Where to Donate Items in Des Moines


WHERE TO DONATE DES MOINESWhether once a month or once a year, if you like(or need) to organize and purge, you may be looking for a place to donate your items in Des Moines. There are many smaller organizations and stores to consider, especially when you have specialty items like women’s work clothes. 

Before you drop your items, check this list for donating dos and do nots:

  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.

Places to Donate Items in Des Moines

Animal Lifeline of Iowa – Thrift Shop

4521 SE 14th St., Des Moines

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.

Central Iowa Shelter & Services

1420 Mulberry St., Des Moines

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.

Clothing Closet

77 NE Carefree Lane, Waukee

Clothings 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. 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.

DAV Thrift Store

2627 E University Ave, Des Moines

Proceeds from the sales of donations go to Disabled American Veterans Chapters 20 and 53 to assist veterans in the Des Moines area and to support the programs of the Disabled American Veterans throughout the State of Iowa. Support local veterans and get great deals on everything from furniture and clothes to electronics and home goods.

Dress for Success

6000 Grand Ave, Des Moines

Dress for Success promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and 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.

Ellipsis Iowa

918 SE 11th St, Des Moines

Ellipsis 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 Ellipsis 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. 

EveryStep Giving Tree

3330 100th St., Urbandale

EveryStep Giving Tree thrift store helps carry out the EveryStep non-profit mission by directing all proceeds from thrift store sales toward programs and services that benefit EveryStep’s patients, clients, and their families. EveryStep Giving Tree gladly accepts donations of clothing, accessories, furniture, home decor, bedding, household items, and more. All donations and store sales support EveryStep’s programs, including hospice care, grief support, and services for children and families. EveryStep Giving Tree is operated by a small group of staff and a strong corps of dedicated volunteers. 

The FreeStore

1020 24th St., West Des Moines

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, and crockpots.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

4033 NW Urbandale Dr, Urbandale, and 2200 E Euclid, Des Moines

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, oftentimes ReStore will accept other related items.

Hope Ministries ENCORE Thrift Store

4640 Merle Hay Road in Urbandale and 500 E Army Post Road in Des Moines

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 store. They also accept vehicles and offer pick-up services at [email protected].

Many Hands Thrift Store

2900 SE Grimes Blvd, Grimes, 8801 University Ave in Clive, and, 4353 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines

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.

Ruth Harbor Ministries

534 42nd St, Des Moines, IA

Ruth Harbor Ministries provides Christ-centered homes, programs, and comprehensive services resulting in positive life changes 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 

406 SW School St, Ankeny

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.

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

Let us know if we missed any places to donate in Des Moines!

Previous articleWhere to Go Sledding in Des Moines Area
Next articleWhat This Season of Motherhood Is Teaching Me
Kara Knaack
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

  2. DO NOT toss items that have holes or are worn, OR broken electronics like TVs or cell phones. Goodwill can safely recycle those. Tossing them adds to our waste problem and continues to hurt our environment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here