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Moving out? Cleaning your office? Here's how to give your unwanted stuff a second life at Pitt

Volunteers fold items from bins of clothes

It’s spring, which means spring cleaning. Across campus, you'll find many opportunities to help you give your things a second life or to properly recycle items, promoting a culture of reuse and diverting items from landfills.

On- and off-campus students who are moving out this weekend are encouraged to donate unwanted household and school supplies to Pitt’s sustainability initiative Clutter for a Cause — and then in May, Pitt employees can take part in Clean & Swap. 

Clutter for a Cause

From 2018 to 2022, Clutter for a Cause has collected more than 22 tons of materials, with more than 10 tons donated last spring.

Volunteers ensure all items are clean and in working order before being donated to local charity organizations or stored for resale at the University of Thriftsburgh's Reuse Rummage Sale in August. Students can volunteer with Clutter for a Cause by signing up through the Office of Pitt Serves. Volunteers will answer questions and sort and move donations and items. The Student Office of Sustainability will send volunteers assigned locations and additional information.

Clutter for a Cause has been keeping items out of landfills since it started in 2013 and is organized by the Student Office of Sustainability, Pitt EcoReps, Pitt Surplus, Pitt Pantry and the Pitt Police. 

What can I donate?

The following items are accepted and must be clean and dry:

  • Textiles such as clothing, accessories, shoes, towels, duvet covers, blankets, curtains and bedding
  • Kitchen items, including clean and dry mini-fridges, microwaves, rice cookers, Keurig or coffee pots and small kitchenware items, such as plates, cups and other utensils
  • Non-perishable food and hygiene items. These include canned goods, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. These items should not be opened or expired.
  • Books and textbooks
  • Dorm essentials, like mirrors, lamps, and organization tools, including dry-erase boards, plastic bins, clothing organizers and laundry baskets
  • Electronics, including TVs, computers, computer monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, cables, phones and cameras. All personal data must be removed from these devices before donation.

Foam mattress toppers, mattresses, upholstered furniture, futons, couches and rugs are not accepted.

When and where can I make a donation?

On-campus donations will be accepted any time at unstaffed locations in residence halls.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, donations will be accepted at:

  • Schenley Quad (between Amos Hall and McCormick Hall)
  • Litchfield Towers Lobby (across from Panther Central)
  • Sutherland Hall parking lot (next to the rear entrance to Sutherland Hall)

Clean & Swap

During the third annual Clean and Swap on May 17-18, Pitt employees can donate unused items and shop from other departments’ supplies. In addition to office supplies, electronics, furniture and kitchenette items, medical and laboratory supplies will also be accepted.

In 2022, Clean & Swap helped divert over 3,155 pounds of unwanted office and medical supplies from landfills — up from just over 700 pounds during the inaugural event in 2020.

For a full list of accepted items and registration, visit the Pitt Sustainability website.


— Donovan Harrell, photography by Aimee Obidzinski