ST PAUL, Minnesota — The pandemic has inspired a lot of people to declutter their homes.
"People have been sitting around in their stuff for two years and they're clearing it out," said Jennifer Victor-Larsen of St. Paul.
But Victor-Larsen knows how hard it can be to find the best places for those donations. It inspired her nearly a decade ago to start her own organization.
"My family had a number of our loved ones pass away and we ended up with a lot of stuff," Victor-Larsen recalled. "It was really hard to find homes for everything. We had a place in our heart for that stuff and we didn't want to just chuck it."
After about 20 years in the corporate world, Victor-Larsen created "Donate Good Stuff" in 2014.
The nonprofit connects people with the best homes for their donations.
Organizations can list items they need, like a gift registry for donations.
When someone has items they want to get rid of, they can search on Donate Good Stuff's website using their zip code to find nonprofits near them or they can search by category/item.
"In my conversations with nonprofits, I think every single one has brought up the fact that they get stuff that they don't need. They don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. They know that it's coming from a good place and it's also a burden," Victor-Larsen said. "So understanding exactly what they need is super important and that's one thing Donate Good Stuff is great at."
For example, the Autism Society of Minnesota could use fidgets and small toys to help children and young people at camp with soothing actions and necessary sensory input.
MN Pocket Pet Rescue is a local nonprofit that rescues small animals.
They need donations not everyone might realize, like fleece for bedding.
"We also use a lot of zip ties and duct tape which sounds crazy but it's actually to help us build cages," said Elizabeth Schwandt with MN Pocket Pet Rescue.
The nonprofit has used Donate Good Stuff to list items they need.
"More than anything, it really connected us to the community. Gotten the word out that we exist," Schwandt said.
Donate Good Stuff is used by organizations nationwide and Victor-Larsen is hopeful they can expand even more in the next year.
"It makes a huge impact to both the community and the environment," she said.
Donate Good Stuff is free to use and free for organizations to register on. You can learn more, here.
Victor-Larsen recommends people always take a second look at their donations before giving them away. Make sure they are in good condition of if they are not, that organizations have stated they will accept those items.
To help you remember about your donations, put it on your calendar and keep them by your door.
Donate Good Stuff is a virtual organization that is in need of volunteers. You can also check them out at the Donate Good Stuff Eco Fair 5K on August 13.
Know a local business we should feature for our Behind the Business segment? Email Heidi Wigdahl at firstname.lastname@example.org.