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How to donate clothes, toys and other household items in France

As the Christmas holiday season approaches, you might be looking for ways to give back to the community by donating clothes, toys, or food. Here are some ways you can do it in France.

How to donate clothes, toys and other household items in France
A Croix Rouge volunteer centre in Ajaccio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica in 2022 (Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

Whether you are cleaning out your closet and looking to pare down on items you do not use anymore, or you are seeking a way to support members in your community in need, there are several ways to donate items in France. 

For clothes

The first and easiest option for giving away clothes would be via your apartment building or neighbourhood. Once every few months, you might notice a flier announcing a ‘don de vêtements‘ (clothing giveaway).  

However, if you are looking to give your clothes to a charity, there are several that accept clothing donations in France. The main ones are Emmaüs, La Croix-Rouge, Le Secours Catholique, Secours Populaire and Apf France Handicap.

Most of these NGOs have collection points set up across the country. For example, for Secours Populaire, you can go to this LINK to find the nearest one near you. 

There are also donation bins across most large cities. For this, you might consider the service Le Relais. You can see a map of where their bins are located HERE.

If you want to ensure that the clothing drive is environmentally conscious, you could consider an organisation like Refashion that is committed to decreasing textile waste and encouraging sustainable recycling. You can find their clothing drop-off locations HERE.

Finally, if you are looking to sell your used clothes, websites like Vinted and LeBonCoin are a good place to start.

For glasses

If you are looking to buy a new pair of glasses and are thinking about getting rid of your old ones, then you might consider donating them to “Lunettes sans frontieres.”

After treatment and repackaging, the NGO partners with other organisations to send approximately 80,000 pairs of glasses each year to over a hundred countries, mainly located in Central Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and within France itself. Once the glasses arrive on the ground, Lunettes sans frontieres works with local NGOs, under the supervision of on-site doctors.

For furniture

If you are looking to donate furniture, the same NGOs – Emmaüs, La Croix-Rouge and others offer services to ensure that old wardrobes, tables, chairs, and couches can be given to those in need. 

Keep in mind that furniture and large objects (objets encombrants) should not go in regular waste bins, and fly-tipping (or simply putting large items out on the street) is illegal in France and violators can be punished with fines.

Most large cities in France have services through the Town Hall (mairie) to make an appointment to have these items collected by waste management services. If individual collection services are not available, there will likely be a dedicated location to bring items to, or a predetermined date and time when neighbourhood collections are picked up.

For the city of Paris, you can make an appointment to have the item picked up on this website. If you have any doubts, you might want to contact your local Town Hall to see which objects will be accepted, as electronic items such as washing machines and refrigerators may have different procedures. 

If you live in the Paris region and you want to ensure that your furniture is given away, rather than simply disposed of, you might consider the organisation La Ressourcerie Créative. You can make an appointment with them, and they will come to pick up your used furniture, dishes, household appliances, and more.

READ MORE: New French website helps households recycle unwanted items

The French government is also seeking to encourage households to consider repairing – rather than getting rid of – old, broken electronic items. A new discount has been put in place for households to benefit from more affordable repairs, and you can learn more HERE.

For food 

Food drives are also often organised by local Town Halls, but if you want to donate food items on your own schedule, you can do so by searching for a “Banque Alimentaire” or “Panier Solidaire” near you. 

The Red Cross (Croix Rouge) often runs food banks as well.

Another option for those looking to fight hunger in France is the organisation “Les Restos du Coeur” – an NGO that distributes free meals to those in poverty. You can give a monetary donation, or sign up to volunteer, on their website.

For gifts and toys

During the Christmas season, donating toys and gifts is a great way to ensure that every child across France is able to have a joyful holiday.

Pères Noël verts du Secours populaire” is one way to do so. They bring toys, books, and all manner of gifts to children across France. You can find more information HERE

For general or miscellaneous donations

For all other items, you can look into donating on the website “Geev” – where you can post and advertise any used item for free and in any part of the country.

Another option would be the National Resource for Recycling (Réseau National des Ressourceries et Recycleries). On this website, you can find miscellaneous collection points across the country for all manner of items.

Member comments

  1. Hello, I didn’t take this up the first time I saw it but it’s twice now I’ve read this mistake so please note, it’s “pare down”, not “pair”. Thanks.

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French MPs back €230m aid for households that use wood-burners for heating

Householders in France who heat their homes with wood-burners will soon be in line for financial help with the cost of keeping warm this winter.

French MPs back €230m aid for households that use wood-burners for heating

During a reading of the draft budget, the National Assembly adopted a €230 million aid package for households that use logs or wood pellets for heating.

The aid package – which had support across the Assembly, and the backing of the government – is modelled on an already existing policy to help the owners of properties that use oil-fired heating systems.

From December 22nd, households heating with wood will be able to apply for a “wood energy voucher” on the cheque energie website. Aid is means-tested, but those eligible will be able to claim between €50 to €200 to help with the cost of heating their homes.

The amendment was passed with 218 votes in favour and just one against.

According to the Agence de la transition écologique (Ademe), wood is the main source of heating for more than three million people in France. 

The price of wood-pellets used in household burners has doubled since the beginning of 2021, leaving many households struggling with the cost of fuel. 

Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal also told MPs that the government was working on ways to reduce ‘profiteering’ from the rising cost of firewood, and said that officials would “not hesitate to crack down” on any cases of fraud.

READ ALSO What are the rules on fires and log-burners in France?