How to Know When It’s Time to Donate Clothes to Charity

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Charities often push for consumers to donate around the holidays, and it’s easy to see why: not only are people more likely to be in a giving spirit, but a well-timed donation in the last week of December can allow you to get local clothing donations written off on your taxes for that year. But if you’ve gone a long time without sifting through your closet and bringing bags and boxes to a clothing drop off location for charity, it can be difficult to get started or even know whether it’s the right time. If you’re wondering when to donate clothes, follow these tips:

  • Think about weather
    Used clothing donations are appreciated all year long, but if you live in a climate that’s prone to harsh weather conditions, try to schedule your clothing drop off time in advance or during that time of year. Winters can be rough in many places, and many charities need help securing jackets, hats, gloves, warm socks, and blankets. Be sure to donate items that have been washed (if applicable) and are in good condition. Most organizations do not accept used socks, so make sure those are in an unopened package if you decide to include them. If you live in a rain-prone area, think about donating waterproof items, boots, and umbrellas.
  • Evaluate the condition
    Don’t try to donate ratty or worn-out items to charity. In general, used clothing donations should still be in good, usable shape. If you’ve never worn an item, even better. But if a piece is simply in bad shape, opt to recycle it instead. If you’re unsure about an item, call the organization to get a definitive answer.

  • Decide whether you still love it
    Many people experience an emotional attachment to their clothes. This is nothing to be ashamed of. However, most of us overestimate the sentimental value of our clothing, too. If you can live happily without it or it no longer fits your style, make room for what you have (or even new items) in your next clothing drop off. If you haven’t worn a piece in over a year, it’s time to think about passing it on to someone who will appreciate it more.

If you’re looking to donate your used clothing to a charity this year, be sure to do your research and work with a charity that benefits local residents, veterans, or disaster victims. For ideas about what types of items an organization needs, contact your charity of choice.

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