Maybe you’ve been inspired to try the Konmari Method™. Maybe you’re feeling an end-of-the-year itch to replace everything in sight in your studio apartment. Or maybe you have a few items that you no longer need, but you don’t want them to end up in a landfill. Where should you bring all of your clothing, household items, and furniture to be given a new life in someone else’s home?
The Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board (MSWAB) — a citizens’ organization assisting the city in its Zero Waste x 2030 mission — is here to help. MSWAB is committed to advancing sustainable legislative policies, encouraging public forums on local sustainability practices, and earning grants for community environmental initiatives. Their recent victories include the New York Plastic Bag Ban, the Curbside Organics Pilot Program (bringing free weekly composting to a wider range of NYC neighborhoods), and $300K of grant-giving.
According to the Department of Sanitation’s most recent Waste Characterization study, 77% of NYC garbage could be reused or recycled rather than discarded. The MSWAB’s latest project is an interactive map of places to donate unwanted items, reuse household goods, and repair electronics and other items that would otherwise be discarded. They’ve also included citywide locations where you can obtain usable items at no cost, citing various free stores throughout the five boroughs.
A few notable Hell’s Kitchen locations are featured — including the Metropolitan Community Church of NY (446 W36th Street — east of 10th Ave) for clothing and small household items and New Alternatives NYC for hygiene items (410 W40th Street — west of 9th Ave).
For both donations and community exchange, the MSWAB lists the Hell’s Kitchen Free Store (401 W45th Street — corner of 9th Ave) as a place to donate your used items and take what you need. Catie Savage, founder of the Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion (a community organization dedicated to neighborhood clean up and recycling initiatives) agrees — “Best place for household items is the HK Free Store at 45th & 9th by the old Southern Hospitality location.”
The Salvation Army (536 W46th Street between 10/11th Ave) is also mentioned as a donation spot for clothing. Savage cautions, however, that clothing donated to The Salvation Army must “be in good condition — or else they end up getting shipped overseas as scrap, creating environmental issues.”
In addition to the MSWAB picks, here are a few additional spots we’ve sourced on our yearly mission to organize ourselves:
The Buy Nothing Midtown West Facebook Group, a community group dedicated to exchanging needed items between neighbors to reduce overall community consumption and keep the economy hyperlocal.
Covenant House (460 W41st Street bw 9th/10th Ave), a long-standing organization dedicated to providing residential services to young people experiencing homelessness. Covenant House is accepting limited donations of the following pre-approved items:
New and unused plain white t-shirts (S, M, L, XL, XXL), sweatpants, black pants, leggings, dress shirts, men’s belts, luggage and duffel bags, dress pants, winter scarves, coats, umbrellas, sketchbooks and sketching paper, paint, canvas, pencils, markers, flip-flops, slippers, bathrobes, craft supplies and coloring books, as well as new and unused men’s underwear, women’s underwear, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, bras, bars of soap, baby wipes, water bottles, pacifiers and formula (regular and lactose-free). You can check out their brand new building while you are there!
Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries (410 W40th Street bw 10th/11th Ave), a Hell’s Kitchen-focused ministry offering after-school programming, teen centers, food pantries, and a winter clothing closet. Rauschenbusch is currently accepting Hope Bags – they request drawstring bags filled with winter accessories (winter gloves, hats, etc.) and filling snacks to distribute to community members.
Urban Pathways (575 8th Ave bw W38/39th St), an organization providing resources for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, is also seeking donations of clothing, toiletries, and household items.
@StoopingNYC has the scoop on the recently discarded treasures of New York’s sidewalks, ranging from Barbie dreamhouses (“Best Real Estate Deal on the UES”!) to spin bikes — keep an eye out for fast-disappearing Hell’s Kitchen finds!
After you’ve organized and donated and sidewalk shopped to your heart’s delight, take this advice from Catie Savage into 2022: “Overall, people should be more conscious of their purchases. Invest in quality clothing items that are made to last, instead of fast fashion which overproduces and causes a ton of pollution.” That’s a resolution we can wholeheartedly get behind!