We've suggested donating your towels to animal shelters, but there's a whole slew of other common household items that could be put to good use at a shelter (or vet's office) near you.
Here are 10 common items that are welcome at many shelters:
• Blankets. Fleece blankets are especially good for pet bedding. They keep animals warm and comfortable, and hopefully make them feel at home in the shelter until they find a cozier permanent home.
• Plastic bags (with no holes!). Because doggy doo happens. We're not sure how much of an effect the plastic bag ban in SF has had on shelters' supplies of plastic bags, but we know that plastic bags are always welcome donation items.
• Heating pads (good condition, only). They're used to comfort and keep newborn kittens, puppies, and wildlife infants warm.
• Cleaning supplies. Keeping shelters clean and sterile is a huge job. They are never at a loss for paper towels, large trash bags, bleach, dish and laundry detergent, buckets, mops, brooms, etc.
• Batteries. Some shelters need AA and AAA batteries to run their microchip scanners.
• Baby food. The strained meat variety is used to feed kittens.
• Latex and rubber gloves. For animal handling and cleaning purposes.
• Office supplies. Pens, pencils, staplers, etc, to be used for administrative purposes in the shelter offices or front desk.
• Other bathroom linens. Some shelters also take bath mats and fluffy toilet seat covers to line animal crates.
• Cell phones. Donate them in the name of your favorite participating animal shelter (or other good cause) at WirelessFundraiser.com. Participating shelters earn commission from cell phones that are donated in the name of their cause. The Web site allows donors to print a postage paid shipping label to send in their old phones.
It's always a good idea to call your local shelter before dropping off donations to see what they need most.
(Stay tuned for lots of animal-related posts next month -- September is Pet Month!)