ASK LOIS: Clearing out clutter? Dos and don’ts for donating clothes, furniture to South Florida charities

There’s so much stuff in our closets we want to get rid of. Should we throw it all out?

No! Give it away. Fortunately, there are many nonprofits in Broward and Palm Beach counties that are willing to take our discards when we’re ready to purge. Some give the items directly to the needy, while others sell the donated goods, with proceeds going to help their cause.

Many will send a truck to your home to make it easy to donate. Others allow you to deposit your remnants in large mailbox-type bins. Be wary; these are often owned by for-profit companies. To verify nonprofit status, look for a charity name and contact information on the bin.

Donating your stuff to a nonprofit usually allows for a tax deduction, so be sure to ask for a receipt. Besides this financial benefit, you can feel good that you are helping the planet by recycling your unwanted wares and helping the needy lead a life of dignity.

Becca's Closet, located inside of the Festival Flea Market Mall in Pompano Beach gives hundreds of dresses out every year to high school students going to homecoming, prom, or a military ball. Chrisnick Vesseau, right, shows off a dress she tried on Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. Randy Vazquez, Sun-Sentinel

Randy Vazquez / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Becca’s Closet in Pompano Beach gives hundreds of dresses every year to high school students going to homecoming, prom, or a military ball. This 2017 file photo shows Chrisnick Vesseau, right, trying on a dress. (Randy Vazquez/South Florida Sun Sentinel)


Becca’s Closet: Inside Festival Marketplace, 2900 W. Sample Road, Pompano Beach; 954-424-9999;

Becca’s Closet gives dresses for homecoming dances, proms and military balls to needy high school students. The organizers take long and short formal dresses that are less than five years old as well as shoes, jewelry and purses. They will reject wedding gowns, stained and out-of-style dresses, business suits and worn-out shoes. Drop off at Festival Marketplace.

RAK PAK: 954-909-0810;

RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) PAK is a pantry of clothing and hygiene products. People in need get private appointments to shop for items that have been donated. The pantry, which is run by Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County, takes new and gently used clothing.

WID Blooming Sales: 1372 N. State Road 7, Margate; 954-975-7425;

Women in Distress of Broward County helps families affected by domestic violence and operates this cleverly named thrift shop, which accepts donations of clothing, furniture, household items, bicycles, luggage and strollers. Donations can be dropped off only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores: 2323 N. Dixie Highway, Pompano Beach, 954-942-2242; and 1023 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-462-0716;

St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization that helps the disadvantaged, has a long list of acceptable donations, including typical items such as clothing, books, bedding and dishes, and unusual ones, such as baby grand pianos, refrigerators, holiday decorations and cars. You can bring over your items, or the store will send a truck to your home.

Broward Outreach Centers: 2056 Scott St., Hollywood; 954-926-7417;

The Miami Rescue Mission and its Broward outreach centers help the homeless. Its thrift store is in Miami, but you can drop donations off at this Hollywood site. Trucks pick up in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties. They will take “just about anything,” including cars and refrigerators, according to their website.


The Giving Tree of Temple Beth El: 333 SW Fourth Ave., Boca Raton;; email with subject line “Donate Items”

The Giving Tree works with several Palm Beach County charities that serve the homeless and low-income families. The organization accepts children’s items, including lightly used clothing, strollers and toys. Drop off bags of clothing sorted by size and gender.

Sweet Dream Makers: 55 NE Fifth Ave., Suite 400, Boca Raton; 561-247-1404;

Sweet Dream Makers donates beds and bedding to needy families. Their motto: “A Bed for Every Child is a Dream Come True.” The organization will send a truck over to pick up not only bedroom gear but also furniture and household items. They don’t want armoires, wall units, patio furniture or cribs. Mattresses are accepted only if they are “like new — no exceptions.”

Board member Esther Perman, Alison Burckhardt, and Rhonda Russell sort jewelry and clothes at Dress for Success in Palm Springs on Thursday, August 10, 2023. Dress for Success accepts clothing for professional women. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Esther Perman, Alison Burckhardt, and Rhonda Russell sort jewelry and clothes at Dress for Success in Palm Springs on Aug. 10, 2023. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Dress for Success Palm Beaches: 2459 S. Congress Ave., No. 204, Palm Springs, 561-249-3898; and 1089 S. Main St., Belle Glade, 561-983-8179;

Dress for Success offers professional attire to help women find jobs and gain confidence. Besides traditional professional clothing, the organization needs scrubs, sneakers and other rubber-soled shoes and handbags. Clothing donations are accepted by appointment on Thursdays.

Levis JCC Resale Boutique: 141 NW 20th St., Boca Raton; 561-368-3665;

The Levis Jewish Community Center in West Boca raises money through this thrift shop in East Boca, which takes art, decorative accessories, furniture, designer handbags and shoes, linens and household items. They will send a truck to pick up furniture, but donors have to email a picture of the furniture first.

A woman walks by the Goodwill store next to the former JCPenny department store Wednesday, August 23, 2017, in Canton, Ill.

Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune

Goodwill sells new and gently used items at its locations. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)


Goodwill: multiple locations;

Goodwill sells new and gently used items, with the money going to employment and job placement services. Some stores, such as the East Boca site, are “boutiques” that accept only clothing and housewares, while others, such as the Hollywood Taft store, will take not only clothing and housewares but also furniture in good condition (no mattresses, though). Goodwill offers drop-off only.

The Salvation Army: multiple locations;

Salvation Army thrift stores will take clothing, furniture, household items, appliances and cars. Their website has a handy guide that shows the value of your donations as you organize your tax deductions. Drop off items at their stores, or arrange a pickup.

Florida Breast Cancer Foundation: 954-962-5038;

The Florida Breast Cancer Foundation will send its trucks to pick up your discards in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The organization accepts “most any items,” according to its website, except for worn-out furniture, large appliances, magazines, textbooks and box springs without mattresses.

Faith Farm: 9538 U.S. Highway 441, Boynton Beach, 561-737-2222; and 1980 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-763-7787;

This Christian ministry runs faith-based recovery programs for drug and alcohol addiction. They operate two South Florida thrift stores, in Boynton Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and pick up furniture throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Jonathan Iovino, of Boca Raton, and Omar Torres, of Miami, load up with hurricane shutters from the Habitat for Humanity Restore on Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. There was a line out the door to purchase shutters.

Mike Stocker / Sun Sentinel

In this file photo, Jonathan Iovino, of Boca Raton, and Omar Torres, of Miami, load up with hurricane shutters from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Fort Lauderdale. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Habitat for Humanity ReStores: multiple locations;

These stores provide support for Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for needy families. The stores accept new and used furniture, appliances, cars and building materials. They will send trucks for large items.

ONLINE; 877-485-0337

The American Cancer Society will pick up items from your home, including clothing, furniture and appliances. They take items often not accepted by other charities, such as stereo equipment, golf clubs, underwear and eyeglasses.

Facebook’s Buy Nothing groups, such as Buy Nothing Boca Raton and Delray Beach, Buy Nothing Davie/Weston/Pembroke Pines and Buy Nothing Fort Lauderdale, FL

Members of these groups post in search of free items, or have items to give away. Recent posts have included people searching for baby clothes, mangoes and plastic bins. There also were offers to give away toilets, bricks, lamps and high chairs. Individuals arrange their own pickups.

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