As the new year begins, you might find yourself looking around your studio or storage space wondering what to do with all the stuff. Samples, prototypes, and stale inventory not only take up physical space, they also occupy mental space that would be better used making new work.

Before you pull out the big black trash bags, consider donating your handmade goods. Even goods you consider “seconds” can be useful to people in need. Consult with your tax advisor to find out what portion of your donation (if any) can be used as a tax deduction and be sure to ask the recipient organization for a receipt for your records.

National Organizations

Our objective is to identify organizations that can use what we already have, not to make new items for donation nor to burden charities with stuff they can’t use. Most national organizations are very specific about the donations they accept. They may have standards for size, materials, washability, or messaging. Be sure to check their websites and only send items that comply with their guidelines.

Knit the Rainbow collects hand knit and crocheted winter garments and distributes them via partner organizations to homeless LGBTQI+ youth in New York City, New Jersey, Chicago and Detroit. Scarves, beanies, gloves, socks, ear warmers, and sweaters/cardigans are all welcome.

Since 1995, Project Linus has been collecting and distributing handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. The organization operates through a network of local chapters, so donations are distributed within the community in which they were given. Quilts, knitted or crochted blankets, and hand-finished fleece blankets are all

For more than 30 years, Warm Up America! has provided knitted and crocheted blankets, hats, gloves, scarves and other accessories for people in need. Only items made with yarn are accepted, and all items must be machine washable. Check their current needs page for up-to-date information on requested donations.

Paper crafters can donate greeting cards to Send A Smile Today. This organization mails monthly greeting cards to cancer patients in the United States to let them know they are not alone. They are happy to accept envelopes without cards, and cards without envelopes.

The Smiles for Children division of Project Smile provides stuffed animals to police and fire departments across the country. These soft toys are given to children in crisis by emergency responders.

Local Charities

If the items you wish to donate don’t match up with the needs of a national organization, many local charities welcome a variety of handmade goods. Here are some to consider:

Domestic Violence Shelters

Those who’ve experienced domestic violence often flee with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Shelters must be prepared to provide everything for parents and children—clothing, toiletries, bedding, toys, and a safe and comforting environment. Find a shelter near you by contacting your local Department of Social Services. Some shelters maintain wish lists through a national registry at

Refugee Resettlement Agencies

The United States continues to welcome refugees from around the world. A network of local refugee resettlement agencies around the country works to with refugees during their first 90 days to assist them in finding housing and employment as well as applying for social benefit programs to move them toward self-sufficiency. Many such agencies accept donations of household goods to furnish the homes of new refugees. Furniture, kitchenware, and household linens are often provided. A search for “Refugee Resettlement Agency near me” should lead you to local organizations that would welcome your donations.

Housing Assistance Agencies

Cities around the country are working to transition unhoused families to stable, affordable housing. While these living units might be supplied with basic furniture, they often lack the things we rely on for color and comfort. Your donation of blankets, cushions, toys, or wall art might be just the thing to turn a room into a home. Your local Department of Social Services should be able to connect you with agencies that can put your donations to good use.

Cultural Organizations

Many artistic and cultural organizations hold silent auctions as part of their fundraising activities. Handmade jewelry, a collection of embroidered table linens, or distinctive wall art would all make good auction items. Keep in mind that the organization’s patrons will be seeing your work as they browse the action listings. Items donated for auction might be last season’s colors but should be first-rate examples of your brand. Contact local museums, orchestras, theater groups, and art centers to find out about donating to a silent auction.

Creative Re-Use Centers

In recognition of the need to reduce waste of all kinds, creative re-use centers have opened around the country. By donating your handmade goods for creative re-use, you’re providing the materials for another artist’s creation. Search for “creative re-use center near me” and check the website of your local center for a list of what they do and do not accept. In addition to finished goods, creative re-use centers often accept donations of your excess or left-over supplies and materials.

Donating your handmade goods is an excellent way to clear the decks for new projects to come. Find an organization that is aligned with your values and in need of what you have. You’ll keep your work out of the trash and provide something useful and beautiful to someone in need.

Sandi Rosner

Sandi Rosner


Sandi Rosner (she/her) learned to knit in the late 1970s from the instructions in the back of a magazine. She now works as a freelance designer, technical editor, writer and teacher. When Sandi isn’t knitting, she usually has her nose in a book. Find more of Sandi’s work at