Where to Donate Items in Des Moines

donate in des moines


Has your household felt the influence of Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up?” Are you purging the items that no longer “spark joy” and are now driving around with bags and bags of stuff in your trunk? If this sounds like you, consider yourself just one of the millions of people joining the trend of minimalism and decluttering.

Deciding what to get rid of is the hard part, right? Wrong!

Is there a place where someone else can benefit from this too small suit jacket and skirt?

I’d love to see this baby monitor get used by a mom who needs it.

It’s time to get rid of this coffee maker that’s just collecting dust. 

Man, my daughter barely wore those shoes before she outgrew them. I wonder if there is another kid in my community who could use them.

Here at Des Moines Moms Blog, we’ve tried to ease decision fatigue by compiling this list of alternative places to drop your donations.

But before we get too far, let’s run through basic donation etiquette: 

  1. Items need to be in good condition. This means new, like-new, or gently-used clothing. If it is dirty, holey, or worn, please toss it.
  2. Please only donate electronics and appliances that are in good working order. If it’s broken, throw it away.
  3. Check the organization’s list of accepted items. If you are unsure, call ahead to double check or coordinate drop-off if the item is especially large or out of the ordinary.
  4. Consider the person who is receiving the item. Wash and fold clothing and organize to the best of your ability prior to donating.

Alternative Places to Donate Items in Des Moines

Animal Lifeline of Iowa – Thrift Shop

Animal Lifeline Thrift Shop sells gently used goods to benefit special needs cats and dogs currently residing at Animal Lifeline of Iowa. They accept clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, books, movies, games, toys and sports equipment, household items, small electronics, and furniture. Proceeds financially support Animal Lifeline of Iowa, the only special needs, a no-kill animal shelter in central Iowa. Located at 4521 SE 14th St., Des Moines.

Central Iowa Shelter & Services

Central Iowa Shelter & Services’ mission is to provide low-barrier shelter, meals, and support services at no cost to adults experiencing homelessness and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency. Here are some of their top needs: healthy canned food options, can openers, pots, pans, plates, bowls, silverware, travel-size shampoo, toothpaste, disposable razors, towels, new underwear (in various sizes), men’s new or gently used pants, shoes, socks, shower sandals, tissue packs, antacids, Tylenol/Advil, 3 oz. disposable cups. You can visit them at 1420 Mulberry Street, Des Moines.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and life. Dress for Success is always on the hunt for: interview-appropriate suits, interview appropriate blouses (sizes 14 and up needed), professional separates including blouses, slacks, skirts, dresses, blazers and jackets (sizes 14 and up needed), work-appropriate shoes (sizes 9 wide; black and low-mid heel always a necessity), jewelry and scarves, handbags (briefcases, portfolios or work appropriate handbag), “Ready to Wear” clothing, and items purchased within the last 5 years. They are located at 6000 Grand Ave, Des Moines.

The FreeStore

The FreeStore provides household items and furniture free of charge to women who are referred by Iowa domestic violence services. Here are a few items that are always needed: vacuum cleaners, dressers, lamps, blenders, towels, queen and twin sized sheets, kitchen utensils, linens, pots and pans, end tables, coffee tables, toasters, coffee pots, crock pots. Contributions can be made at the FreeStore at 1020 24th St, West Des Moines.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

The money raised by Habitat ReStores helps families build a decent and affordable place to call home. When the items you donate to ReStore are sold, the money helps families achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better future. Habitat ReStore accepts new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods, and more from individuals and companies. Double check first, often times ReStore will accept other related items. There are two locations in the metro: 4033 NW Urbandale Dr, Urbandale and 2200 E Euclid, Des Moines.

Hope Ministries ENCORE Thrift Store

Hope Ministries is most in need of men’s clothing, electronics, and furniture. Some donations are taken to the shelter or recovery facilities to be distributed free to our shelter guests. Other donations are distributed through their King’s Closet voucher program with area social service agencies and churches. Finally, other items are placed for sale in the thrift stores. They also accept vehicles and offer pick-up services at [email protected]. Their thrift stores are located at 4640 Merle Hay Road in Urbandale and 500 E Army Post Road in Des Moines.

Many Hands Thrift Store

Every purchase benefits the ministry of Many Hands for Haiti and local missions. Many Hands for Haiti is a non-profit organization based out of Pella, Iowa. They currently have a campus in Pignon, Haiti, where they run programs for education, agronomy and feeding, leadership development, safe homes, and medical assistance. They accept things like clothing, shoes, books, household items, toys, furniture, sporting goods, and cars. They are located just off of Hwy 141 at 2900 SE Grimes Blvd, Grimes. Plus a new location opened Spring 2020 at 8801 University Ave in Clive. 

Ruth Harbor Ministries

Ruth Harbor Ministries provides Christ-centered homes, programs, and comprehensive services resulting in positive life change for young moms who are facing unplanned pregnancies or parenting young children. Here are some of their most needed items, but a complete list can be found online: video baby monitors, ladies’ winter boots, Thermal blankets (twin-size), handheld cordless vacuum, diapers (sizes 4, 5 & 6 only), baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, silk pillowcases (neutral color, light shade), feminine hygiene products.

T.A.K.E.: The Ankeny Klothing Exchange 

T.A.K.E. provides and accepts gently used clothing, linens, and small household goods for free to residents of northern Polk County in need. T.A.K.E. operates on donations from the community and is run by an all-volunteer staff. They are located on the 3rd floor of Neveln Center at 406 SW School Street, Ankeny. 

Dallas County Closet

Dallas County Closet aims to benefit students and families in need within the Waukee Community School District and Dallas County. They accept clothing donations as well as monetary donations and provide high-quality clothing (pre-worn as well as new) at no charge. By taking care of these basic necessities, it has been shown that students are able to focus on their school work without feeling self-conscious about their lack of clean or well-fitting clothes. It is located at 77 NE Carefree Lane in Waukee, just north of Hickman Rd. near Saints and Los Tres Amigos. Please note there are specific times and days they accept donations.

*Many communities and schools have community closets. Please check with your local community and school counselors.

Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS)

YESS provides a safety net of programs designed to help kids when they need it most, including emergency shelter, crisis nursery care, mental health counseling, and care coordination. As Iowa’s largest provider of emergency services for youth, the agency connects more than 2,000 children per year with healing and hope. At this time the only clothing donations YESS can accept are NEW t-shirts, sweatpants/lounge pants, underwear, undergarments, and athletic shorts. Please check their website for a full list of other things like craft supplies, toiletries, etc.  They are located at 918 SE 11th Street, Des Moines.

Note: Goodwill Industries is always a great organization to support. Our list is meant to help you consider other, worthy organizations in Des Moines!


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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


  1. Kara, Thank you so much for mentioning the Waukee Community Closet in your list. I just wanted to give you a quick update that we have changed our name to Dallas County Closet since we serve all of Dallas County and didn’t want to confuse our donors and clients. Also, we are only focusing on clothing items and do not include bedding at this time. Thanks for helping us reach people in our community!

    Ruth Heithoff


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