Ever thought about donating clothing to charity? If you’re like most of us in America, you’re throwing away about 70 pounds of clothes and other home textiles every year, accounting for about 5% of all municipal waste. Only about 15% of such items we throw away will ever get recycled, and we not only keep doing it, but we are buying twice as many items of clothing than the average person did 20 years ago. Donating clothing to charity can be a wonderful way of recycling as well as helping families in need. Here are four tips on how to make your donated clothes do genuine good.
- Donate good stuff. This doesn’t mean you donate the things you want to keep! It just means you shouldn’t be donating trash. If you wouldn’t wear it because it’s too dirty or is all torn up, guess what? Nobody else wants to wear that, either. Wash clothes before you donate them. Take a moment to fix a rip or a broken zipper. That way, your clothes can actually be re-sold. Every year, charities actually lose money in finding a way to dispose of trash items that they can’t sell or give to someone.
- Donate smart. Make sure your donations of clothing as going to a reputable organization. There are some big names in charities that you can go with, and there are lots of excellent charities that work with military charities, in particular, to help military families in need. In act, you might even find a local chapter and get involved so you know how things work when you make a clothing drop off. Here’s a pro tip: if you’re donating clothing to charity and they can’t give you a receipt for tax purposes, there’s a good chance it’s not all that legit.
- Don’t donate. That stuff that’s too dirty or ruined for anyone to wear? Don’t give that away. Instead, think of a way you can still do good with it and keep it out of landfills. You can make cleaning rags out of old shirts, make a quilt out of all kinds of fabrics, shred old clothes to make replacement stuffing, and cut useful pieces out of otherwise ruined items to use for patching other things.
- Spread the word. A whole 70% of people who use social media say they would donate to charity in response to a story on social media. Post about your experience in charity clothing pick up, or about how you felt when you did. Talk with your kids about what’s happening and consider posting about their reactions to show how giving is contagious. These are great ways to maximize the impact of your donation.
Donating clothing to charity is a great way to help others and protect our environment. Follow these four tips and you’ll be making the most of everything you give.