Photo: Thinkstock

New Eyes for the Needy sends your old eyeglasses abroad, bringing the gift of sight to places like Bolivia, Ghana, and Cambodia.
Baby clothes

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Baby Clothes
If your infant has outgrown his teensy wardrobe, pass it on to Newborns in Need, which provides essentials for a child's first weeks of life to hospitals serving ill and impoverished babies.

You can also send them to Loved Twice, which accepts gently used baby apparel sizes 0 to 12 months and provides a year's worth of clothing to needy moms across the United States.

Mobile Phones
Help Medical Workers
Old—even broken—devices donated to Hope Phones facilitate better healthcare in 14 developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by allowing medical workers to text each other regarding patients and treatments.

Recycle It
Millions of working cell phones tossed each year in favor of newer models end up polluting our landfills with toxic materials or idling in our drawers. Flipswap will give you cash for your phone and keep it out of the trash by reselling or safely recycling it. Just print out a free-shipping label online. They'll also plant a tree for every phone recycled (since 2008, they've planted more than 400,000).

Give It to a Soldier
Send your old Motorola or busted iPhone to Cell Phones for Soldiers. The phones are sold to a company that recycles them, and Cell Phones for Soldiers uses the money to buy calling cards for troops stationed abroad so they can phone home for free. Go to Cellphones For Soldiers to print a free prepaid shipping label.

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Desk Supplies
Eco-friendly product purveyor TerraCycle turns everything from dried-up pens and highlighters to three-ring binders and tape dispensers into like-new products such as flowerpots, park benches and plastic lumber.

Because Fluffy could use something...well, fluffy, drop off old towels and blankets at your local animal shelter, which often relies on donations to replenish even the most basic goods. The cats and dogs housed in concrete kennels will thank you.

Illustration: Thinkstock

iPods and Music
Through Music & Memory, iPods in working condition—as well as donated iTunes gift cards—help lift the spirits of elderly patients with Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
Soccer ball

Sports Equipment
Baseball Equipment
If your Little Leaguers have graduated to the majors, Pitch in for Baseball will take their bats, balls, and gloves and distribute them to kids in impoverished communities in the United States and throughout the world.

Soccer Shoes
Peace Passers collects gently used soccer equipment—balls, shoes, team sets of last year's jerseys—and distributes it to communities in need around the world. Contact peacepassersinfo@gmail.com for information on a shipment location near you.

Yoga Mats
Wipe it down, roll it up, and send your yoga mat to Recycle Your Mat, which recycles worn-out mats or donates those in good condition to local community programs.

Everything Else
Send Frisbees, baseballs, cleats and more to Sports Gift. They will refurbish the items and distribute them to needy children in the United States and abroad.
Used clothing

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Used Clothing
Business Attire
Has your husband or son finally invested in a suit that fits? Donate his old ones to Career Gear, which offers unemployed men interview clothing and career counseling. Have a suit of your own to donate? The Women's Alliance provides a directory of local organizations that accept interview-ready clothing for disadvantaged job-seeking women.

Vintage Clothing
Someone out there can fit into your skinny jeans. At WebThriftStore.com, you can sell old clothes, electronics, gift cards, even some cars; just post photos of each item and designate a charity you want to support with your sales.

Help Veterans
Plenty of organizations will accept your tired attire, but Vietnam Veterans of America resells it to fund programs for veterans, and will pick up your donation.

Winter Coats
Hold on to them until fall, then find a local coat drive through One Warm Coat (most drives begin in October). Coats must be clean, and all closures should work.
Stuffed bear

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Stuffed Animals
If your kids' rooms are filled with practically new stuffed animals, consider donating them to Loving Hugs, which offers children in war zones, refugee camps, and orphanages a cuddly new friend.

Another option is to send them to Stuffed Animals for Emergencies, which donates gently used stuffed animals to homeless shelters, hospitals, and emergency aid workers—paramedics often give the soft toys to kids they meet on their calls.
Bird house

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Wood Planks, Construction Materials
Reclaimed wood is in demand for use in eco-friendly construction projects. Log on to PlanetReuse to offer up detritus produced by your home renovation, including lighting fixtures and garden furniture, to other builders or homeowners.

Or you can drop them off at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. ReStores sell donated goods at discounted prices; the money is used to fund the construction of Habitat homes. Each ReStore is different, so contact one in your area for information on what items they take.
Pink wedding dress

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Formal Dresses
Wedding Gowns
Why leave your gorgeous dress to languish in the attic, only for your daughter to eventually decide it's not really her style? Through Brides Across America, your gown can make a military bride's big day. You can also donate your gown to Brides Against Breast Cancer, a program that sells new and used dresses to help fund the wishes of metastatic breast cancer patients hoping to share memorable experiences with loved ones.

Bridesmaid Dresses & Prom Dresses
Get rid of unwanted tulle at DonateMyDress.org, which distributes prom, Sweet 16, and quinceañera frocks to girls who can't afford them.

Cocktail Attire
Send it to Housing Works which sells high-end secondhand apparel at thrift stores throughout New York City to provide housing, job training, medical treatment and more to homeless and low-income people living with HIV and AIDS.

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

You know all those hotel shampoos and soaps you've collected? (Come on, we know you have.) Clean the World will deliver them to areas beset with widespread—and life-threatening—communicable diseases, most of which can easily be contained through frequent hand washing.
Little Mermaid DVD

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

DVDs and Video Games
Your Little Mermaid DVD
If your young ones aren't so young anymore, consider sending their favorite childhood DVDs to Kid Flicks, an organization run by four sisters whose goal is a library of family-friendly movies for every children's hospital and pediatric department in the country.

Video Games
The Get-Well Gamers Foundation believes that playing Madden NFL 13 can help hospitalized children forget their pain. Send new and used games to its California headquarters. Have older games or an outdated gaming system? Donate Games also accepts used games and systems—including your 1990s Mario Kart—and then posts them for sale at a discounted price. Purchases fund medical research to help fight rare, life-threatening or debilitating diseases.
Tree illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Garden Produce
If your green thumb produces greater bounty than you and your family can consume this year, donate the excess through Ample Harvest, which connects backyard gardeners to food pantries in their area—and even has an app for iPhone and Android!
Pencil sharpener illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Art Materials (or Things You Never Knew Were Art Materials)
Craft Supplies
Offer up leftover supplies from knitting, painting, and sewing projects through Made4Aid.org, which sells them to artists and crafters and donates proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

Overrun with Crayolas too stubby to color with? Ship them off to Crazy Crayons, which recycles unusable crayons into brand-new ones.

Unusual Items
Creative reuse centers collect unexpected art supplies—like old VHS tapes, cardboard tubing, wire hangers, paper scraps—and distribute them to artists. The centers are popping up across the country: the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, California; the Scrap Exchange in Durham, North Carolina; and Trash to Treasure in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are just a few examples. (Google "creative reuse center" to find one near you.)
Car illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Habitat for Humanity's Cars for Homes program accepts your unwanted vehicle (or practically anything else with a motor), sends you the receipt necessary to deduct it from your taxes, and even tows away your donation. Then they resell it to help build affordable housing in your area.
Rooster with stamps

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Your Grandmother's Antiques, an Old Stamp Collection
To maximize the good you can do with clothes or household items of potentially high resale value, log on to MissionFish, which allows you to donate profits (or portions of profits) from eBay sales directly to a favorite charity—say, the Humane Society of the United States, which works tirelessly to improve conditions for farmed animals.
Hospital illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Once you're finished with your issue, consider giving it to your local hospital; many stock their waiting rooms with magazines donated by members of the community.
Shoes illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Running Shoes
One World Running promotes health in the United States and the developing world by sending new or nearly new athletic shoes to American shelters as well as Africa, Central America, and Haiti. If your shoes aren't quite "nearly new," they'll be recycled into material for tracks and playgrounds.

Every Type of Shoe
Souls4Soles has given away nearly 12 million pairs of shoes to people in need. Donations can be left in the organization's numerous drop boxes nationwide or shipped to any of its three warehouses.
Book illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Goodnight Moon—or Twilight
The Children's Book Project has helped thousands of disadvantaged children learn to read by giving more than 1.5 million books to schools, homeless shelters, and community centers. Any gently used children's book can be donated—whether a board book for infants or a novel for teens.

Books for Africa accepts texts of all kinds—from picture books to encyclopedias—to help fill libraries and classrooms throughout the continent. Except for dictionaries, reference books should have been published in the past ten years.
Trumpet illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Musical Instruments
Music in Schools Today has been helping to provide music education to K-12 students in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1983 and places some 200 donated instruments with needy schools each year through its Adopt an Instrument program.

Roots of Music, an after-school program in New Orleans teaches children ages 9 to 14 how to read and play music. The nonprofit also provides students with academic tutoring and hot meals. Instruments must be in working order.
Cables illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Recycle It
If you, like most of us, have amassed a collection of mysterious PC cables, CD-ROMs, and grubby old mice, check out GreenDisk, which safely recycles all this high-tech junk—plus CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, cassettes and much more.

Give It Away
The National Cristina Foundation will match your used tech equipment—a computer, printer, software, fax machine, monitor, mouse or any other parts—with an organization near you that needs it. Many are nonprofits that provide education or training to at-risk students or people with disabilities.
Ill-fitting jeans

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Ill-Fitting Jeans
Cotton from Blue to Green is a national recycling campaign that organizes denim drives with universities and stores like Guess and Gap. Donated jeans are reduced to their natural state—i.e., cotton—treated with fire retardants, and reborn as cutting-edge eco-friendly insulation for communities in need, like the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
Kitchen sink illustration

Illustration: Daniel Horowitz

Just About Anything!
Freecycle, an eight-million-strong "worldwide gifting movement," reduces waste by connecting trash-bound household items—bikes, coffee tables, moving boxes, appliances, birthday party decor, and more—with local people who want them. And if you'd rather get a free bike than give one, you can do that, too.

Next: Peter Walsh's 5 ways to declutter your home this weekend