TROY, N.Y. (News10)-Many of us are in the midst of spring cleaning, getting rid of items we no longer need. It’s a great feeling to unload unwanted items, but if you are considering donating, area charities are asking that you think before you do.

Organizations like the Salvation Army in Troy say they are struggling to keep up with unwanted, after-hours dumping or items that are unusable or just trash. Longtime Salvation Army Pastor James Pegues points to photos taken of dumped items near the bins outside their building. One is of an upright piano and a used mattress and box springs, others are of ripped open bags of clothes exposed to the elements, therefore unusable.

Pegues says the problem became an issue for area charitable donation sites at the start of the pandemic, but it spikes during spring cleaning and garage sale season. He says it’s not uncommon for area residents and even contractors to dump their trash outside their building, with some of the worst offenders sneaking in after hours.

Pegues: “We got guy here right now, every morning. First thing he does when he comes here is go out back and he cleans up. He picks up all the loose stuff and throws them in the dumpster,” he said. News10 reached out to another national charitable organization that relies heavily on donations and they also told us that they are currently facing the same issue-spending extra time on cleanup and sorting.

In general, places like the Salvation Army Thrift Stores cannot accept items like appliances with mechanical difficulties, televisions older than 5 years, built-in appliances (things like ovens & microwaves) or auto parts. Here is a list of items they do and do not accept.

Sales of donated items allows the Salvation Army to support people who are reclaiming their lives from issues like substance abuse and Pastor Pegues asks that people to think before they donate. “We can use all the good clothing that they have, you understand. Because we can pass it on so that other people can have decent stuff to wear,” he said. “But we cannot use the stuff that YOU can’t use. It’s that simple.”