Spring training and spring break offer a much-needed economic boost for our region as visitors stay, eat, shop and play in Southwest Florida.

Although not quite as glamorous, spring cleaning also is beneficial to our community.

When you clean, refresh and update your home, how do you dispose of surplus items? Yard sales aren’t as popular or profitable as they once were, so oftentimes, people just set those items by the curb on trash day.

Not everything we no longer want is worthless, though. Our tastes, decorating styles or needs simply may have changed. In fact, many household items placed on the curb have a strong resale value… if given the chance.

Across Southwest Florida, nonprofit organizations will gladly accept donations and resell those items in their resale stores or thrift shops. This revenue helps support programs and services that are vital to our community, like education, youth, housing, hunger, employment and social services.

Spring cleaning quests are focused on getting rid of stuff, but throwing items with a resale value to the curb is equivalent to sending cash into the incinerator. Local nonprofits rely on your donations to make ends meet. Throwing out an end table or lamp, for instance, might free up some space in your living room or garage, but donating that end table or lamp is like giving $20 or $25 to the nonprofit of your choice.

Southwest Florida’s resale stores offer a treasure trove of goods and bargain hunters know which stores have the best merchandise. Not all locations accept the same types of donations, though, so it’s important to call ahead or look online for donation guidelines.

Guadalupe Resale Shop, for example, accepts donations of quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies’ and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. In 2021, the Resale Shop’s greatest needs are donations of like-new living room, dining room, bedroom and patio furniture, as well as home décor and brand-name clothing. These types of items sell quickly and command higher sales prices that enhance transformational, life-changing education programs for more than 1,400 students in Immokalee. Guadalupe Center generates nearly 9% of its annual operating budget through Guadalupe Resale Shop.

The concept of spring cleaning dates back to the days when fireplaces heated our homes during the winter. Once March and April rolled around, it was time to clean the soot and dirt that had accumulated. We no longer need to worry about that issue, especially not in Florida, but spring cleaning is still an annual ritual for many. According to data from the American Cleaning Institute, more than three-fourths of households engage in spring cleaning each year.

For any retail store, there is a delicate balance between inventory and sales. During the summer, many resale stores in Collier and Lee counties sell more items than they receive in donations. March, April and May are critical periods to build inventory that will carry stores through June, July, August and September.

In Southwest Florida, thousands of retirees and couples are preparing to head north for the summer. It’s the perfect time to clean, and the perfect time to make a donation to a charitable cause.

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop