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Moving out? Here’s a guide on throwing away or donating your items

July 18, 2019 Category: FeaturedMediumPurpose


Updated to add an explanation of "compactable furniture;" to add an additional photo; and to correct the information about Philadelphia Furniture Bank recipients. 07/19/19 at 1:52 p.m.
College students and renters should plan ahead when moving out and disposing of their trash, says Keisha McCarty-Skelton, the Streets Department communications director.

16th & Berks. (Photo by Zari Tarazona)

“Advance planning allows for proper disposal and set out of items that can be placed out over time for weekly pickup,” McCarty-Skelton said. “This prevents having to set out all items at one time during the week and helps eliminate litter conditions that impact residents and the neighborhood.”

Piles of trash and furniture often take over sidewalks during moving season in Philadelphia, especially around college campuses and rental properties. Other people dump their trash or mattresses in abandoned lots, which is risky since the city recently increased criminal charges and surveillance of illegal dumping.

So, if you want to move out with a clear conscience, here are some tips for how and where to throw away or donate your items.

The city’s trash collection and more

The Streets Department has a few guidelines for curbside trash collection.

  • Items should be put into garbage containers or trash bags, not cardboard boxes. There’s a 40-pound limit for each container or bag, too.
  • Apartment buildings with two to six units have a weekly limit of 12 bags or six containers. A single-family household can have up to eight bags or four containers.
  • Cover any mattresses and box springs with disposal bags.
  • Compactable furniture — like a sofa is allowed — up to two items a week. According to McCarty-Skelton this means, “compactable furniture can be easily folded up or broken in pieces. Furniture with a great deal of metal can sometimes damage trucks as the machinery tries to crush it. Sofas with limited to no metal should be set out for pick up. Again, the metal can sometimes cause damage.”

And please, please put your trash on the actual curb for collection instead of in a pile next to your steps.

From our Partners

Here’s a list of items the city doesn’t collect, which includes televisions, computers and bulk items like large appliances. Those items (and curbside collection items, up to 12 bags) can be dropped off at the Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers for free Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you don’t want to deal with the city’s trash collection or convenience centers, you can also just hire a trash removal company.

Places to donate to in the city

Not all your stuff needs to end up in the trash.

Consider donating your gently-used items or furniture. 1n 2016, then-contributor Hannah Litvin offered some advice when trying to donate to homeless shelters or supportive housing organizations — call ahead.

Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles

The nonprofit furniture store lists their donation process online. All profits from the store go toward the African People’s Education and Defense Fund.

Pathways to Housing PA’s Philadelphia Furniture Bank

The organization, which places people experiencing chronic homelessness into permanent supportive housing, accepts donations in good condition. The Philadelphia Furniture Bank Furniture Bank furnishes the homes of 40+ member agencies in Philadelphia: people exiting homelessness, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, veterans, youth exiting foster care, and more. More than 900 homes were furnished from its supply last year alone. Call or email the organization about your donation.

Philly AIDS Thrift

The thrift store near South Street accepts donations from Wednesday to Saturday, hours vary. Here is a list of items not accepted.


Accepted donations include clothing, furniture, books and more. Goodwill doesn’t accept items like large appliances, mattresses or air conditioners. Here is a list of Goodwill donation sites in Philadelphia.

The Salvation Army

Donations can be dropped off in-store or picked up for free. Find a drop-off location or schedule a pickup here. Tax-deductible amounts of regular donations like large appliances, matresses and more are listed online.

HOME Spun Resale Boutique

Project HOME’s resale boutique sells “gently-used, high-quality designer men’s and women’s apparel” for people coming out of chronic homelessness with employment or job training opportunities. Call the boutique about donations.

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