That little black dress you bought last summer that’s still hanging in your closet untouched? Yeah, it’s time to bite the bullet and get rid of it. Luckily, cleaning out your closet doesn’t mean you have to throw away that beautiful buy. Making charitable clothing donations is a worthy way to clean out your closet and donate to those in need. Maybe someone needs a dress for a work event or a fancy party and your never worn dress will be the perfect item at a price they can afford. Your kid’s winter coat that they’ve outgrown will help keep another child warm for no cost. Charitable clothing donations can work in many different ways, from funding charitable organizations to providing clothing at no cost to those who need the help, to offering an inexpensive and eclectic blend of clothes at secondhand or thrift stores.
What are Some of the Benefits of Used Clothing Donations?
Helping Those In Need
If you can’t donate money, donating gently used clothing, appliances, or other household goods that you no longer need can really make a difference for another family or individual.
For children, who don’t have a lot of money to give, you can teach them how to give back by having them bundle up clothes they’ve outgrown to donate. It can be a wonderful lesson and they may find joy in choosing items to donate to another child.
The general rule of thumb — that many of us don’t follow! — is that if you live in a one to two season climate and haven’t worn a piece of clothing in six months, it’s time to give it away. Given that the average American buys a minimum of twice as much clothing as 20 years ago, there’s certainly plenty in our closets that doesn’t get worn. We throw away about 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.
Save the Planet
Sadly, even though almost all textiles can be reused or recycled in some fashion, we send almost 11 million tons of clothing to landfills annually. Textiles are responsible for about 5% of municipal waste, since only 15% of textiles are actually recycled or re-purposed.
Where Can I Donate Gently Used Clothes?
There are many big name charitable organizations that take charitable donations, but if you want to go locally, you can search online to see what organizations near you might be taking clothing donations. Some may organize seasonal drives — for example, coats and boots in the winter — and distribute bags door-to-door for that purpose. Others may have central donation drop off locations or have volunteers pick up donations.
You can even start your own drive! Find a charitable organization that accepts charitable clothing donations and commit to collecting a certain number of items for them. This can be a great activity to do around the holidays or as the seasons change and clothing needs change. For example, collecting swimsuits and sandals might be great for the summer months, while coats, hats, mittens, and boots might be very welcome in the winter.
What Should I Keep In Mind When Donating Clothing?
Keep in mind that every person wants to wear clothing with dignity — so check over the items you’re donating carefully. Don’t donate faded, torn, stained, or shrunk items of clothing. If clothing is missing a button or has a tiny tear, mend it yourself if you are able, or take it to someone who can fix it before donating.
And do wash the clothes you plan on donating before actually doing so. In theory, the person who purchases them or receives them will also wash before wearing, but it’s nice to receive clothes that smell fresh and that are clean.
Charitable clothing donations are a great way to give back to the community while also lessening your clutter. It’s the true definition of a win-win situation and clothes you love but no longer wear will get a second life with someone who needs and appreciates them.