Originally published on San Francisco online (http://www.sanfranmag.com) “The Ultimate
Spring Cleanup Guide” remains a premium source for Bay Area donations. *I’ve updated the
list to include additional nonprofit agencies as well as other sources who will gladly accept your
*List is current as of January 2011
BAY AREA WIDE
Computer Recycling Center/Computers & Education fixes computer equipment and donates it to
public schools and nonprofits; for printers, scanners, and fax machines more than five years old,
there's a recycling charge. See www.crc.org for locations.
Sims Metal will recycle your CPU and will even pay you two to three cents per pound. There's a
small charge for keyboards and printers. 30104 Industrial Pkwy. SW, Hayward, (510) 471-6600;
600 S. Fourth St., Richmond, (510) 412-5300; 1800 Monterey Rd., San Jose, (408) 494-4200.
Goodwill Industries accepts all computers and electronics, working or not, at its Flagship San
Francisco store located at 1580 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103 (415)575-2240.
To make donating even easier, Goodwill Industries now offers online forms you can complete
prior to donating your goods. Go to https://sfgoodwill.org/MaterialDonationsForm.aspx?ssl=
Oakland Technology Exchange West collects complete computers and distributes them to
classrooms and individual students. Donations are accepted Tuesday afternoons or by
appointment. 1680 14th St., Oakland, (510) 893-4822.
C.U.R.A. serves as a job-training site for substance abusers in residential treatment programs; it
resells or recycles donated computers. 37437 Glenmoor Dr., Fremont, (510) 713-3200.
Renew Computers fixes and resells recent-vintage computers, with the proceeds benefiting
various local charities; for anything older than a Mac G3 or a Windows 98 PC, though, a
recycling fee is charged. 1241 Andersen Dr., San Rafael, (415) 457-8801.
Bay Surplus will recycle your computer for free—and will even send a truck for big donations.
7275 Monterey Rd., San Jose, (408) 298-9909.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Bay Area Computerman, a used-computer store, accepts some PCs and Macs for credit. 3680
Stevens Creek Blvd., Ste. F, San Jose, (408) 249-4821.
WeirdStuff Warehouse just might shell out for your old computer; it sells used and refurbished
computer equipment. 384 W. Caribbean Dr., Sunnyvale, (408) 743-5650.
The Happy Mac will give you cash or store credit for used Macs (nothing older than a G3,
please). 1830 San Jose Ave., S.F., (415) 337-4090.
Check with your local bulky waste program to see if it accepts computer parts. San Francisco
residents can call Sunset Scavenger (415/330-1300) and Golden Gate Disposal (415/626-4000).
Both offer twice-a-year pickup of up to five bulky items per visit; call to arrange a date. If your
program won't take your computer equipment, most recycling and transfer stations will take it off
your hands—for a fee.
The glass in television and monitor cathode-ray tubes contains enough lead to qualify as a
hazardous material. Recycling TVs and monitors is so expensive—they must be disassembled
and the tubes removed—that most secondhand stores won't accept nonworking ones at all. So
small-fee drop-offs are your answer.
San Francisco Computer Recycling Center charges $13 per monitor donation; those that can't be
repaired and reused are recycled. 547 Taraval St., (415) 285-3549.
Alameda County Computer Resource Center accepts monitors and TVs for refurbishment or
recycling on Fridays free of charge; other days, monitors are $10, TVs are $15. 1501 Eastshore
Hwy. (off Gilman St.), Berkeley, (510) 528-4052.
If bulky waste won't accept your monitor or TV, take it to your local hazardous waste facility,
which probably will accept it—but you'll have to pay.
LUMBER, TILES, TOOLS, AND OTHER REMODELING STUFF
The ReUse People's crews, besides accepting donations, actually demolish ("deconstruct")
buildings using methods that allow more materials to be salvaged and resold. All donations are
tax-deductible. 2100 Ferry Point #150, Alameda, (888) 588-9490, www.thereusepeople.org.
East Bay Habitat for Humanity uses donated materials to construct homes for the needy; what it
can't use, it sells at its Oakland store. 9235 San Leandro St., Oakland, (510) 777-1447.
Whole House Building Supply & Salvage sells donated cabinets, lumber, windows, flooring,
nails, and tools. 1955 Pulgas Ave., E. Palo Alto, (650) 856-0634.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Caldwell Building Salvage Resource Center in San Francisco buys used solid wood doors and
lumber. 195 Bayshore Blvd., S.F., (415) 550-6777.
Berkeley's Ohmega Salvage has been buying and selling "usual and unusual" pre-1940s building
materials—glass, tiles, lighting and plumbing fixtures, mirrors, and high-quality windows and
doors—since 1974. 2400 and 2407 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 204-0767.
Good mattresses are so expensive, you'd think Goodwill would eagerly take yours. But because
of strict sanitation and waste management laws, mattresses are one of the few things most big
charities won't accept.
Walden House is a drug and alcohol treatment center that distributes donated beds to the needy.
Free pickup in San Francisco. 520 Townsend St., (415) 554-1100.
Ecumenical Hunger Program runs a warehouse that gives furnishings—including mattresses—to
low-income families at no cost. 2411 Pulgas Ave., E. Palo Alto, (650) 323-7781.
New Hope Thrift Store gives items to individuals at its women's and homeless shelters;
everything its clients don't need is sold at the store to raise money for its nonprofit programs.
Free mattress pickup for San Jose donors. 1881 W. San Carlos St., San Jose, (408) 292-4818.
If it's beyond hope of being picked off a Craigslist "free" posting, haul it to a transfer station
(Contra Costa, Berkeley, and Marin all have them) and pay a fee; it will end up in a landfill,
but—oh well. You can also try your local bulky waste pickup program. In San Francisco, there's
the free Gigantic 3 program, which sets up large debris boxes in different neighborhoods one
Saturday morning a month. For details call (415) 552-920 or www.sfcleancity.com/gigantic3
Honestly, when was the last time you used that French manicure kit? Don't throw it out: nail
polish, makeup, and hair dye are all too hazardous to toss in the trash or flush down the toilet.
Instead, take them (opened or unopened) to one of the organizations helping people put their best
Working Essentials, a San Francisco nonprofit that supplies personal care items to 17 homeless
agencies, needs everything from cosmetics to toothpaste and deodorant. There are 18 drop-off
locations; for the one nearest you, check www.toolworks.org
Compass Community Services serves more than 3,000 homeless and low-income parents and
children each year and collects shampoo, moisturizer, and Vaseline. 995 Market St., Fifth Floor,
In the Mission, take your extras to La Casa de las Madres, which runs a shelter for battered
women and their kids (feminine hygiene products and diapers are always in demand). 1850
Mission St., Ste. B, (415) 503-0500.
Building Futures with Women & Children provides homeless and battered women and children
with services and shelter. Its wish list includes deodorant, soap, and baby wipes. 1395 Bancroft
Ave., San Leandro, (510) 357-0205, ext 107.
Shelter Network, which helps homeless families find housing, accepts all cosmetics and personal
care items (except for hotel samples) and has drop-off centers in several cities. (650) 685-5880,
ext. 15, www.shelternetwork.org.
Nearly everyone has a pair of crutches or a neck brace in the closet they wouldn't mind getting
rid of so read below to find out the organization who will gladly make good use of your supplies.
Home Cares Equipment Recyclers has regular drop-offs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
at First Covenant Church, 65 Dorland St., S.F., (415) 487-5405. Also on Thursdays, it accepts
drop-offs from 1 to 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 251-
2273, as well as in Fremont (510/574-2041) and Marin (415/388-8198).
Child Family Health International, a nonprofit that sends medical students to South Africa, India,
Bolivia, and other countries, accepts small, easily carried supplies such as gauze, gloves, sutures,
bandages, and glucose monitors. 995 Market St., Ste. 1104, (415) 957-9000.
VIDA (Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance) is always looking for surgical
equipment and more to assist medical institutions and development projects in Latin America.
6251 Hollis St., Emeryville, (510) 655-8281.
CALL Primrose Center (for Christian Action Life Line) in Burlingame is looking for
wheelchairs, canes, portable toilets, and shower chairs. 139 Primrose Rd., Burlingame, (650)
At Samaritan House, in San Mateo and Redwood City, the wish list includes one-touch
glucometers and wrist and heel supports. 19 W. 39th Ave., San Mateo, (650) 578-0400; 114 Fifth
Ave., Redwood City, (650) 839-1447, www.samaritanhouse.com
If you spend more time watching sports than playing them these days, time to clean out your
closet and spread the fun around.
Sports4Kids Swap Shop resells donated gear, using the proceeds to benefit elementary and
middle school sports programs around the Bay. The wish list includes kids' cleats and skates, but
the shop accepts balls of all types and newer ski and snowboard equipment. Call to check about
large items like that dusty ping-pong table. 2095 Rose St., Berkeley, (510) 868-1591.
West Marin Community Thrift Shop uses proceeds from the sale of donated sports gear to
support emergency services for low-income residents. 11431 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes Station, (415)
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula accepts gently used baseball, tennis, football, and
soccer equipment. 401 Pierce Rd., Menlo Park, (650) 322-8065.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Wilderness Exchange will buy your used camping equipment for cash or give you store credit.
1407 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (888) 326-7021.
At Play It Again Sports, you have three options: sell your sports gear outright, trade it in for
something better, or consign it for the store to sell. It has locations in San Rafael, Fremont,
Mountain View, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, and Santa Rosa; for the one nearest you ,visit
Out of the Closet, a thrift store that benefits the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, will pick up large
appliances if you live in the city. Call (800) 558-8220 to arrange a time.
ReStore, an Oakland thrift shop that benefits East Bay Habitat for Humanity, accepts donations
of working appliances less than five years old. 9235 San Leandro St., Oakland, (510) 777-1447.
Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit that provides free repairs to needy home owners, accepts
energy-efficient appliances less than three years old; call to arrange a pickup. (650) 366-6597.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Caseber Washers & Dryers can pick up in Berkeley, and it pays for washers and dryers. 1908
Tenth St., Berkeley, (510) 548-4419.
Reliance Antiques might be interested in buying your vintage O'Keefe & Merritt or Wedgewood
stove, especially if it has special features like six burners or a double oven. 830 Gilman St.,
Berkeley, (510) 525-5921.
Customers of Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Disposal in San Francisco can schedule a
pickup of large appliances along with other bulky waste twice a year. They will remove harmful
chemicals and metals, rendering the stuff safe for landfills. (415) 330-1300. Outside the city,
check with your garbage company to see what its bulky waste program covers. If yours won't
accept appliances, you could always schlep to the Berkeley Transfer Station; there's a $33 charge
to drop off refrigerators, but you can leave other big items in a Dumpster at the adjacent
recycling center, and unlike in other cities, no one checks to see whether you're a resident. 1201
Second St., Berkeley, (510) 981-7270. If you don't mind hauling your ancient stove to the South
Bay, American Metals & Iron will gladly accept it for scrap. 11665 Berryessa Rd., San Jose,
Are you ready to tackle that mountain of clothes and toys? Plenty of Bay Area families would
love to put your hand-me-downs to good use rather than buy new strollers, cribs, clothes, and
The Clothing and Furniture Program at St. Anthony's accepts donations of children's clothing,
shoes, strollers, and high chairs. There's free pickup if you live in San Francisco. 101 Eighth St.,
At child care referral and support center Bananas, your clothing and equipment donations are put
in bins for low-income moms and kids to sort through and take what they need. 5232 Claremont
Ave., Oakland, (510) 658-7353.
Birthright International, a nonprofit crisis pregnancy center, needs clean, not-too-worn maternity
and baby clothes and diapers. 2924 Clayton Rd., Ste. C, Concord, (925) 798-7227.
Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County operates several shelters for women and
children and is always in need of clothing and shoes. Call (707) 544-6911 for locations.
The Elsa Segovia Center accepts children's clothes, strollers, cribs, and shoes. If these items can't
be used at its homeless shelter, the Center offers them to the community for free. Drop donations
off at the shelter between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 795 Willow Rd., Bldg. 323-
E, Menlo Park, (650) 326-9898.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Chloe's Closet in Bernal Heights is unique in three ways: it doesn't buy seasonally, so you can
bring in summer stuff anytime; it accepts consignment drop-offs whenever it's open; and it takes
anything in good condition—including clothes from Wal-Mart and Target. 451A Cortland Ave.,
S.F., (415) 642-3300, www.chloescloset.com.
Hannah's in Berkeley also buys year-round. It's especially interested in European and boutique
labels but reluctant to take clothing from lower-end department stores and chains. 1871 Solano
Ave., Berkeley, (510) 525-3488.
Albany's Toy Go Round has been promoting the idea of reuse for nearly 30 years. Its motto is
"out of the waste stream, into the play stream." Bring in consignment items from 10 a.m. to noon
Monday through Saturday—if your toys and games sell, you get 50 percent of the cash. 1361
Solano Ave., Albany, (510) 527-1363, www.etoygoround.com
Outgrown is a San Rafael children's clothing consignment shop that buys seasonally. It also
consigns cribs, strollers, and high chairs. 1417 Fourth St., San Rafael, (415) 457-2219.
The Kidz Shoppe in San Jose buys and sells used playpens, cribs, bikes, strollers, bassinets,
shoes, and clothing. 14454 Union Ave., San Jose, (408) 879-0989.
Pedal Revolution is a full-service sales and repair shop that teaches at-risk and homeless youth to
refurbish bikes—and to hold steady jobs. 3085 21st St., (415) 641-1264.
Cycles of Change is a nonprofit community bike shop founded in 2006. It provides bicycle
education programs to low income youth throughout the East Bay. Donate a bike and support
their program while diverting 30,000 pounds of bicycles and parts that end up in landfill each
year. Hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m.-
5:00 p.m. www.cyclesofchangeapc.org 650 W. Ranger, Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 898-7830.
Tinker's Workshop uses donated bikes and parts to teach kids repair and maintenance skills; they
earn wheels of their own by enrolling. 1336 Channing Way, Berkeley, (510) 644-2577.
Buenas Vidas Youth Ranch Thrift Store distributes bikes to at-risk boys at the ranch of the same
name and sells whatever they don't need at the store. 116 N. L St., Livermore, (925) 449-7702.
Trips for Kids takes low-income youngsters on mountain-bike treks around the North Bay; the
nonprofit also runs an earn-a-bike program and a thrift shop called Re-cyclery. 610 Fourth St.,
San Rafael, (415) 458-2986.
Mountain View Community Services Agency Bike Exchange hosts a volunteer day on the
second Saturday of every month at which donations of bikes, parts, and helmets—especially for
kids and teens—are gratefully accepted (calling all gearheads: so is help with repairs). 2566
Leghorn St., Mountain View, (650) 390-0667.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
You can trade your bike for store credit at the Missing Link Bicycle Cooperative in Berkeley
(1961 Shattuck Ave., 510/843-4763) or sell it to Bent Spoke (3120 Sacramento St., Berkeley,
510/665-1889) or Gearhead Bicycles (5460 Coast Hwy., Pacifica, 650/359-7185). Attention,
thieves: stores prefer to purchase a used bike only if it's accompanied by the original sales
Do you have musical instruments you’d like to pass along? What better place for your beloved
instrument than in the hands of a child?
Music in Schools Today's Adopt an Instrument Program will make sure that yours goes to the
neediest young players in the San Francisco, Oakland, and East Palo Alto school districts. Drop-
offs weekdays at 582 Market St., Ste. 213, (415) 392-9010; weekends at Lark in the Morning,
2801 Leavenworth St., (415) 922-4277.
Donate violins, flutes, and other band and orchestra mainstays directly to Oakland Unified
School District; contact Phil Ryden first at (510) 879-8116.
UC Berkeley's Young Musicians Project especially needs trombones and saxophones. Ask for
Mark Mueller at (510) 642-2686.
If your kid's first violin is past hope of repair but you can't bear the thought of it rotting in a
landfill, you'll be glad to know that beat-up instruments of all kinds find new life at Willows
Theatre, which uses them as stage props. 1425 Gasoline Alley, Concord, (925) 798-1824.
GOTTA PAY THE RENT
Real Guitars deals only in preowned instruments, which it buys outright or sells on consignment
for a 20 percent commission. 15 Lafayette St., S.F., (415) 552-3310.
Ifshin Violins stocks the full string section but is a pickier buyer than many other music stores.
1633 University Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843-5466.
ARTS & CRAFTS, SCHOOL, AND OFFICE SUPPLIES
Along with all the clay, paint, crayons, pencils, and brushes, you've got beads, buttons, paper,
fabric, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and baby formula cans. Luckily, one person's junk is
another person's art supplies—and the Bay Area is crawling with organizations whose sole
purpose is playing matchmaker between the two.
SCRAP (Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts) sells supplies to the public for peanuts or
donates to teachers, artists, and schools. Because its definition is fabulously broad—basically,
everything except computers, clothing, furniture, and food—the group diverts 150 tons of stuff
from landfills per year. Donations are tax-deductible, and if you give enough (four or more
boxes), SCRAP picks up for free. 801 Toland St. (enter on Newcomb Ave.), (415) 647-1746.
The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse operates a main store brimming with every kind of
paper, card, and container, as well as an annex for building materials and household items. If
your junk won't fit in one car, pickup is free. 6713 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, (510) 547-6470.
Resource Area for Teaching gives teachers materials that help make learning interactive and fun.
Bonus: it also accepts working computer monitors and printers. 1355 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose,
You probably have stacks of issues you've already devoured and clipped taking up space around
the house. Rather than recycling them with the rest of your mixed paper, share them with other
Leave a stack next to the StairMasters the next time you head to the gym, laundry facility or
dentist office. You may also leave some in any hospital waiting room: S.F. General Hospital
(1001 Potrero Ave., S.F., 415/206-8000) and Children's Hospital (747 52nd St., Oakland,
510/428-3471) can never get enough Spanish-language periodicals and teen, child, and general
interest magazines. Or call your local public libraries to see whether they'd like back issues to fill
in gaps in their archives.
It's too easy to accumulate a shelf full of once glorious but now withering orchids. Take them to
OrchidMania in San Francisco, which nurses them back to full health and resells them (Sundays
from noon to 2 p.m.) to benefit AIDS charities. 717 Paris St., S.F., (415) 841-1678.
Your old cell may look like a walkie-talkie compared to your sleek new BlackBerry, but it could
still be used to save a life. The Wireless Foundation's Call to Protect program refurbishes cell
phones for victims of domestic violence. Hand it over at one of 39 Bay Area locations, including
most Body Shops; for locations, check www.wirelessfoundation.org.
Do you have wigs to share? Consider donating them to the Wig Source, part of the John Muir
Medical Center Auxiliary in Walnut Creek, which cleans and restyles realistic-looking (no
rainbow afros, please) wigs for women and children with hair loss from medical treatments. 1656
N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 947-5328.
Here’s a company that accepts your CDs and one that you may ship to for free. Check out
Here's the perfect place to get rid of all those tiny bottles you can't resist but never use: Homeless
Prenatal Program, which gives them to its clients. 995 Market St., Ste. 1010, S.F., (415) 546-
Twenty years after your oldest was named Little League MVP, you've got cartons full of trophies
and it's time to reclaim the den. Take what your grown kids don't claim to the Boys & Girls
Clubs of the Peninsula, which will recycle those silver goblets and statuettes to boost the egos of
at-risk kids in East Palo Alto, and Redwood City. For details call (650) 322-8065, ext. 107, or
Looking for a place for your collection? San Francisco's Center for Sex and Culture is amassing
what it hopes will be the largest "sexological" research library in the country (more than 6,000
books and videos so far). Materials can range from kinda corny to hard-core—but absolutely no
child porn is accepted. 2215-R Market St., Ste. 455, S.F., 94114, (415) 255-1155,
Lions Club International will get your once-hip Lennonesque specs to needy eyes in Mexico,
Peru, and Sri Lanka (3 million last year). Take them—plus hearing aids—to any LensCrafters,
Lion’s Club, Pearle Vision, Target or BJ’s Optical Store for a welcomed donation. You may also
mail them (carefully wrapped, please) to either Lions in Sight Foundation, 1404 Lemon St.,
Vallejo, 94540, or Lion’s Certified Collections Centers, 1734 Divisadero Street, San Francisco,