Smile Politely

Environmentally conscious in C-U: Donate your stuff and feel good about it

I am a very minimalist person with what I allow in my apartment, so I am continually getting rid of those things I no longer have a need for, or that I feel are just cluttering up rooms. I love being able to donate those used items to places in C-U that can then turn around and resell my items, and use the proceeds to help people right here in our community. So, the next time you decide to do some spring (or any season, really) here are some places in town that will gladly take your donations.

Photo from Orphans Treasure Box website

Orphans Treasure Box

I’m an avid reader, so I’ve always had a very extensive bookshelf of books. However, since I am more of a minimalist by nature, I don’t like having a ton of books on my bookshelf. Once I finish a book, I love being able to donate it away (unless I’m going to read it over and over — I’m looking at you Harry Potter series). Orphans Treasure Box is my favorite place to donate my books. They resell the books in an online bookstore as well as in their retail store in Champaign. The books online are all reasonably priced, but in store they are even cheaper at 50 cents or less a book. Aside from their huge selection of books, one of my favorite things about Orphans Treasure Box is that they employ people who are in need of a second chance. They have a program called ReStart which allows people in the community who may have complicated backgrounds get a part time job and get back on their feet. On the website, they quote a ReStart employee saying “It’s more than a paycheck…its just giving that chance and opportunity to work again, feel some sense of purpose and feel like we’re accomplishing things.” So you can know every time you donate even just one book you’re helping someone right here in C-U turn their life around.

Orphans Treasure Box
821 Pioneer Street
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Donations can be dropped off during store hours or any time in the shed behind the building.

Photo by Melinda Edwards

The Idea Store

As an artist and crafter, The Idea Store is one of the places in town that I always try to stop at when I’m out running errands. The best thing about the store is that their inventory is comprised of objects that have been donated by others in the community. It’s such a wonderful idea to help keep things out of landfills by putting them back into the hands of artists and creators. I know that I often have miscellaneous items sitting in my studio that I have no intention of using, but, don’t want to throw out because they are perfectly good, just not right for what I’m creating. The Idea Store is the perfect place to take those kinds of things that you aren’t quite sure what to do with, whether they are art supplies, jewelry, cardboard tubes, puzzles pieces, or doll heads. While they do accept a lot, if you have something outlandish, I would suggest perusing their list of acceptable items to make sure it’s something they can take. 

The Idea Store
125 Lincoln Square
Tuesday-Friday 12 to 7 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Donations are accepted Tuesday-Friday from 12 to 6:30 p.m. or Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Photo from ReStore Facebook page

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Many people have probably heard of Habitat for Humanity or even know someone who has a home built by the organization. Here in C-U, we are lucky enough to also have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore where they sell gently used household goods at reasonable prices. A portion of the proceeds made at ReStore then go to help provide affordable housing for people in Champaign County. So if you’re looking for a place to donate any household items, this is definitely a great place to consider. Before bringing your donations to the store, I would suggest looking through this list to see what they do and do not take to make sure it’s something they will accept. Also, if it’s a bigger item or you just aren’t able to haul it over to the store, they do offer a pick-up option. So not only can you get rid of that dresser or couch, you don’t even have to leave the house to do it.

119 E University Ave
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donation can be dropped off during store hours. To arrange a pick up call (217) 359-0507.

Photo from Salt and Light Facebook page

Salt and Light

Salt and Light offers an incredibly diverse selection of items, all of which have been donated by others. They have your typical assortment of clothes, accessories, and household decor, but they also have books, DVDs, and their Urbana location has a full grocery store. If it’s on your shopping list, the chances are good you will be able to find it at Salt and Light. This also means they accept quite a bit donations-wise. Take a look through their list of acceptable items before bringing anything in, but this is a good one stop donation spot, and you can donate at both the Champaign and Urbana locations. They even recycle items that don’t make it to the sales floor.

Salt and Light offers a wide variety of opportunities to help people here in C-U get back on their feet. On the website, they state that “Salt & Light strives to EMPOWER individuals towards lasting change by AFFIRMING their DIGNITY.” I personally love knowing that my items can make that kind of a difference in someone else’s life.

Salt and Light
1512 W Anthony Dr
Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.


1819 W Philo Rd
Monday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Donations can be dropped off 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at both locations, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays in Urbana.

Top photo from ReStore Facebook page

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