What Can and Cannot Be Donated? |The Salvation Army Donations Guide

The Salvation Army Donations Guide

Hi, I’m the Salvation Army donations guy. No, I do not ring the bell during the Holiday Season. I am a regular part-time employee that takes donations at one of our many locations. I am here to answer some of your questions and here to give you some rules and etiquette for donating at The Salvation Army. Let us start by going over the hours when you can donate your items.

Note: This post is specifically directed towards the Tampa, FL area. Donation hours and policies may slightly vary depending on your location, although most of these rules are universal for The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army Donation Centers are open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. The Donation Centers are also open on Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, but the store will not be open. So you can’t donate furniture or mattresses/box springs on Sunday because we cannot bring that stuff inside the store, and we want to conserve space in the trailers. 

Drop off hours for The Salvation Army 

Monday to Saturday – 9:30 am to 6:00 pm

Sunday – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (No Furniture or Mattresses/Box springs on Sundays)

DON’T LEAVE YOUR STUFF AFTER HOURS BECAUSE OF THEFT AND VANDALISM

Now that you know when you can donate, let’s go over what you can donate.

The Salvation Army will take pretty much everything. It’s probably easier to list the things that we don’t take. But here’s a list of everything that we do take just for shits and giggles. 

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What does The Salvation Army take?

Note: Please, have everything in boxes, bins, or bags that you’re willing to donate. Clothes can be in garbage bags. Wash the clothes because we don’t. Make sure everything is in good condition. Don’t donate junk, because our dump bill is insane. We are not the dump, so don’t treat us like we are. Thank You.

  • Clothes (Men’s, Women’s, Kid’s, and Babies)
  • Shoes (Men’s, Women’s, Kid’s, and Babies)
  • Purses, wallets, belts, watches, jewelry, and other accessories
  • Books
  • Board Games
  • Notebooks, pens, paper, staplers, and other stationery supplies
  • Printers/Copiers
  • Bikes, scooters, and skateboards
  • Toys/Stuffed Animals
  • Pictures and Mirrors
  • Canned Goods (No expired items)
  • Baby strollers, cribs, and car seats (these are only sold at the auctions for liability reasons)
  • Glassware, dishes, and knick-knacks 
  • Furniture and Mattresses/Boxsprings (Not on Sunday)
  • Towles, pillows, and bed dressings
  • Rugs
  • Brooms, Swiffers, and Vacuums
  • Pressure Washers
  • Shower rods and curtains (Check Habitats for Humanity first)
  • Window Blinds and Shades (Check Habitats for Humanity first)
  • Chandeliers, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and light bulbs (Check Habitats for Humanity first)
  • Artificial Plants
  • Walkers, Wheel Chairs, Canes, and Crutches
  • Luggage
  • Cell Phones and Laptops
  • Answering Machines and House Phones
  • Cds and DVDs
  • Video game consoles and video games
  • Alarm Clocks
  • Speakers
  • Computers, towers, monitors, and keyboards
  • Headphones/Earbuds
  • VHS and VCRs
  • Lamps, lampshades, and electric fans 
  • Modern Flat Screen TVs
  • Coffee Pots, Toasters, Blenders, and Microwaves (preferably clean and not sticky)
  • Pots, Frying pans, and kitchen utensils (Again, preferably clean and not sticky)
  • Grills (No Gas)
  • Washers/Dryers and other appliances (Only in good working condition)
  • Hammers, screwdrivers, and other tools
  • Electric lawnmowers, edgers, trimmers, and other garden tools (No Gas)
  • Pianos, drum sets, guitars, and other musical instruments
  • Electric Keyboards
  • Sports Equipment
  • Golf Clubs, tennis rackets, and fishing rods
  • Basketball hoops and soccer goals
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Adult Diapers
  • Medical Supplies
  • Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Decor (Even after Christmas unfortunately)
  • Treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes
  • Weights, dumbbells, and pull-up bars (All exercise equipment)
  • Surfboards and boogie boards
  • Air Compressors
  • Scales
  • Bowling Balls
  • Coolers and sport water bottles
  • Water Coolers
  • Albums
  • Sports memorabilia and other collectible items

I’ll keep adding to this list if I think of more stuff.

Ok, now let’s talk about the stuff we won’t take.

What doesn’t The Salvation Army take?

We do not take anything that has severe damage, which includes anything that has rips, has stains, has scratches, has cracks, does not work, or lacks structural integrity. Take this as a general rule of thumb. (What about minor damage?)

We do not take old tube TVs. As a rule, we will not accept any TV that is over five years old, only modern flat screens. We do not take tube TVs because they do not sell anymore, and disposing of them is too expensive. Like I said earlier, our dump bill is insane. These TVs end up hurting our company more than they help. We also do not take big TV-stands that are for old TVs for the same reasoning. 

If you’re going to donate a bed or shelving, make sure it is ready to assemble. We will not take anything with missing pieces. For example, you can’t donate a headboard if the rest of the bed is missing.

We do not take construction material such as; floor tiles, doors, sinks, toilets, etc., please make sure you check the Habitats for Humanity because they will probably have a better use for that kind of stuff.

We do not take anything with gas or kerosene because they are flammable. (Especially Propane)

We do not take anything with potentially hazardous chemicals such as cans of paint.

We do not take car parts such as wheels, tires, or headlights

We do not take dictionaries or encyclopedias because they’re not in use any more courtesy of the internet.

We do not take Money at the donation centers.

You can Click Here to Donate Money to the Salvation Army. 

Does The Salvation Army give you a tax write off?

Yes, you can ask for a tax receipt after you donate your items. The employee will fill out the date, their signature, and the condition of your items. You can fill out the items you donated and the dollar value of each item on your own time.

Click Here for Donations Value Guide.

Just realize you can only get one receipt a day. Write on the back of the receipt if you need more space or just staple a piece of paper.

What is the tax receipt for?

The tax receipt is used to record a cash value on the items that someone donates. Someone can use the cash value on their tax receipt to get a deduction off their taxes. You have to donate a lot of goods (cash value) during the year to actually get something off your taxes. (How Much?)

Does the Salvation Army do pick up?

Yes, you can call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825). You can choose a day to schedule a pickup, and a truck will come between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on that day to pick up your stuff. Anything you can donate at a donations center, a SA Truck will pick up at your house.

You can also click here to schedule a pickup.

Does The Salvation Army take Vehicle Donations?

Yes, you can call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825) to schedule a vehicle donation. The Salvation Army will take Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, Vans, RVs, Boats, and other vehicles.

You can also click here to donate a vehicle.

What does The Salvation Army do with all this stuff?

The Salvation Army has many districts throughout the United States. Each district has a distribution center and several receiving stores. The donations that are accepted at the receiving stores will be loaded in trailers and sent to the distribution center in their district. The people at the distribution centers unload all of the trailers/trucks and then sort and test all of the stuff. Anything that breaks or does not work is dumped or recycled. Most of the sellable goods will be priced, organized, and transported back to the surrounding receiving stores to be sold. The other sellable goods will be sold at the auctions.

Click Here for Vehicle Auctions

Click Here for Online Auctions

Making the most of your donations!

When you donate your items to The Salvation Army you are helping an organization that does a lot of good. To make the most of your donations make sure your breakable items are in plastic bins or boxes that your willing to donate. The trailers that contain your stuff travel over an hour to get to a distribution center. Loose glassware is bound to break during this trip. Packing your items in bins or boxes will make things easier and safer for everyone involved. Thank you.

What does The Salvation Army do with furniture donations?

At the store that I work for, furniture that is donated is moved through the store and placed on a dock. Trucks come every day to load the furniture and transport it to the distribution center. At the distribution center the furniture will be processed and checked to make sure it is in good condition. Couches and mattresses/boxsprings are washed and sanitized. Anything that needs to be asembled will be assembled. The store at the distribution center gets first dibs on the sellable furniture. The rest of the sellable furniture gets transported back to the surrounding recieving stores.

What good does The Salvation Army do?

The Money that The Salvation Army makes is used for many purposes. The majority is used to fund our Adult Rehabilitation Centers. The Adult Rehabilitation program helps people who are trying to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. These are the people that price and organize all of the stuff that comes to the distribution centers. The Salvation Army helps these people by guiding them in recovery and by allowing them to work in the program. They give second chances when others won’t.

 The Salvation Army also has many other programs.

  • Individual and family sheltering

The Salvation Army Community Centers give the homeless and struggling families a temporary place to stay. Here they are served hot food and assisted in finding a more permanent housing solution.

  • Seasonal Assistance

During the holiday season, The Salvation Army seeks to provide warm meals and a bed for every homeless person.

  • Disaster Relief

During disaster relief efforts, The Salvation Army gives clothes, food, water, and shelter to the victims. I wrote a post about 10 natural disasters and how The Salvation Army helped.  

  • Fighting Against Human Trafficking 

The Salvation Army provides immediate refuge for the victims of human trafficking and enslavement. The Salvation Army will be there for victims during spiritual and emotional healing.

Click here to find out more about these programs.

Alright, I hope I answered some of your questions. I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who volunteer for The Salvation Army. I also wanted to thank those who take the time to donate sellable items. Giving is the backbone of The Salvation Army, and your contributions help a lot.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army donations guy

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