Want to help animals? Start cleaning your house

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Have you ever thought you would like to do something for the 100,000 stray, unwanted, neglected or sick animals who enter Maricopa County animal shelters each year, but don't know exactly what to do. Here is one suggestion -- clean your house!

No, I am not talking about bringing out the vacuum cleaner or dusting your shelves. In fact, if your animals are anything like mine, they hate the vacuum cleaner and run for cover as soon as it comes out. What I am talking about is cleaning out closets, garages, attics and other areas of your house where you may have things you no longer want, need or use. We want, need and will use them!

Even if the item is not animal related in any way, we will benefit from this donation. The Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA is a private non profit relying solely on program fees and donations to run our shelter and we receive no government funding. One of our most reliable sources of income is our Thrift Store. Located at the southwest corner of 19th Avenue and Dunlap it is filled with designer clothing, jewelry, household items, furniture and a wide assortment of other donated merchandise.

It would be pretty safe to say that anything you have in your closet that you do not want, we would love to have. That includes shoes and boots. Moving on to the linen closets. Again anything that you do not want - we can use. Gently used towels and blankets are always needed in the shelter, and other linens can be sold at our Thrift Store.

Your attic or garage is more than likely a gold mine. What you may consider trash is another man's treasure. Any old sports equipment, tools, boxes with books, old furniture, no longer used household items (maybe an old, but working, vacuum cleaner that both you and your pets would consider it a relief to get rid off) - even your old car, will help the animals in our care.

So the next time you clean your house, remember you can help the dogs and cats at our shelter by donating your unwanted items to our Thrift Store.

The Thrift Store is located at 1945 W. Dunlap Ave. in Phoenix. It is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We accept donations at the Thrift Store or if it more convenient for you, at our shelter. All donations to the AAWL/SCPA are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

For more information about the Thrift Store, please visit .