Half the battle of spring cleaning is getting rid of stuff before you clean. Make things green and easy by having local charities pick up your castoffs. Most of them pick up curbside so you don't even need to be home.
Call or go to the website to sign up and answer questions about acceptable items. Most will not take building materials, computers, mattresses, large appliances, console TV sets or office furniture. Some charities such as Arc, Disabled American Veterans and the Epilepsy Foundation will send an e-mail or a postcard notifying you when they're going to be in the neighborhood. Charities usually want a larger number of items if they're being asked to make a special trip. Don't make charities your guilt-free trash service. Organizations such as Goodwill Minnesota spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on trash removal. Don't give them stained clothing, broken ceramics or sparking small appliances. If a tax receipt is not dropped off, call the charity to have one mailed to you.
American Cancer Society (651-255-8716 or www.gooddonor.org): The Good Donor site is a partnership with other charities including Arc, Epilepsy Foundation, Lupus Foundation, Courage Center and Vietnam Veterans. Items for the Cancer Society can be left in a garage or as close to the front door as possible. Donations can also be dropped off at 6731 Boone Av. N., Brooklyn Park.
Arc Hennepin-Carver (612-866-8820 or www.bluetrucks.org and click on "Request a pickup online"): Arc picks up in most of the metro area. Clothing and household goods are preferred.
Bibles for Missions thrift center (763-522-1786): Drivers will remove items from inside the house if the donor is present. Pickups occur within one week of request. Mattresses in good condition are accepted.
Bridging (952-888-1105): Furniture, mattresses and household goods only. The pickup is fee $75 if items are in the garage or on the driveway.
Disabled American Veterans (651-487-2002, www.davmn.org): No upholstered furniture or appliances. To sign up on its website, click on "thrift pickup service."
Epilepsy Foundation (651-287-2300 or 1-800-779-0777 or www.efmn.org): The foundation picks up donations up to 75 miles out of the Twin Cities area. To schedule a pickup online, go to the website and click on "donate clothing" (but it will accept small household items) and then "schedule a pickup."
ReUse Center (612-281-9844): ReUse takes reusable building materials only. Generally, items must be in the garage or by the front door. The pickup fee is $50.
Salvation Army (612-332-5855, 1-800-728-7825): No steel desks or furniture needing repair is accepted. Clothing in any condition is OK.
St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store (651-602-0478): No pianos or large appliances accepted. Drivers can come into the home.
Steeple People (612-871-8305): Drivers will pick up if there are three or more major furniture items. Items can be picked up in the house. Minneapolis only.