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Want To Clean Up Your Act? Where To Donate Old And Unused Craft Supplies

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
craft & maker

where to donate craft supplies

If part of your weekend cleaning regimen includes tidying up your crafting space, there’s a good chance you’ll be forced to face the fact that some of the stuff you’ve accumulated just doesn’t have a spot in your home or office anymore. Whether it’s the lap-sized loom you got when you considered getting into textiles, or the paintbrushes that never say a drop of pigment because someone gave them to you because they heard you’re an artist but painting isn’t really where your heart is, it’s time to stop holding on to those aspirational art supplies and turn them over to someone who might actually put them to use.

Donating craft supplies not only frees up valuable drawer space in your workshop, it’s also a great way to give the gift of creativity to those who may not be so fortunate as to have the option to try their hand at an artistic pursuit. Instead of throwing out all of those unused fat quarters or fibers, here’s where to donate craft supplies that you’re no longer using.

*Before you donate, evaluate the quality of your loot and make sure the supplies still have utility left in them. Most of these organizations are run by volunteers and sorting through donated supplies takes up super-valuable time so you’ll want to be sure the materials you give can be of use.

The Knitting Connection, Inc. If you’ve got old yarn that’s just never going to get used or more needles than you know what to do with, the Knitting Connection can put them to use. This network of do-gooders will then distribute the supplies to its volunteers, who knit and crochet hats, mittens, scarves, and other necessary items for children and distribute them around the country. You can find out more about them here.

A Little Something Beads and jewelry making tools can find a second life at this Denver, Colorado-based charitable organization, which helps train refugee women how to make jewelry and other crafts as a means of income. Be sure to look at the list of needed supplies before shipping.

The Dreaming Zebra Send your markers, paints, and other art supplies to this nonprofit, whose goal is to ensure that “children and young adults are given an equal opportunity to explore and develop their creativity in the arts.” Based in Portland, Oregon, the Dreaming Zebra provides art and music materials free of charge to schools and community organizations.

PROVAIL Located in Seattle, Washington, PROVAIL’s Art is NOT an Option campaign “promotes creativity, independence, dignity, and community integration for all participating artists with disabilities.”

“Artists attend a series of low to no-cost workshops where they are encouraged and supported to explore different media, develop artistic skills, and enhance their methods of self-expression,” according to PROVAIL, which accepts shipped donations of new and used art supplies year-round.

Children’s hospitals Medical centers that specifically help young people often host drives for toys and art supplies. Seek our your local children’s hospital to find their wish list, then see what you’ve got that matches.

Your local schools, women’s shelters, YMCAs, community centers, preschools, or churches. Truth be told, any place that has kids with busy hands would probably love any extra art supplies you’re not using.

“In low-income districts, school supplies are a luxury that many classrooms go without,” writes the Volunteer Guide, who add that it’s totally acceptable “if your supplies are slightly used – teachers will be so happy to have the school supplies that they won’t be too picky about their condition.” This is also true for locations which help women and children, such as shelters and other resources.

Simply contact the facility you’re considering donating to and ask what supplies they’re in need of, and when/where the best time to make the drop might be. Then collect up your items and send them along. And if you’re really not sure where to make donations? Contact your local United Way or other nonprofit organizer and ask.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.