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  • Shawn F.

New Homes for Old Stuff

Very few New Yorkers have unlimited storage, so periodic purges are essential. Even if you’re not going full Marie Kondo, chances are you have some outfits you never wear, some books you’re never going to read again, and even some furniture pieces that could stand to find new homes. After over a decade in the city, we have some favorite places to donate and consign.

Housing Works This is our go-to destination for donations. It’s a great organization, and a New York institution; they work “to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.” With 14 thrift store locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, there’s sure to be a location close to you. They accept women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, shoes, housewares, furniture, and books. For the latter, be sure to check out their Bookstore Cafe on Crosby Street, a SoHo staple. For larger furniture, you can schedule a pick-up, though they prefer multiple pieces. All donations are tax-deductible. Materials for the Arts A division of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, this terrific organization “collects unneeded items from businesses and individuals, and makes these donations available for free to its recipients: nonprofit organizations with arts programming, government agencies, and public schools.” Computers, cameras, office supplies and furniture, power tools—they accept a wide range of items, many of which are hard to find homes for otherwise. Donations can be dropped off at their warehouse in Queens or shipped. For large donations, pick-up may be possible. But the most interesting avenue is their Direct Donations program. Donors provide a description of the items available, which are then listed on the MFTA website. Recipients can claim items and then come pick them up directly. I once donated a flat screen TV and some other AV equipment; the director of the Coney Island Museum came and picked them up, and we had a great conversation about boardwalks and circus folks and Old New York. That kind of interaction is far more valuable than a tax deduction (although those don’t hurt). INA Designer Consignment With two unisex boutiques, two dedicated women’s stores, and a men’s shop, INA is perhaps the most established high-end consignment option in the city. They accept “in-season, designer and contemporary brands.” Items are offered online and in the brick-and-mortar locations, and the proceed splits are reasonable. Donations are accepted by appointment only; check their website for the location nearest you.

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