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Donate the Easy Way – Rotary of Lynnwood

Donations-MovingForwardIncWhen Moving Forward helps people move, we sometimes need to arrange for a charity donation pickup. Sounds easy. Right?  Well… Define “easy.” In over 13 years of helping people relocate and downsize, my employees and I have had our share of adventures in donating.

Typically our clients have a lot to donate and little time to get the house emptied. My first charity pickup went like this. They promised to come by at 4 pm. At 4:45 pm I called them to see where they were. The dispatcher was just about to leave for the day, but she took long enough to tell me that the truck had broken down and they weren’t coming at all.

“Oh! Can we reschedule? I need to get these things out of here.”

“Yes ma’am. We’ll be in that neighborhood again three weeks from this Thursday. Morning or afternoon?”
“What? Can’t you come any earlier? The house needs to be empty by this Friday.”
“No ma’am. I’m sorry. Three weeks from Thursday is our first available pickup.”

So I call another charity…

“Sure. We can be there tomorrow. “

“Just put everything outside the front door and put a sign with our name on it.”
“Outside the front door? But there’s heavy furniture and books. And things that shouldn’t get wet. “

“We can’t go inside the house, because of liability. We need everything outside.”
“But how am I going get all that furniture moved down the stairs?”
“I don’t know. We can’t go inside the house.”

So I call another charity…

“I think we can squeeze you in on Friday.”
Friday is cutting it close, but I’m running out of choices. “Okay.”

On Friday the driver looks at all the things stacked and says, “We don’t have much room left. I can take that pile of boxes over there. “
“But I need to get it all out of here today.

“Maybe you do, but I only have room for the boxes and maybe a bag or two.”
“I’m sorry, ma-am. There really isn’t any room. Do you want me to take what I can or not?”

Next time I try a another charity.

“Dedicated truck? You’ve got it. This Wednesday? No problem. Furniture inside the house? We’re on it.”

They arrive.  Then the driver says, “That’s a sofa bed. You didn’t say you had a sofa bed.”
“No.  No one asked me if there was sofa bed. Am I supposed to tell you everything that I have to donate?”
“Yeah. If there’s a sofa bed.”
“What’s the problem with a sofa bed.”
“They’re heavy. We can’t put our employees at risk. We don’t accept sofa beds.”

The next time I try another charity…

DonationHeadaches-MovingForwardIncThey schedule and tell us to call the morning of the pickup to learn the time that the driver will arrive. On the morning I call. And call. No one picks up. When I finally I get through, I learn the truck will be there between 9 am and noon. “What? 9:00 am?!  It’s already 9:00 am and I have to drive across town to get there!”

By 9:30, I’m in position. At 12:30 I call to check in. I navigate the phone tree, hang on through holds and transfers until I finally reach the dispatcher. “They’re running late.” At 1:30, “They’ll be there within the hour.” At 2:00 “They’ll be there soon.” At 2:37 pm the truck rumbles into the driveway.

Time. It’s all so very relative.

The helper starts loading. The driver comes in and says, “That box spring has a stain on it.”
“It’s not really a stain, more of a smudge really. Like it got a little dust on it. That’s all. Besides that area of the box springs is completely covered by the mattress.”

“Doesn’t matter. I can’t take it.”
“But why not? Someone could use that.”
“Nope. Those are the rules. No stains. No tears. “
“There aren’t any tears, and that’s not even stain.”
“Nope. Can’t take it. Those are the rules.”
“Can you just take the mattress at least?”
“Nope. We can’t take a mattress without a box springs and frame.”

The Rotary of Lynnwood conducts a very popular annual rummage sale to raise money for 20 local charities, including the Lynnwood Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. They fund scholarships for Edmonds School District and Edmonds Community College Foundation.

As a donation pickup service they have been fabulous in the past for our donations, bending over backwards to match their pickup date to our schedule. They have carried things out of the home. They haven’t complained about a tiny flaw or two. They have even made pickups on the weekend.


Donations aren’t easy. Or at least not unless you contact Rotary 0f  Lynnwood.  (call them or check this link every year to see when the next Annual Rummage Sale is being held.)  Policies change over time, so give them a call and see if they can help you donate your gently used, good condition stuff.

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