How to Donate a Typewriter

By William McCoy

A close-up of the keys on an old typewriter.
i Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your manual typewriter might have been a prized possession decades ago, but gathering dust at the back of your closet isn't the best place for it. Its technology is outdated but that doesn't mean you should send it to the curb. Local organizations and those abroad can make use of your typewriter.

Before You Donate

Although you might not have any experience in typewriter repair, do your best to see if the typewriter is in working order. Check each key to ensure it works, and check to see if the carriage slides correctly and all the levers move. See if you have the machine's manual and carrying case as these items help complete the package. If the typewriter is dusty or dirty, give it a careful cleaning. A wet rag with some dish soap and a toothbrush can remove built-up dirt, while canned air removes dust inside the device.

Donate Overseas

Contact charities that provide goods to underdeveloped parts of the world and ask if the organization has a need for your typewriter. Although it can cost you a bit of money to ship the typewriter to the organization that will distribute it to the right group, this type of donation helps those truly in need. If you have spare ribbons, provide them; if not, inquire if the organization has replacement ribbons or a source for ribbons for your machine.

Donate Locally

Think of individuals or groups in your community that might have use for the typewriter -- if not for its functionality, then for its vintage style. Contact a museum, library or bookstore to determine if it's interested in the machine, either as part of an exhibit or for a decoration. Speak with someone in the journalism or creative-writing department of a community college; the typewriter could make a suitable decor item in a writing center.

Other Strategies

If you can't find an organization that can use the typewriter, list it on your city's classifieds website for sale or include it in an upcoming garage sale. Speak to charities that run thrift shops, such as Goodwill, to determine if the organization can sell your typewriter to raise funds. If the typewriter is electronic, seek an electronics-recycling bin at a big-box electronics store.