Published 28 January 2018 ● Last Updated on 16 September 2021
You’re spring cleaning the house and the pile is getting tall. It is a mish-mash of things that are outdated, gifts that didn’t click with you, stuff that has spoiled, items that you have doubles of, clothes that fit you no more… So what do you do? Use our guide of course!
We’ve rounded up where you can donate good-condition items, and dispose of the rest responsibly. Save it for handy reference whenever you declutter!
And as you enjoy the newly empty space – do remember that the best way to declutter is to not create clutter in the first place! Do your bit by leading an eco-friendly lifestyle – buy only what you need from brands that are kind to our planet.
[Editor’s note: This article was updated in September 2020. However, do check with the recipient organizations on whether they are accepting the item you want to donate -a few of them face capacity constraints on and off.]
Where to give away old clothes and accessories?
When it comes to clothes, the options are many – you can give your pre-loved clothes to a friend, you can swap them for new ones and donate them to charity.
Swapaholic hosts swap events regularly – so you can expand your wardrobe by exchanging clothes as well as accessories. Their well-planned events allow you to arrange pick-up of pre-loved items from your home – and you can try things out at the event before you pick-up a replacement! How does the swap work? Sort out your wardrobe and keep a lookout for the next swap event here. Register online, get swap points – and show up at the event to exchange from their collection. Secondsguru loves their ethos, and we even have an eco-read recommendation from their founder here.
To shop less and swap more all year around, Swapaholic also has a SwapShop at Orchard Central, where you can swap or even buy preloved clothes and accesories, for men as well as women. Likewise, The Fashion Pulpit at Marina One has a space for you to drop off and swap all year round. Their pre-loved outlet also conducts workshops and events at this central location – to help you make more sustainable fashion choices. Click here to know about their events. Read Secondsguru’s conversation with the founder here.
A special mention goes out to Cloop – which closes the loop of clothing via an idea seed that was planted in the Secondsguru Zero Waste Bootcamp! Look out for regular swap events at Sprouts Hub and Crane Club.
If you have plus-size work-appropriate clothes for women- Image mission runs the Dress For Success programme in Singapore and is always on the lookout. Their collections are for marginalised women getting back into the workforce. In case you have office-appropriate clothes in regular size or neutral color bags to give away, check with them first if they need any. Drop off by appointment only – call 6747 6510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
New2U accepts clothes, bags as well as accessories – which are re-sold at prices as low as $1 at their thrift store. Proceeds from the store go towards the Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
Another option for pre-loved clothing [and for shoes, any other home fabrics, even curtains] is a new local start-up: Green square. The enterprise sorts clothes so that the good quality piles are exported for resale, and the rest is recycled into industrial cleaning cloth. What’s more – you can schedule a collection on their website instead of dropping off!
Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit organization with a mission to pass shoes and clothes on to those in need world over. They are present in Singapore now and are happy to accept preloved shoes and clothes in good condition. Drop an email to Sak at email@example.com or send a whatsApp at +65 8504-7909 to coordinate drop off or enquire about volunteering.
And then of course, there’s H&M’s recycling programme. Visit any of H&M’s stores- they have collection boxes near the payment counter and each bag you drop off earns you a 15% discount voucher. They accept home textiles and damaged unwearable clothes too. Clothes are sorted depending on whether they can be re-worn (and hence re-sold), reused (converted into cleaning cloth, etc) or recycled (converted back to fibre and used for insulation).
Lingerie: If these are in good condition (they will be reused) – support international charity Project Uplift; Perk by Kate in Singapore collects on behalf of Project Uplift all year around. Drop off, or post to 28 Senang Crescent #05-09 Singapore 416601); Mon to Thurs 10-5pm . Do give them a heads-up via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the header: Bra Donation.
If your inner wear isn’t in good condition, best that you bin it in Singapore (where it will be incinerated to generate power).
Towels: Animal shelters welcome clean towels as these provide a versatile use for their residents – from playthings to cage lining, to clean up! SOSD collection box (open all hours, every day) is the Yellow Donation hut, right outside their shelter at 22 Pasir Ris Farmway 2, Swift Singapore, Blk C, #01-13/14. Likewise, SPCA and Causes For Animals, are happy to accept at their respective centers.
Eye care – Visio Optical is an eye care store which provides repair services in case your sunglasses / spectacles are broken, tarnished or simply need a refit. They also have a spectacle collection programme to benefit the needy.
Project 2X2 lets you mail out used contact lens blister packs for recycling in Singapore. The project is a collaboration between eyecare brand Two of a Kind and Tay Recycling. At present, they only collect used blister packs – not the aluminum foil – as they have the ability to process #5 plastic only.
Where can I donate baby items and toys?
If you have preloved baby items and toys that you don’t need anymore, it’s a good idea to give them to another to use instead of just throwing them away in trash. Check within your family and friends circle if there is anyone who would accept these items. Next step, search social networks that you are a part of – mommy groups, condo notice boards as well as Facebook groups such as East Coast Preloved Sales and Preloved Baby Goods to rehome preloved baby things. (You will need to join the groups to post and view items.)[Is buying pre-loved is a good idea for a new mom? Handy advice from a new mom here.]
Tzu Chi is happy to accept preloved soft toys every second Sunday of the month at the various collection points of Tzu Chi Singapore.
Keep a lookout for collection drives before holiday seasons: pre-Christmas and pre-Chinese New Year see many efforts. For instance Share Your Spare Singapore runs regular collection drives, especially around major events, for beneficiaries in Philippines.
Where can I donate gently used shoes?
Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit organization with a mission to pass the shoes on to those in need world over. They are present in Singapore at 705 Sims Drive #02-12 Shun Li Industrial Complex, Singapore 387384 and are happy to accept preloved shoes (and even clothes) in good condition. You can volunteer with them to help sort out the donations they receive. Drop an email to Sak at email@example.com or send a whatsApp at +65 8504-7909 to coordinate drop off or enquire about volunteering.
You can donate your gently worn formal shoes to the Dress for Success programme run by Image Mission. Since the shoes are for women getting back into the workforce – neutral colours, low heels and closed toe shoes would be ideal. Call them on +65 6747 6510 to make an appointment for drop off.
Another option for good condition shoes is New2U – which collects shoes for resale at prices as low as $1 at their thrift store. Proceeds from the store go towards the Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
Finally, do check in with your child’s school to see if they have planned any shoe donation drive and keep a tab on the date.
Tzu Chi is happy to accept preloved shoes in wearable condition every second Sunday of the month at the various collection points of Tzu Chi Singapore
How to dispose off electronic waste responsibly?
Gadgets such as desktop computers, laptops, household appliances, healthcare items can be used by charities and low-income families that cannot afford purchases. Run a search on Pass it on – an initiative by Central Singapore CDC to match low income families with donors- to see if it matches any request placed in the system. Call +65 85119160 from Mondays to Fridays between 9am to 5pm.
Alternately, you can contact H.O.M.E. and arrange to drop off appliances that they need.
Park $2 Project, an active Facebook Group is another great place to find out if local or overseas charities need what you have to offer. Members announce and run donation drives on a need basis.
For ‘anything with an electrical cord’ which is not working anymore, it must be disposed off properly. Check this list on the NEA website where industry leaders like Starhub, Singtel, Panasonic, Dell, IKEA and other have taken the initiative to assist in e-waste recycling. Better still, download MyEnv app to locate the recycling point closest to you. Please note that the recycling will depend on the item you need to recycle, so a closer look is needed.
Where can I donate my old books?
Events based swaps:
We at Secondgsuru organise bi-annual book swaps to help people plug into the circular economy. Follow us on our Facebook page for the next bookswap announcement. Books and beer too organise book swaps – once every 2 months over a weekend. Just follow their Facebook page for next event announcement.
All year round:
The National Library, as well as various library branches, have a dedicated bookcase for drop-offs. Use it to pass on your books – and also as an alternative to purchasing!
Dignity mama stall accepts donations of books which are subsequently sold in the Dignity mama stalls run by special needs adults along with their parents. Click here to check the drop off locations islandwide. [P.S. -You can buy online or at the stalls].
Books Beyond Borders is another great option to fund social causes when you declutter or add to your collection. It benefits not only when you donate – but even when you buy from their wide collection – backed up with efficient pickup and delivery system.
Likewise, used books are accepted and sold by Thryft – a very smooth affair given their book drop-off points at various locations in Singapore (if you want to donate), and an easy-to-navigate website (if you wish to buy). Although drop-offs are currently closed due to covid-19 measures, they’re still taking in books for trade-in or donation – full details here . Free pick-ups from users’ address if they are trading-in 20 books or more!
Start-up Seekabook runs an online book-swap platform with a catalog that runs into more than 7000 books. The service includes pick-up of books as well as drop-off – so you can arrange the whole exchange from the comfort of your computer! Exchange books 1-for-1 at a reasonable subscription fees. First 5 books are free in case you want to try their service before committing.
What can I do with my old furniture?
If re-upholstering or restoration can make you rethink about letting go of what you have – try that first! Here’s a list of vendors that are great at repair jobs of a wide range.
To re-home your furniture, post on social networks such as condo notice boards, or Facebook groups (East Coast Preloved Sales, Free loved furniture, Ikea second-hand are among the active groups). Second-hand seller Hock Siong is another option – you can either donate or sell gently used furniture to them – however, they will screen before accepting. Send an email with a picture of the item on firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your price expectation (if any). (Hock Siong is also one of our favourite places to buy pre-loved furniture!)
For True-blue donation, register your item on Pass it on– an initiative by Central Singapore CDC to match low-income families with donors. Check the website or call +65 85119160 from Mondays to Fridays between 9 am to 5 pm.
Park $2 Project, an active Facebook Group is another great place to find out if local charities need what you have to offer.
Where can I give away excess food?
Packaged food – unopened and unexpired only – can be donated to various charities that support beneficiaries – such as H.O.M.E., Willing Hearts, Food From the Heart and Fei Yue Community Services. Do click on the links to check what food supplies they need (their needs vary depending on the migrants workers at the institution) and arrange to drop off at a convenient time. (They also accept toiletries.)
Where can I donate my old stuff? (This covers almost everything!)
The following institutions, social media groups accept almost everything albeit in good condition. A good rule of thumb is “Don’t donate, if you wouldn’t use it”
– The Olio app [Apple store, Google Play] is an active community of freecyclers – and they allow non-food as well as food giveaways. With location functionality built in, you may find it it an easy platform to arrange pick-ups and drop-offs of stuff you don’t need.
-EcoBank – An annual initiative by City Development Ltd and EcoBusiness, it lets you donate preloved toys, clothes, books and accessories at various locations. [Next scheduled for early 2020 – we’ll update when dates are announced!] The donations will be sorted, curated and sold at the EcoBank bazaar at City Square Mall to support Singapore-based charities.
-Tzu Chi- Drop off preloved clothes, electrical appliances, school bags, leather, belts, shoes, soft toys every second Sunday of the month at the various collection points of Tzu Chi Singapore.
–New2U accepts clothes (men, women, and children), Books, toys, bags and accessories, shoes, crockery and even utensils. These must be in usable condition as they are eventually resold at their thrift store. Proceeds from the store go towards the Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
–MINDS – Minds accepts most used items that are in usable, good condition – such as clothes, bags, books, small furniture, household items, toys and more. For more info, contact Ms Linda Yusop (email@example.com) or via Tel: 8180 2095.
– Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) – The Singapore chapter of the Really, Really Free Market (RRFM) movement has an active life in Singapore. They create temporary markets – visit their Facebook page for details of the next market day – where you can leave behind anything you no longer need. And of course, you can pick up for free anything that catches your fancy!
– Salvation Army – They accept most used items too. Check the list of drop off locations island-wise here. But be aware they get more than they can use, so a vast number of items are ultimately shipped out of Singapore.
-Social Media Forums and Freecycle groups: We have mentioned many of these throughout the article – Park$2, East Coast Preloved Sales, Free loved furniture – to name a few. In addition – there are Freecycle.SG and iamfreecycle… and we are sure there are many more! Drop a comment below if you’re associated with a group we haven’t mentioned and would like to be discovered!
-Finally, keep a lookout on Secondsguru Calendar to stay updated on collection drives.
-Anuja & Lara