The Fourth R: Get RID of it!

where to donate unwanted goods in Northern VA
By User:AlbertHerring (Image taken by me for Wikipedia) [CC BY 3.0 (, GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
You’ve Reduced, Re-Used, and Recycled, and now it’s time for some of your stuff to find a new home so someone ELSE can use it. If you’re like me, you load up donations with the best intentions in the world, and then drive around with a lot of junk in your trunk for a while. Or else you purge so enthusiastically that you’d have to make multiple trips, and there is no donation bin large enough for your piles. Don’t worry, you can literally use the power of the internet to summon a truck to your house, to take your unwanted items away.

Generally, each place has several scheduled dates when they’ll be in your neighborhood next. Be sure to check their list of accepted items so your donation doesn’t end up in a dumpster!

Vietnam Veterans Association
Lupus Foundation
Purple Heart
Salvation Army
National Children’s Center

They’ll pick up your donation, leave you a receipt so you can take a tax deduction, and you’ll go on your merry way. (Be sure to look up the fair market value of your items!)

What to do if your item isn’t on the list of accepted items? You’ve got some options. Some are Charitable, some are not.

Where to Donate odd items that may not be accepted for truck pickup but are still useful

  • Open packages of diapers or feminine hygiene products: These items are greatly needed in the community and even if you have opened a package, you can take them to the Greater DC Diaper Bank. Learn more here.
  • Have old, damaged, or otherwise no longer useful CDs, DVDs, or DVD-rs? Send them to the CD Recycling Center of America.
  • list your items for free on FreecycleCraig’s List, or a Facebook Yard Sale group. Most local police stations will allow you to make an exchange in their parking lot so you do not need to give your home address out over the internet to people you’ve never met.  You won’t get a donation receipt, but with only the occasional hitch you can find an individual to come pick up your item or items and get them out of your life.

Do you need to recycle or discard electronics, large or bulky items, or hazardous materials? Check your county waste collection website for information on how to schedule a bulk pickup or on where to drop items off for recycling. (Fairfax county includes five bulk pickups per year in your quarterly water and trash bill, so it’s no extra money out of your pocket!)

Fairfax County Special Waste Collection Services

(Did you know that Fairfax County is piloting a compost program? You can have your organic waste picked up to be turned into compost! Read more here.)

City of Alexandria Special Waste Collection Services


(Did I miss any? Let me know by leaving a comment.)

About Meghan

I like blues, punk, crime drama, mysteries, knitting, science fiction, having boys, and keeping active. I am a cat person, although I think dogs should have equal opportunities. When I'm not here, you'll find me on our main site, or out and about with my kids!

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