Interested in getting rid of that dusty bookcase in your garage? Or maybe your workplace has an old copy machine that has been replaced with one that's new-and-improved? There are many outlets in Chicago that are ready to accept donated office furniture. Further, most are willing to provide you or your organization with a charitable contribution form to allow you to count this toward a tax deduction.
Online Donations and Nonprofit Organizations
If you want that quick fix to your furniture burden, a first choice might be to log online and check out a two websites. Craigslist.org allows you to easily create a posting for no cost on what you'd like to donate and place it under the "Free" subsection of the "For Sale" section. People check this regularly, every day, and are often willing to pick up the furniture themselves. Chicagononprofit.org has a section that allows you to post furniture donations as well and it, too, is checked often by nonprofit organizations looking for specific furniture items.
Further, there are many nonprofit organizations in Chicago that are struggling to stay afloat, particularly with the city's current economy, high sales and building taxes. There are a plethora of organizations to choose from. Some suggestions of neighborhoods with nonprofits in high need might be Bronzeville, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, Little Village, Logan Square, Rogers Park and Roscoe Village.
Thrift Stores and Resale Shops
Chicago is known for it's early 19th-century architecture and historic neighborhoods, so it's no surprise that it boasts many thrift stores and resale shops. Most of these shops are eager to accept physical donations, and office furniture is highly valued.
Thrift stores often accept any type of office furniture, such as Salvation Army, the White Elephant and Brown Elephant stores, which can found in a variety of neighborhoods in Chicago. Even better, both of these outlets donate a large number of their proceeds to local Chicago nonprofits and charitable organizations. Many thrift stores only accept donations on certain days, so call and check out their donation policies before dropping something off in front of their door step.
Resale shops, such as local Mom and Pop antique stores are easier to find in any Chicago neighborhood. Two neighborhoods with a high percentage of resale shops are the Wicker Park/Bucktown and Andersonville neighborhoods. However, they might have more limited hours and be slightly more picky on what they choose to accept because many plan their stores around a certain genre or era.
Chicago Public Schools
Many schools within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system are constantly in need of more furniture and donations for their students and teachers. The Partnerships Office at CPS allows outside individuals, vendors or organizations to donate furniture, equipment and money to primary and secondary schools. If there is a particular community or school you feel is at need, you can specify where you would like to see the furniture go. Students and teachers in underserved communities are in particular need of new computers, desks, chairs, copy machines, projectors and bookcases.
Randall Jenson is a documentary filmmaker and ethnographic researcher on marginalized communities in America. He received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and women and gender studies from DePaul University.