Conquering your clutter

During our COVID confinement we’ve all been staring at our excess “stuff,” wondering how that happened. In this occasional series, Martha Tobin will answer some of your organization and decluttering questions and provide some tips and tricks for making the process easier. Send your questions to (confidentiality guaranteed and no names mentioned).

How and where to donate your stuff

Dear Martha,

My husband and I are going to be downsizing to a two-bedroom retirement residence in January. In anticipation of this move, we have started decluttering our current four-bedroom home and realize we have too much stuff! We would like to donate much of it, but we don’t know where we can take our books, CDs, clothing and linens.

We also have some working electronics that we would like to donate (i.e., a couple of old laptops, a monitor, keyboards and a fax machine).

Where can we take items like these and know they will have a second life?

Determined to Donate

Dear Determined,

Thank you very much for making donations a priority as you downsize. By finding homes for items that can have a second life, you are not only diverting them from landfills and helping our planet, but you are also ensuring that others in need in our community have access to them. Thank you very much for making a difference!

There are many charitable organizations in Ottawa that will give your donations a wonderful second life. A site called Charity Wish List ( is a great resource for determining where you can donate items. Just click on their “Find Charities by location and types of items wanted” button and plug in “Ontario and Ottawa” and you’ll get a list of items and where you can take them.

For books, you can reach out to Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, St. Joe’s Women’s Centre, Saint Vincent de Paul, Second Hand Stories, Twice Upon A Time and Ability First Ottawa.

For CDs, you can reach out to Friends of the Ottawa Public Library or Ability First Ottawa. You can also take them to thrift stores like Saint Vincent de Paul, Value Village and Salvation Army.

For clothing and linens, you can donate to Shepherds of Good Hope, Caldwell Family Centre and Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.

For working electronics, you can donate them to Hartwood House, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Dog Association and thrift stores like Saint Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army.

To protect your personal information, it’s a good idea to wipe your devices clean before you donate them. You can find out how to do this on the Recycle My Electronics site. (click here!)

For e-waste (electronics that cannot be used again), you can ensure the parts are recycled by bringing them to retailers who participate in a “return to retail” initiative. You can find these authorized locations at the Recycle My Electronics program link (Click here!).

To donate other items like used appliances, baby clothes, magazines, vehicles, food, furniture, musical instruments, pet-related items, sports equipment/sports clothing, office, home and school supplies, new and used toys and other miscellaneous items, you can also refer to the Charity Wish List site.

If you need further help finding a charity for a specific type of item not mentioned in the list, you can email A great resource indeed!

As Aesop said, no act of kindness, however small, is wasted.

Martha Tobin is a Glebe resident who launched her new business, Room2Breathe – Organizing & Decluttering, when COVID forced a change in career. She can be reached at

Maybe someone else can benefit from things you no longer need. Why not donate? Photo: M. Tobin

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