Stop Donating these Items to Thrift Stores

Trista - August 22, 2019

Whether you’re planning to move, need to clear the clutter out of your home, or just want to contribute to charity, donating to a thrift store is a great idea. It helps give your belongings a new life and can benefit the thrift store you donate to. Many places gladly welcome donations and are happy to work with you. You can even get a receipt to write your donation off on your next tax return! When determining what to take to the thrift store for donation, keep in mind that not everything you have is appropriate.

Many thrift stores will not take furniture, large appliances, or other oversized items. If your donation is too ripped, stained, or worn-out, they will not take these items. Charitable organizations usually operate thrift shops and have mostly volunteers for employees. Dumping all of your extra stuff at a thrift store can add extra work to their already overloaded employees, even if it’s unusable. They have to take the time to sort through your donation, throw away any trash or useless items and find a way to dispose of them. For help determining what sort of things are inappropriate to donate to a thrift store, keep reading!

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50. Anything Outdated

Thrift stores are a great place to shop when you are looking for items that you do not want to spend a lot of money on. However, if you are on the other end and donating to a thrift store, you should be mindful of what you choose to donate. People who shop at thrift stores most likely have flat-screen TVs and DVD players at home, so they’re not on the hunt for a bulky TV or cassette player. You may want to donate your huge VHS tape collection and VCR, but it has a small chance of selling. Most thrift stores won’t even consider taking outdated technology.

In addition to the old school televisions, old books and electronics are also a no-go for donating. Would you go into a thrift store looking for a book from the 1980s? How about an original CD player? Some thrift stores will reject older items as they are unlikely to sell quickly and take up space. It’s best to take old things like this to an electronics recycler to dispose of them correctly. You could also try listing old electronics on a marketplace app to see if anyone is interested. You might even consider donating your old books to your local library.

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49. Mattresses and Box Springs

Have you ever gotten a new mattress or box spring and questioned what to do with your old one? It is no secret that old mattresses and box springs can be hard to dispose of. Garbage dumps are incredibly reluctant to take them. You may have even tried to resell them but quickly realized that neither mattresses nor box springs are hot commodity items. They might sit in your basement or garage until they find a new home. Even if your mattress and box spring seems like it’s in good shape, it’s not a good fit for a thrift store.

Thrift stores do not like to accept large furniture. Unless a piece is in excellent condition, most places will reject it. Furthermore, let’s face it, would you buy a used mattress or box spring? Probably not, so why would you expect someone else to buy yours? Also, thrift stores cannot be sure that your items are free of mold, bed bugs, or dust mites. They are not worth the risk if there is some issue with your used mattress or box spring. The best recommendation is to contact your garbage disposal company to determine the best method for disposing of your mattress and box spring.

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48. Anything that Can Hold Children

If you have children, you are well aware of all of the items that your child needs. As they continue to grow, they transition into newer and larger items. All these items can take up room throughout your house, in your basement, and even your garage. After your children grow up, a lot of equipment can pile up in your home. To clear up some of the clutter, you might consider donating them. Cribs, strollers, car seats, and high chairs may seem like useful items to contribute to your local thrift shop. Unfortunately, because of frequent recalls, it’s not safe to donate these items.

Car seats have expiration dates and can often be involved in car accidents. When one gets donated, it’s impossible to tell what condition it’s in or what it may have been involved in. By donating children’s equipment, you’re putting kids at risk. Many thrift stores have a policy stating that they cannot accept these items. Look for places in your area that facilitate the disposal of car seats and related articles. Depending on their expiration dates and condition, you may also consider donating them to your friends and family. Thrift stores are unable to accept them and take on an unknown liability.

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47. Large Appliances

Similar to when you purchase a new mattress or box spring, when you get a new appliance, you may be left wondering what to do with your old one. These days, it’s rare for someone to desire a secondhand machine. When you get a new refrigerator, washer, dryer, or stove, it’s natural to want to donate the old one because it’s still in pretty good condition, but it’s not a wise choice. Most thrift stores will not take large items, especially appliances. Thrift stores have no guarantee of their working condition or that they will sell and not sit.

If you are in a situation and need to get rid of an old appliance, you should call a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe to see if they’ll haul it away. There are also junk removal services that will come to your home and pick up your items. You can also see if there’s a scrap metal recycling place that will take your large appliances. You could again try selling your large appliances. There are many different options to pursue if you are looking to get a little money for your old device or merely looking to get rid of it.

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46. Things You Got for Free

We all have a junk drawer filled with miscellaneous items that we got from various places for free. These items might include free T-shirts from your company, items that you won in a giveaway, and other random things that can clutter up your home in no time. Most of the time, our junk drawers are full of items that we wouldn’t miss if they were gone. If you don’t want the items in your junk drawer, it’s safe to say that not many other people would desire them either. Although it is generous to donate items to a thrift store, you should genuinely consider what items you donate.

In addition to the items you tuck away into your junk drawer, you should save time for people at your local thrift store by not donating free, personalized items. It might include a unique shirt, keychain, or tumbler cup. Not only would those items have been given to you as a sentimental gift, but it also limits whom they might appeal to. That is especially true if you have a creative name or unique spelling. It may seem like a complete waste to throw free items away, but it’s really for the best. Unless someone you know is interested in these types of things, throw them away.

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45. Baby Bottles and Breast Pumps

As your babies grow and develop, they will begin to outgrow certain items. Once your children outgrow their bottles and are no longer breastfeeding, you may not feel the need to keep the bottles and breast pumps in your home. Most bottles and pumps are in good shape when you’re done needing them, but that doesn’t mean they’re right for the thrift store. Like other baby items, the thrift store will not be open to accepting baby bottles and breast pumps because of their cleanliness. Many people would be extremely hesitant to purchase used baby bottles or breast pumps.

Sanitation is the main issue with baby bottles and breast pumps. There’s no way to know how clean these items can be when you donate them. Even if you can clean these items thoroughly and in their entirety, the purchaser may be hesitant to buy them. As a donated item, there is no way to know the history of that particular item. There have also been recalling and issues with BPA chemicals that lead to certain types of bottles being unusable. Avoid taking old baby bottles, and breast pumps to the donation bin. It is not worth taking to the thrift store to be turned away because of all of the concerns.

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44. Anything Vulgar

If you have stickers, shirts, or other clothing items with profanity or offensive messages on them, do not take them to the thrift store. You might have received these items as a gag gift or as part of your family’s holiday gift exchange. However, a lot of thrift stores are faith-based and would be offended by these items. Employees won’t put them on the store’s shelves, so they would have to take time to throw them away. Besides, many thrift stores welcome families. No parent will want to bring their children with them if they are around vulgar or profane items.

In addition to offensive or vulgar clothing, risque books and movies like 50 Shades of Grey would not be accepted. Anything profane or mildly sexual is not welcome at a thrift store. They are not family-friendly items. Instead of donating these items, there are other options. You could consider seeing if any of your friends or family are interested. You could also try to sell them, but you should also be careful where you choose to post them for sale. Another option is to throw your vulgar clothing away and take your potentially offensive books and movies to the library for donation.

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43. Broken Items

It goes without saying, but you should never take trashed items to the thrift store for donation. If you can’t use a broken, dirty, or smashed item, what makes you think someone else will pay for it? You might be thinking that some people like to take apart a broken phone or laptop to repair it. While this may be true, taking them to the thrift store is not a good option. Instead, you can talk to friends and family to see if they know someone, or you might consider listing it on sale sites for free. You should not donate unusable items.

Thrift stores are not a trash dump, laundromat, or dry cleaner. It’s unfair to pass unusable items onto thrift store employees so they can deal with them. It interrupts their day to day tasks when they have to sort through and dispose of trash. Find your local dump or junk service to see where you can dispose of these items. Additionally, if you know an item isn’t working, such as a phone or laptop, don’t take it to the thrift store and pretend as it does. It is wrong and deceptive to try to pass off unusable and broken items.

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42. Things That Can Grow Mold

Thrift stores do not have the resources to clean and sanitize items that come through their doors. They look at objects, determine what can be sold, and get the things put on the shelves. It’s not helpful to donate items that are susceptible to growing mold. It is challenging for thrift stores to ensure that items don’t or won’t grow mold. That includes things that can potentially hold locked in moisture and is housed in a humid environment. Besides, if you know that an item has had mold in the past, do not take it to a thrift store to become someone else’s problem.

Dehumidifiers, tea kettles, and other items that always produce moisture can quickly grow mold. Since it’s impossible to determine just how clean a secondhand appliance like this is, many thrift stores will not take them. As we mentioned before, they will not take breast pumps because it’s challenging to thoroughly clean milk from the machine. If you have these items and they have been sitting in your basement or garage just waiting for you to declutter your space, there is a chance they have housed mold. At the very least, they may be hanging on to some moisture and have the potential to grow mold.

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41. Filled Up Coloring Books or Workbooks

Children and adults alike enjoy coloring, and this activity is right on trend! It can be so relaxing to sit down and color in a fun coloring book. Shopping for coloring books at a thrift store is great, but only if those books are mostly unused. While it might seem like it needs to go unsaid, you should not donate a coloring book or workbook that doesn’t have many open pages left. No one wants to spend their hard-earned money, no matter how cheap, on a book that has only a couple of pages left to color or work through.

You may think a coloring book that is only 50 percent filled in is acceptable to donate but think again. No kid wants to work on a coloring book that someone else has worked on. The same goes for puzzle books. Kids won’t have fun if they open a book and try to do a maze already completed. If you have old coloring books or workbooks with a few pages in them, consider hanging on for when you have company. If you prefer not to hang onto them, then throw those used coloring books into your recycling bin.

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40. Pianos

Oversized items are generally unwelcomed in thrift stores. Thrift shops have a minimal amount of space, and they try to fill it with a large variety of things. They are unable to handle oversized items like a piano, armoire, or entertainment center. They not only take up too much room, but they are heavy and cost too much to move. Additionally, many of these large pieces, such as pianos, aren’t in high demand. Similar to how they take up too much space in the thrift stores, many people feel like they take up too much space in their homes.

If you’re looking to donate a piano or large item, you should consider selling it instead. There are many different places that you can choose from if you are going to sell. You can list it on Craigslist, LetGo, or Facebook Marketplace. You may end up getting some money for it, and your piano will live on in a new home. If you are not looking to get cash for your large item, there may be a music school in your area that would love to have your piano. They would be incredibly grateful to have another piece of equipment for students to learn and grow.

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39. Oversized Items

We’ve talked about them before, but oversized items are the worst things to donate to a thrift store. These shops do not have the space or workforce to handle huge items. Large items take up way too much room on the thrift shop floor and do not sell quickly. The audience for large items can be extremely limited. Many people who are shopping for bigger items such as couches, bed frames, or dressers have a vision of the things they want to purchase. That means that if the thrift store doesn’t have that specific item available, they will continue to sit until the right buyer comes along.

If you have large items such as appliances, couches, cabinets, and other oversized items, try listing them on resale sites like Craigslist or LetGo. If you cannot sell them, call a junk hauling company or your garbage company to schedule a pickup. You might also consider donating them to a friend or family member who has a similar taste to you. If you try to unload large items at a thrift store and they say no, DO NOT leave the things after that they close. Not only is that extremely disrespectful, but that causes many issues for the thrift shop employees.

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38. Garage Sale Leftovers

After a garage sale, you may have a lot of items leftover. It may seem like a no-brainer to take those things to the thrift store, but think again! If you couldn’t get people to buy them, it would probably be tough for them to sell in a thrift store. There may be a reason that you were unable to find a seller during your garage sale. Before loading up all of your leftover items to take a trip to the thrift store, you should analyze each item very thoroughly. That includes checking if things work, how clean they are, and their functionality.

If you are unsure whether a thrift store will accept an item, you can give them a call. Certain thrift stores may have different guidelines and regulations on what items they are more willing to take. If they are unwilling to accept certain items, you can try listing your things on services like, which allows users to give away unwanted goods for free with no money exchanges. You should try to give your items away before taking them to your local landfill. As always, be sure to properly dispose of any items such as large appliances or electronics.

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37. Encyclopedias

In today’s society, everyone gets their information from the Internet. It’s sporadic for people to use encyclopedias to look up something. Unlike today, many years ago, encyclopedias were necessary for research. Many people would reference them when researching a topic or writing a paper. However, as both technology and humans have evolved, many more readily used resources make encyclopedias obsolete in today’s society. With that said, some people do choose to keep encyclopedias as a decorative item in their home. They might keep them housed in a library, office, or on your living room bookshelf as a piece of decor.

Most encyclopedias, reference materials, and old textbooks are unusable, so they aren’t suitable for donating to a thrift store. These books are large, so that they will take up a lot of room on the shelves. They also are appealing to a specific audience, so they can be complicated to sell. If they take a long time or don’t sell at all, that is space that is consistently taken up on their shelves. To get rid of any textbooks, encyclopedias, or other large educational books, take them to your local library for donation. You could also try selling them on eBay. If they don’t sell, bring these books to a recycling center.

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36. Hazardous Materials

While it can sometimes be difficult to get rid of hazardous materials, it’s not a good idea to donate them to a thrift store. Cleaning supplies, paint, makeup, and other chemical-based items do not work for thrift shopping and should not be donated. It’s nearly impossible to correctly identify the ingredients of most of these items, making them unsafe for customers. Additionally, some of these items can create toxic situations when they are expired or come into contact with other ingredients. Many thrift stores will not accept these kinds of things due to their potentially hazardous components.

Thrift store employees are not trained in looking for hazardous chemicals, nor do they have space for it. It takes too much time and effort to dispose of dangerous materials, so try not to donate them to your local thrift store. In addition, many people do not want to purchase a half bottle of cleaning spray. Instead of donating, you should call a hazardous waste disposal company to see if they will accept your items. If they decide not to receive your items, they might be able to offer guidance on how to dispose of them properly. Do not pour paint, cleaning supplies, or other chemicals down the drain!

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35. Trash

It may seem like common sense, but it’s essential not to take loads of trash to your local thrift store. In the time it takes to unload bags of garbage at the thrift store, you could have properly disposed of it at a landfill. Not only is it unwanted to others, but expecting thrift store employees to deal with your garbage for you is kind of rude. That is where the saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, is wrong. While you can still donate or resell some things, others are waste regardless.

The thrift store employees have enough on their plate and do not need the extra task of sorting through trash. Thrift stores that get bags of trash won’t even go through them. They just don’t have the time or workforce, so they throw all of it away. It makes more sense to take your garbage to the dump. I’m sure that you would not enjoy sorting through someone else’s trash, so you should never expect thrift store workers to do it for you. Sort through your unwanted or unneeded items and determine what is worth being donated versus truly trash.

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34. Walkers

Many people rely on walkers to be able to move around. A person’s walker needs to be stable and reliable. It may seem like a good idea to donate a walker you don’t need anymore, but it’s not necessarily a safe choice. A person using a walker needs to feel comfortable and confident that it’s stable, and it can be challenging for a thrift store employee to determine whether or not a walker is sturdy. They may not be familiar with walkers or know what exactly to look for. Besides, the walker might have damage that can alter its effectiveness.

When you donate a walker, you may be putting the next user in danger. Many locations may end up rejecting walker donations to keep their customers safe. Like other donated items, thrift stores might refuse the items because they have no way of knowing the history of that walker. It may have been previously damaged and repaired, which could be a safety issue. You may be able to donate walkers to a hospital or rehab facility where employees can properly evaluate their reliability. The trained individuals can then determine if the walker is worth keeping. If not, then they must dispose of it properly.

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33. Items that Smell

Thrift stores aren’t laundromats. Employees will not wash soiled clothing. Items that are dirty or smell bad aren’t acceptable for donating to your local thrift store. Additionally, do not donate any dirty, foul-smelling shoes. Would you want to purchase an item that had a terrible odor? Not likely. Not only do thrift stores not have the capability to clean up those items, but they also have an incredibly tiny chance of selling them. If you are shopping for an item, you will be more likely to pass by the one that has a strong smell to it.

It’s not the thrift store employees’ responsibility to wash and dry clothes before putting them on the floor. It would take too much time to stop and clean clothes and shoes that have a terrible odor. Bad smells can permeate other items around it, making them unfit for resale too. You should always wash any clothing and shoes before taking them to the thrift store. If the smell can not be removed, throw them away. If the item smells to the point that you would never pick it up while shopping, then you should dispose of it properly.

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32. Old TVs

There are some items that, even as donations, are not ideal for the thrift store. Like outdated encyclopedias, old televisions are not great for the donation pile. These days, most people have flat-screen TVs, so they won’t be interested in big, bulky televisions that were common ten or more years ago. While the old school televisions might be nostalgic, many people don’t have space for them. Besides, they are not equipped to handle high-definition, which the majority of cable companies rely on. Many people end up mounting their flat-screen TVs on the wall. That could never be done with an old school TV.

Outdated televisions take up too much space on the floor of a thrift store. Most thrift shoppers tend to look for clothing, books, and jewelry and avoid the electronics section. Donating old TVs adds more work to thrift store employees who have to dispose of items they cannot sell. There are also more likely to be issues with the old school televisions. People cannot easily fix them, either. Therefore, many people are not willing to purchase the old school televisions. You should call an electronics recycling center to see if they will accept an old tv or advise how to dispose of it properly.

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31. Furniture in Poor Condition

There’s a reason why thrift stores are incredibly choosy about what they accept, especially when it comes to furniture. Furniture with chips, scratches, or stains will not sell and are not worth receiving from someone donating. You may wonder why an older couch or chair that looks okay wouldn’t be accepted, but there’s a good reason. Furniture not only takes up a lot of space in the thrift store, but it can be tough to sell. Furniture is typically appealing to people with a certain style, so it can be a long turnaround time to resell.

Also, thrift store employees cannot tell whether a donated item with cushions is clean. They wouldn’t be able to know if it had bed bugs or dust mites. Since a thrift store does not have the equipment to clean and disinfect furniture, it’s not worth it to accept dingy items. Customers are more likely to pass by a piece of furniture with scrapes, chips, or stains. The thing will continue to sit at the store. It can be hard to part with old furniture, but if it’s in poor condition, consider disposing of it at a landfill.

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30. Scratched DVDs or Video Games

DVDs and video games are often top sellers at thrift stores. Adults and kids alike love to browse through the discs looking for something fun to watch or play with. Adults might be able to find DVDs or video games that they played or enjoyed as a child. It can be exciting to come across that favorite movie or game and want to share it with your kids or close friends. You might feel like you are reliving your childhood. That is why you can imagine that it can be disappointing to make a purchase and get home to find the disc is completely unusable because it’s scratched.

It is crucial to take a few extra minutes to ensure that your movies and video games are in good condition before donating them. One or two tiny scratches should be fine, but anything more is unacceptable. You should always test all of your discs before taking them in to donate. If your DVDs, video games, and even CDs are scratched up, it’s best to throw them away. Although it may be a donation for you, if someone else is coming into the thrift store with their hard-earned money to purchase this item, they should feel confident it works.

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29. Toys Missing Pieces

Have you ever bought or received a gift that was broken or had a missing piece. It’s no fun to bring home a toy and find it has missing parts. You should avoid donating broken toys or games that have essential elements missing. Thrift store employees don’t have time to open up games and ensure that all of the necessary parts are there, so it’s up to you to inspect them before donating. Before putting each game or puzzle into the donation pile, go through the instruction booklet to count all of the pieces and make sure they are all there.

Puzzles and games that have missing pieces are better to be thrown away than be donated. It can be hard to part with them, but without those pieces, they are unplayable. Nothing is more frustrating than working on a 1,000 piece puzzle to get to the end and find a few pieces missing. It will leave you not only frustrated but extremely disappointed. Similarly, when a board game is missing parts, it cannot be played as it’s intended. You could look up crafts that use game boards or components if you’d like to repurpose your favorite board games.

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28. Magazines

Magazines are fun to read, but they can clutter your home quickly. When you are working on decluttering your home, you might think that they’re ideal for a thrift store, but that’s not the case. While your intentions might be in the right place, thinking that others can enjoy the magazines like you once did, they are not in high demand. Like old, outdated books, magazines should not be donated. Many people look at magazines as a nuisance. Once you have read through them, they have little purpose or place inside your home. You might consider passing them along to your friends or family.

Most people are not interested in buying old magazines. These reading materials often contain new information when they were issued, but months or years down the line won’t be relevant. If you don’t want to throw away your magazines, take them to your local library or a medical office and see if they’re interested. Additionally, you may be able to use the magazines for an art project. Many people use old magazines to create vision boards or collages. People can use them for creative projects for adults and kids alike. However, one thing for sure is that most thrift stores will not accept old magazines.

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27. Medicine and Medical Devices

Like the walkers we mentioned before, many medical devices are not great for donating to a thrift store. Wheelchairs, scooters, shower benches, and other devices need to be safe for use by all types of people. Thrift store employees cannot thoroughly inspect a medical device to see if it’s safe to use. They are not trained to know what to look for with each differing medical device. Besides, they have no way to limit who purchases what piece of equipment or machine and whether it is compatible. It is not worth accepting them for donations.

Additionally, never donate old, expired, or unwanted medicine. It’s dangerous and illegal to sell geriatric medicine to people to which it is not prescribed. If someone took untested drugs and got hurt, it would be a terrible situation. There are several ways to dispose of old medicine properly and legally. You should never give your old or unwanted medication to anyone, and that includes donating to a thrift store. They will not accept those items in any capacity. You should contact your local pharmacy to determine how to properly dispose of them if you no longer need them in your household.

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26. Old Cookware

Who doesn’t have a pile of old, outdated cookware in their home? Maybe you bought a fancy cake tin and only used it a few times. Alternatively, you were given too many muffin tins for your wedding shower and now need to downsize. Your first thought when getting rid of old cookware might be to donate it. You might give first dibs to your friends and family, but then what do you do with the remaining cookware that even they don’t want or need? The thrift store might come into mind as an option, but it truly is not the best option.

The majority of old cookware has some kind of wear and tear to it. That might be indicative of all the memories you have had. All the muffins you baked on the weekend or all the home-cooked meals made with your family. Old cookware that is chipped or scratched can contaminate the food you make. Harmful chemicals can be released from these pans, especially if they’re Teflon or nonstick. Additionally, thrift store workers can’t know how clean these items are and have no way of cleaning or testing them. If your cookware is worn down or scratched, it’s best to throw it away.

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25. Swimwear

Swimwear is typically an article that can be used year after year. After so many years, you might find that you have an abundance of swimwear consuming your closet or dresser. Swimsuits and wetsuits are great for summertime but can take up space in your home for the rest of the year. When you decide to do a clothing purge and reorganize your area, you might find that you have some extra swimwear or just some that don’t fit anymore, and you’d like to get rid of them. However, it would help if you reconsidered taking them to the donation bin.

Swimsuits hug your body close and are hard to keep clean. Even washing them in hot water isn’t a safe bet. Also, swimsuits you wear frequently get faded and stretched out easily, making them prone to tearing. Similar to other items where cleanliness and sanitation can be a concern, swimwear is no exception. Thrift store employees can never be too sure of how clean the thing is, and they do not have the resources to clean each item before selling. You’re much better off throwing away old swimsuits and wetsuits than donating them to the thrift store.

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24. Shades and Blinds with Pull Cords

One of your household items that might not be as common to talk about includes shades and window blinds. When you no longer need them or are looking to give your space an updated look, window treatments like shades and blinds may seem like ideal thrift store items, but they’re not. These items, especially the ones that come with pull cords that can be dangerous and even deadly. For homes with children and pets, these blinds are often unwanted and overlooked. Not only are the window shades and blinds with pull cords dangerous, but they are precise to specific windows.

Because shades and blinds with pull cords can be a liability issue, many thrift stores will not accept them. They can also be easily damaged, making them unsellable. As mentioned above, window blinds and shades are also extremely specific to certain window types and sizes. It is difficult for thrift stores to accept and put out items that might not have a great chance of selling timely. Save your local thrift store time and energy by disposing of them yourself. If they’re in good condition, you may be able to sell them on a resale site like Craigslist or LetGo.

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23. Baskets

If there’s one item that thrift stores are overloaded with, it’s baskets. Whether you have baskets from Easter, a gift you received, or a project you ended up never completing, these bulky containers take up a lot of space. Many thrift stores find their shelves overloaded because of all the baskets they receive. Before you consider donating any baskets to your local thrift store, you might want to take a glance at them and their condition. If they are in any way damaged, you should find an alternative place to take them. If they are in pretty bad shape, you should consider putting them in the trash.

Instead of donating a bunch of baskets, you should try to repurpose them in your home. Use the baskets to create a unique storage system in your pantry. Try painting the baskets to match the color scheme of your home’s decor. Find some fun arts and crafts to do with your kids involving baskets. You might also reuse them when you are creating gift baskets around the holidays. What better way to save some money and get them out of your home. Of course, you should still make sure that the baskets are in good shape. The possibilities are endless!

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22. Clothes with Safety Hazards

Thrift stores welcome a wide variety of clothing, but there are a few unwanted types. Clothing with metal or drawstrings, especially for children, can be challenging for thrift stores to put on the floor. Additionally, items that are wet or have chemical stains are hazardous and will not sell. Before even considering donating any items, you should thoroughly inspect every inch of them. You should think if you have children if you want them to wear any clothing piece that has stains or has metal pieces. If there are any questions on whether they should be donated, it is best to err on the side of caution and find another place for it.

Even clothing that has a security tag is risky for thrift stores. If you are unsure if your local thrift store will accept certain types of clothing you have, give them a call to find out. Doing this is extremely respectful of their time and energy. This way, you know what is acceptable and what is not. You don’t want to waste the employees’ energy by sorting through questionable items. If your items’ design is in question, but the quality is good, try selling the items on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. If not, you could look for textile recyclers who may be interested.

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21. Beauty Products

Sometimes we buy a shampoo or lotion that looks great and then never touch it. Perhaps you acquired some hair or skin products during your last shopping trip to Marshalls, only to come home and put it on the shelf to sit. As you work on decluttering and organizing your home, you may be tempted to donate some personal care items to a thrift store, but that’s not a wise choice. Even sealed items can be tough to ensure that they are safe to use. There are many factors when donating beauty products. Again, it is best to err on the side of caution and find another place for them.

You might be surprised to learn that unopened beauty products can still be tainted. If they are past their expiration date, they can be extremely dangerous to use, especially makeup products. Thrift stores tend to avoid these items, even if unsealed because people tend to get curious and open the things to smell or test them. These stores don’t want unopened beauty products on their shelves where bacteria could get into them. Also, customers could end up making a mess with these products. If you have questions on what products your local thrift store will accept, give them a call before dropping your donation.

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20. Pillows

Similar to other items, including mattresses and box springs, pillows are not acceptable items to donate to your local thrift stores. Sleeping pillows are subject to use that can leave them stained and unsanitary. When you are sleeping, there is a chance you get your makeup, skin products, or sweat on them. In addition, there is a chance that your pillow has been exposed to other elements, including your cat or dog, who always like to sleep on your bed. There is no way for the thrift store to know what the history of your pillow is, so be cautious. You should not donate them.

Even pillows that appear to be in good condition are likely to be turned away only because there are many unknowns. The employees don’t know if there are any bugs or mites inside the pillows. Some thrift stores might accept throw or decorative pillows, but you should call your local thrift store before donating to see what they are willing to take since that is also limited. If you find yourself with many extra pillows, you can try reaching out to a local animal shelter. Often they are interested in those items to use as bedding for rescue animals.

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19. Old Carpet

Imagine you are renovating your home and a large piece of the makeover is putting in new carpet. New carpet can rejuvenate a space and bring it back to life. However, what are you supposed to do with that old carpet? There might not have been anything wrong with the old carpet, and you might have just wanted to upgrade your space. The first thought might be to donate the old rug. However, it would be best if you think again before hauling all of that old carpet to your nearest thrift store. Many donation centers have strict guidelines for accepting or not accepting these items.

Wall-to-wall carpeting that has been used has the potential of being covered in unseen stains. Also, it might be full of allergens that include both dust and dander. The chances of this increase exponentially if you have had pets. The carpet padding is another piece that should not be donated to the thrift store. The employees will not know if the item is cleaned in its entirety, and it may sit in the store for a long time before selling. No one wants to purchase a carpet or carpet padding full of dust and dander and bring it into their home.

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18. Scented Products

If you are anything like me, you might find several bottles of half-used fragrances on your shelf. Some of these I have had for years, while others are newer. Your preference for perfumes and scents may have evolved over the years, and some of them may not be what you prefer any longer. After asking your close family and friends if they like any of them, you might still have some leftover. You don’t want to waste them because while they are not your preference, there isn’t anything wrong with them. What are you supposed to do with those half-used bottles then?

It may seem like a generous gesture to donate those bottles to the thrift store for someone else to enjoy. However, you should consider the risks. Can you imagine the mess if one of the bottles of perfume leaked in a thrift store? What would happen if a child picked it up and then dropped it. Thrift stores are often crammed full of many different items. If a bottle of fragrance broke in the store, there is a potential for a huge mess. It could also ruin any nearby objects. You should never donate any products that are scented, which includes home and body sprays.

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17. Weapons

It might seem like it could go without saying, but you should never donate any kind of weapon. That includes hunting rifles, handguns, knives, or ammunition. These items are hazardous and are not items that you would donate to your local thrift store. The thrift stores will not accept these types of articles because, like many others, they do not know the history of them, nor are they equipped or trained to handle them properly. There would be a significant liability on the store if they were to have these items on their shelves. Before you consider donating that old hunting rifle in the garage, think again!

It is not acceptable to donate or throw away weapons through conventional methods. It is imperative if you are looking to get rid of them to consult with the appropriate agencies or individuals on how to carefully and appropriately dispose of them. If you have unwanted guns or ammunition, you can surrender those to your local police station. You might want to contact the non-emergency line to let them know you are coming. If you have items such as knives, you might be able to sell them, providing you follow all local laws on weapon sales. Some outdoor organizations take old things, but the thrift store is not one of them.

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16. Old Toys

Do you partake in spring cleaning? If so, you might find yourself going through all of your family’s old toys and even making a pile of those that can be donated to the thrift store. While these old toys may have been well-loved by your children, nieces and nephews, and maybe even the neighborhood kids, they can be full of germs. For this reason, many thrift stores have strict no-toy policies. They are unable to make sure that every nook and cranny of the toy is clean and sanitary. They also may not have the time or capacity to spend cleaning them.

Before you put that donation pile into a bag and drive to your nearest thrift store, you should also thoroughly inspect each one for cleanliness and make sure they are in good condition. Not only do you not want to pass along a dirty toy, but you also don’t like to share one that isn’t in full working condition. After narrowing down the pile, even more, call your local thrift store to check first what their toy policy is. If they don’t take them, you can try checking with local childcare centers or charitable organizations to see if they would be willing to take your old toys.

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15. Particleboard Furniture

There are many items that thrift stores are reluctant or hesitant to accept for a variety of reasons. Large pieces of furniture, including scratched, broken, or have chips, should never be donated to the thrift store. Besides, furniture made out of particle board should not be dropped off or donated to the thrift store. Items made out of particle board tend to be cheap, easy to assemble, and lightweight. While these pieces might be perfect for your first apartment or home, they are not great for secondhand use and should not be donated.

Particleboard furniture such as bookshelves, nightstands, or even dressers is more susceptible to damage. They are more likely to be easily scratched or chipped. Besides, they are not the most sturdy pieces of furniture and cannot bear a lot of weight because they are so lightweight. Most thrift stores won’t even accept pieces of particle board furniture, especially if they are large or bulky. They end up taking up a lot of space inside the thrift store, and it may take a long time for them to sell. All in all, they might be better donated to a family member or friend who is moving into their first home.

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14. Worn-Out Denim

Recently I did a closet purge where I went through every single piece of clothing to determine what I was going to keep, donate, sell, or throw in the trash. I went through every single shirt, sweater, sweatshirt, and denim pair that I own and organized them all into separate piles based on their future destination. Part of the organizing process to determine where each item would go was to inspect their condition thoroughly. Did they contain holes, stains, scrapes, or tears? Any article of clothing that had any of those four was automatically put in the trash pile.

While a great pair of jeans can be viewed as a fantastic thrift store find, no one wants to purchase an item that is excessively worn out or about to tear. It might be appealing to have a tiny tear in the kneecap or shredded hems, but no one wants to have their pair of jeans thinning in other areas. Jeans that are worn, faded, and torn are not needed by thrift stores. Instead of dropping them off there, you should consider repurposing them into shorts. However, if they are beyond that, be honest and okay with throwing them in the trash.

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13. Eyeglasses

Similar to other medical devices or equipment, prescription eyeglasses should never be donated to the thrift store. Prescription eyeglasses are unique to the individual and are not a one size fits all. Most thrift stores won’t even bother accepting these items. Not only is there no way for the thrift store employees to know exactly what the prescription is, but it would only appeal to a particular, targeted buyers group. The prescription glasses will sit on their shelves and take up space that could be better used for items that will sell quicker or appeal to a larger audience.

Prescription eyeglass wearers typically get a new pair every couple of years. That can leave them questioning what to do with their old glasses and how to dispose of them properly. Depending on your prescription strength, you might think that others can benefit from purchasing them at a lower cost. However, the majority of thrift stores will not accept any kind of prescription eyeglasses. You should consider donating them to a local chapter of the Lions Club, an international charity with a strong focus on the vision. Additionally, the majority of eye doctor’s offices will accept your old pairs of prescription glasses.

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12. Building Materials

Have you ever wanted to give areas of your home a makeover? Alternatively, maybe you have already partaken in home improvement projects such as building a new deck or putting a new roof on. Sometimes, as a result of these home improvement projects, you have either leftover or old building materials. These can include materials such as lumber, bricks, concrete, carpet, or shingles. What do you do with these leftover materials? You might consider hanging on to them for the next project, or you might wish to get them out of your home. Donating them to your local thrift store might be a potential option that runs through your mind.

However, before you pack up all of your old or unused materials and head to the nearest thrift store, you should contact them to see if they will accept it or not. Many of them cannot receive these items, so you should be prepared to have a back-up plan. You can donate them elsewhere, such as to local housing organizations. You can also consider recycling them with local building suppliers to see if they will accept the used materials and recycle them into new ones. Lastly, if these items are beyond their useful life, you might just want to rent a dumpster while completing your home project.

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11. Food

You can donate many items to the thrift store that are in high demand and well received. You can donate certain kitchen and cooking supplies after you ensure that they are in working condition. However, one group of items that you should never donate is food. Thrift stores are going to turn away these items for a variety of reasons. You should be considerate and save the thrift store employees the time and energy of sorting through your donated food items. Although some food items have a longer shelf life than others, thrift stores are not interested in them.

They are not interested in continually going through the expiration dates of food items to ensure they are not attempting to sell expired items. There are plenty of other organizations, both local and national, that would be more than happy to take any canned goods and non-perishable goods off your hands. Many of these non-perishable items can be sent to local food banks, churches, and homeless shelters. Before donating these items to other organizations, you should be sure to double-check the expiration dates. Try reaching out to these local organizations to determine what food is accepted at each.

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10. Anything With Pet Damage

If you are like me and your pet has you wrapped around their finger or paw, then you know how they make themselves at home on your furniture. With that said, some of my furniture has to be regularly cleaned due to the hair. I would never consider donating these items to the local thrift store. Some people have allergies to pet hair, dander, or fur. Even after thoroughly cleaning them, there still can be tiny particles that will cause sensitivity issues to a potential buyer. Not to mention that most thrift stores are not interested in those large, bulky items regardless.

In addition to furniture or items that contain pet hair, you should never consider donating items that have also been chewed, soiled, or stained by your pets. The potential for unseen germs or allergens can be a huge turn off for any potential buyers. However, it’s not just thrift stores that are unwilling to accept items that are damaged by your pets. The majority of organizations will not take them. While we love our fur-babies, if they have harmed, stained, or chewed on any item, it is best to consider appropriately disposing of it and not donating it to any local stores or organizations.

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9. Automobile Parts

When you are cleaning out your garage or shed, you might come across many different items that you no longer need or have too many of. Some of these common items you might have too many include automobile parts such as tires and wheels. Alternatively, you might have other car parts, such as a battery that is still usable but not in the best shape. Rather than disposing of them, you might consider donating them to your local thrift store. However, most thrift stores would ask that you stop donating these items because they cannot accept them.

The employees have no way of knowing the state of certain items, such as a car battery. Tires that may not have much thread left would be nearly impossible to sell. In addition, these items can be bulky in the store, and there may not be as much room for them. You should not donate other car items along with tires, wheels, and batteries, including windshield wiper field or oil. Thrift stores are not going to accept these items because they may be old or even expired. If you have old automobile items, you should consider disposing of them or gifting them to family and friends, depending on their condition.

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8. Gas or Kerosene Heaters

As time passes, you might find that you are accruing more and more possessions. Some of these you might truly need, whereas others are not as necessary. Some of these you may have purchased yourself, and others may have been gifted to you at some point. If you are an avid outdoor lover, you might find yourself with many gas or kerosene heaters for those cold nights. If you have too many or are upgrading your current one, you might wonder what you should do with the extra or old ones. You might try to sell them on garage sale sites.

However, if you are not interested in reselling them, you are likely to look for other options. Sometimes it is more appealing to get the items out of the house quickly rather than try to sell them. Don’t be too quick to drop off these gas and kerosene heaters at your local donation center. They are unlikely to be able to accept them. There are some safety and liability concerns about taking these items and trying to sell them. The thrift store employees will not know if they are in good working condition or if they have been exposed to something dangerous.

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7. Old Electronic Devices

We have all likely experienced the need to upgrade some electronic devices at some point in time. Maybe your computer slowed down after years of use, or our printer stopped printing clearly. No matter how many times you tried to re-align the ink cartridges or replaced them, it still would not work. With anything technological, it will likely need to be replaced at some time. So what do you do with the devices that you might not be ready to throw away? You might be thinking that if it falls into the right person’s hands, they will be able to repair it.

Many people don’t know how to dispose of old computers, printers, or scanners properly. They might be holding onto the fact that they can be repaired. That leaves them to consider donating them. However, the majority of thrift stores will not accept old and outdated electronic devices. For starters, there is no way of knowing how well the machine operates. Secondly, some people do not know how to or take the time to fully factory reset the device, leaving their personal information susceptible. If this is you, research how to properly recycle or dispose of these items rather than donating them.

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6. Items With Rust

Have you ever bought something used from a garage sale or online site only to find out that there was some damage to it? In addition to those more common marks such as scrapes or dents, rust is also a concern. Sometimes a thrift store is viewed as a last resort dumping ground for all of your unwanted items. Although some great things can be donated, you should always thoroughly inspect every inch of your items before donating them. If any item has an inkling of rust or the potential for rust, you should not donate it.

You might be looking to upgrade some of your kitchen utensils and silverware, which will leave you with all of your old knives, forks, and spoons. You might consider donating the old utensils to your local thrift store. However, these kinds of items have the potential to rust if they are not adequately taken care of or if they sit around for a long time. It would help if you were mindful of looking over the items. Even if there is a small potential chance of having rust or developing rust, you should consider properly disposing of it instead of donating it.

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5. Old Computer Accessories

When you upgrade a piece of technical equipment, you might no longer need all of its accessories. For instance, individual printers and brands require specific types of ink cartridges. If you upgrade from a single printer to a device that is a printer, copier, and scanner in one, your ink cartridges are not likely to be compatible. If the cartridges still have ink in them, you might be opposed or hesitant to just throw them away. Selling them might also be a stretch and time consuming because most people just choose to purchase new ones of their own.

Thrift stores and their employees cannot tell how much ink or toner a cartridge has left just by looking at it. They would need to be able to physically put them into a printer to get the ink level. However, that is just one piece of the puzzle. The second concern is whether the ink is dried up. I have had an ink cartridge that said there was still ink left, but it would not print clear. It turns out that the ink was dried up because I hadn’t used it in a few months. There is no way for them to know these items’ condition, so they are not willing to accept them.

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4. Air Conditioners

Air conditioners are some of the most common household appliances. Depending on the type, a good AC unit can last up to 15 years. When it comes to replacing or upgrading your air conditioner unit, you might consider donating your old appliance to your local thrift store. The majority of thrift stores will not accept used air conditioners for many reasons. Air conditioners contain refrigerants, and to adhere to laws and regulations, any units that are sold or donated must have been manufactured after January 1, 2010. That is due to a law that requires the appliance to contain the newer, more efficient refrigerant.

Air conditioners older than January 1, 2010, are more likely to contain the ozone-depleting refrigerant. Your local thrift store may not be well equipped to know the date the unit was manufactured or what type of refrigerant it uses. However, if the local store does not accept your unit, you should not just throw it away. It is illegal to do so. It all comes back to the refrigerant component. These cooling refrigerants contain chemicals that are incredibly harmful to the environment if left to sit in the landfill. Please make sure you are responsible by properly disposing of it or recycling it appropriately.

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3. Large Exercise Equipment

If you are like many others, you might have chosen a New Years’ resolution to get healthier by working out and eating better. To save money, you might purchase a used piece of exercise equipment from a garage sale, online sale, or eBay. However, as a few months go by, you might realize that the exercise equipment is becoming more of a clothes rack than an exercise machine. You might even consider donating the piece of equipment because you know it is not getting as much use as you originally intended. The first thought might be your local thrift store.

Pieces of large exercise equipment such as treadmills, Bowflexes, and elliptical machines take up a tremendous amount of space. Not only do thrift stores have limited space for items, but there is also a chance that the object may not be working in its entirety. There is too much of a chance that the equipment has been damaged or isn’t working correctly. Instead of dropping the piece of equipment off at the local thrift store, you should consider reselling it or donating it to other local organizations. You might even want to check with your closest family and friends to see if you could donate it to them.

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2. Recalled Items

Thrift stores still must sell safe and clean products. With that said, they are required to sort through any donated items to ensure they are not putting themselves in a liable position. Any items such as baby items, medical assistive devices, or exercise equipment that have safety recalls and do not meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s current safety standards should not be donated. As the one donating items to the local store, you should complete that first safety check before even considering donating or hauling them up to the donation bin in your local town.

Thrift store employees cannot possibly know if every item has a potential recall. That is why they are so hesitant to accept certain objects, no matter how new or old they are. Even new or current items can still have safety recalls. The thrift store will not be willing to accept or attempt to sell an item that may not meet the current safety standards. If you are adamant about donating, you should do your research to see if that particular item has any outstanding recalls. If it doesn’t, you still may have to consider other organizations to donate to.

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1. Crayons

If you have spent even the smallest amount of time around children, you are all too familiar with the presence of crayons. It is often one of the most common pastimes, whether at home or daycare. If you find yourself doing a purge of your children’s playroom and determining what toys or items can be donated, crayons may be at the top of the list. Perhaps they have outgrown coloring or have just been gifted too many different sets and do not need that many. However, before putting all of the crayons into a bag and taking them to the local donation center, you should contact them first.

Crayons can seem like an extremely harmless donation item, but the truth is that most thrift stores won’t even accept them. Some crayons have been said to contain lead. If there is enough lead in the crayon and a young child eats or chews on the crayons, there is a massive potential for a lead poisoning hazard. It is too difficult for staff to know which crayons may be part of the lead-containing group or the safe ones. If you have too many crayons, you might consider adequately disposing of them, but it is best not to just drop them off at the donation center to become their problem then.