your local charities simply can’t use. You may actually create more problems for them, or they may simply refuse to take them altogether.

Old VHS players

Come on now, really? Who still uses VHS players? Actually, this goes for any technology that is older than a decade. No one really wants them, so they just end up in the trash pile or collecting dust on a shelf. Your best bet is to donate outdated computers, video players, TVs, and stereos to a proper technology recycling facility. There are materials in these items that can by recycled, but it must be handled by a qualified recycler.

Baby cribs/carriers

Safety standards and recalls are constantly changing for baby items. So cribs, high chairs, baby swings, and infant car seats are generally not accepted for charitable donation. With infant car seats, there are also liability issues, because they have no way of knowing whether that car seat has ever been in an accident. You are supposed to replace car seats after car accidents because the impact may cause structural failures in the plastic.

Also, did you know that things like car seats have expiration dates? Check the bottom of the carrier. They are often only good for 5 – 10 years. After that, the manufacturer cannot warrant the integrity of the plastic. So donating your 20-year-old car seat will not do the charity any good.

Large Appliances

Most donation places will not take large appliances. They simply don’t have the space for them, and it’s difficult to ensure that things like air conditioners and washing machines still operate properly without hooking them up. If you are trying to get rid of items that still function and look good, then you might try selling them on the Facebook Marketplace or through other online resale apps. For items that don’t work or are so outdated your mother would be embarrassed to own them, an appliance reycler might be a kinder choice. Another option might be local Habitat ReStores, which will take working appliances and resell them to fund their efforts to build affordable housing.


It’s a huge health risk to accept mattresses, especially with epidemics of bed bugs, lice, and other gross nastiness that can spread from place to place. Not sure why mattresses are riskier than sofas and futons, which they generally will accept, but mattresses are a big donation no-no.

This goes for crib mattresses as well, even though they are usually vinyl and not as easily susceptible to insect penetration. So throw those items away.


Decluttering is an important task to keep your home ship-shape, and we commend everyone who donates regularly to charity. However, knowing what not to donate is also important. When it is time to sell or buy a home, having a local team you can rely on will make the process a smooth one. Call the Realtors® who love where they live and understand the local real estate market. ADMC Realty Group happily serves the communities in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. From start to finish, we’re here to help with all your Real estate needs. Give us a call at (202)596-8101 or email us at [email protected].

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