01/27/2012 01:45 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Thrift Shopping: Should You Donate, Ditch or DIY Your Unwanted Furniture?

This has happened to us too many times to count: We've gone through the trouble of cleaning out our homes, only to have a bunch of stuff that we're not sure has a place‚ anywhere. Of course, the impulse is to donate it all to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. But it turns out that there are many things that a thrift store won't accept or at the very least, discourages one from donating. While clothing and typical furniture items are obviously OK to donate, what about really outdated things like desktop computer armoires? Or piles of (bad) LPs? And does Goodwill really need our crappy $5 lamps?

To help guide you, we've come up with a list of these "gray area" items‚ and what to do with them. Should you donate, ditch (via freecycle.org or recycle day) or take the time for a DIY project? Click through the slideshow to find out.