As the seasons change, many of us start casting an eye towards our closets, wondering what we can get rid of, to make room for new things — or simply to just make a little space! Instead of throwing out gently used clothes or other household items, consider donating them to a charitable organization that accepts those kinds of donations. A broad variety of charities that support different causes — from charities for wounded soldiers to charities that support under served areas of a community — may accept clothing donations, so it’s worth looking into. Not only will you get to clean out a little, but you’ll also be doing a good deed. However, you should have a game plan before bagging up all your goods — know what to look for when donating and where to donate household items. Otherwise, you run the risk of having all those donations sit longer in your house, underfoot — or not donating correctly.
Why Is It Good to Donate?
Whether you choose charities for wounded soldiers or charities who seek to feed the homeless, donating your time, effort, and goods is a worthy thing to do. You help better the lives of others in your community, country, or even overseas, and contribute to a bettering of humankind. You also stand to teach your children by example when you make a practice of donating, whether it be your time, money, or goods.
Donating used clothes specifically helps keep them from being tossed in the landfill, helping make our footprint a little less. Despite almost 100% of clothing and textiles being recyclable, on average, we throw away around 100 pounds of clothes, linens, and other textiles annually, which unnecessarily fills up landfills.
What Should I Know About Clothes Donations?
When making a clothes donation — to charities for wounded soldiers or elsewhere — you want to make sure that the items you’re donating are in good condition. This means any faded, torn, shrunken, stained, or bleached clothing needs to be re-purposed for rags or thrown out. Items that are missing a button or zipper should have those things replaced or not donated. You want the person who will end up wearing your clothes to feel proud doing so. Gently used clothing should be indeed, gently used.
Keep in mind that not every charitable organization accepts used clothing donations, so be sure you do your research and see whether or not they’ll take your donation. Other organizations may put out a specific call for items they need — such as winter coats or boots — and instruct donors about items they don’t need. In this way, you can target your giving to really make a difference.
If the charitable organization you donate to is tax-exempt, you may also get a break on your taxes. If your charitable donation is over $250 (either fiscally or materially), you’ll need a receipt to write them off on your taxes. Items like men’s overcoats or suits could be worth as much as $60 for a write off.
Where Can I Look For Charities That Accept Clothing Donations?
Asking friends or family to recommend charitable organizations that they give to is a good first step — the charities may be more reputable, especially if your contact has been giving to them for awhile. You can also start looking up charities that support causes close to your heart. For example, if you were in the military, you might consider charities for wounded soldiers more important to you personally, than say, charities that support international relief efforts.
Check your charity of choice’s website to make sure that they accept clothing donations or donations of household goods before dropping by. You can also keep an eye out during the holidays, as many organizations advertise heavily around the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons for donations.
Do a good turn and clean out your own closets, when you donate gently used clothing. Your dress in mint condition might turn out to be the perfect interview outfit for someone and your child’s winter boots that they’ve outgrown will keep some other child’s feet warm this winter.