Thrifty mom: Time to declutter and donate!

Kids toys make great donations

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Around the holiday season, I wrote a lot about shopping at thrift stores, finding good deals on both gifts and decorations. But now it’s January, a time when a lot of people look around and say “where did all this stuff come from?" It's a great time to take inventory and evaluate what you no longer need.

With the influx of new toys my kids got for Christmas, I figured this is also a great month to teach them about donating.  I asked Jessica Hudgins Smith from Goodwill Industries of Denver to help me figure out what makes a good donation.

“We really are looking for high quality stuff. New toys, maybe that the kids don’t play with anymore, or maybe you got a ton of Christmas gifts that you can’t even use," says Hudgins Smith.

Quality is key. So when you’re doing your spring cleaning, it’s great to be generous and give to thrift stores, but you may also need to just throw some stuff in the trash.

Jessica had some great ideas looking around my house:

My kids have a ton of play food and dishes, including a lot of duplicates. So I can bag up a few items that can be sold as a set for another child.

Legos are huge!  So popular that Goodwill actually sells a lot of Legos in their online store. There are fanatics out there who definitely want your Legos!

Puzzles and Games -- make sure all the parts and pieces are there. Jessica says the store probably won’t count the pieces -- so it’s really nice when donors are considerate about this.

Bikes. Goodwill has a program called “Good Bikes” where they will refurbish bikes, even if you donate one that’s not in perfect condition.

If your house isn't covered with toys like mine, you may be thinking of donating some clothes, furniture, or electronics you don't use anymore. Goodwill has some tips on those too:

Make sure clothes don't have any holes or stains, and wash them first.

Furniture should be functional. But a stain might be okay since it can be reupholstered. 

Computers are great to donate, and specially trained staff will make sure there's no information on your computer that could end up in the wrong hands.

Bottom line – Goodwill can help you declutter, while you help their mission. What a great way to start the year!  Happy thrifting and donating!

Nicole Brady covers the First Alert breaking news desk during Denver7 morning news, reports on stories in our community and tries to find great bargains at thrift stores while raising two kids and a husband. You can see more of her thrift store finds on Facebook and Twitter.

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