Every year, the average American household throws away 68 pounds of clothing, which adds up to 12 million pounds discarded nationwide. That’s a lot of clothing sitting around in landfills that could have been used as charitable donations instead. Fortunately, more and more people are jumping on the clothing donation bandwagon! In 2006, the donation and purchase of used clothing kept 2.5 billion pounds of fabric out of landfills, and one year later, in 2007, Americans donated approximately $5.8 billion worth of clothing and clothing-related items to charity organizations.
Donating clothing to charity is good for the environment and many organizations that accept clothing donations create revenue for funding educational, health, and family support programs for military families. Helping families in need through charitable donations is easy and emotionally fulfilling, but deciding what to part with can be difficult.
Here are some guidelines to help you choose what can be donated and what should be thrown out:
- Anything you have not worn in 6 months or longer should be parted out for either donation or trash, as should items that no longer fit, regardless of the last time they were worn.
- Clothes that are clean and in good repair should go straight into the “to donate” pile.
- Items with tiny, unnoticeable stains can be donated, but anything obviously soiled or discolored should be thrown out or re-purposed into a cleaning rag.
- Jeans with rips, tears, or worn spots can be patched at your discretion and donated, but if they are too tattered to salvage, must be thrown out.
- Clothes that do not fit your taste or are an outdated style should not be thrown out simply because of this flaw. Someone else may really enjoy leopard prints, and looks that are no longer popular may be used in a theatre production or at a theme party. If there is nothing otherwise wrong with the article, into the donate pile it goes!
Once your wardrobe has been sufficiently sorted, enlist the rest of your family to donate from their closets. Don’t forget to add shoes that no longer fit or handbags you never use!
Many organizations that help military families pick up clothing donations and will come right to your house. Otherwise, you can take the clothes to a donation center, where they will thank you and take your charitable donations off your hands. Your house will be less cluttered, and you will feel better about helping people.