Donating clothes to a charitable organization serves a dual purpose. It provides items to individuals in need, and it helps you stay organized. If you're going through your closet and ditching those items that you no longer wear, don't just toss everything in a bag to donate. Instead, follow this handy checklist to make sure you're donating clothing items that charities truly need.
Once you have identified the clothes you want to donate, go through the clothes to check the condition they're in. Charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army want gently used clothes. If you notice stains or holes in an item, it's better off in the garbage can. If you aren't willing to wear a stained or holey shirt, then the person you're donating to probably does not want to wear it either. Many organizations raise money by selling the clothes at reasonable prices, and they will not sell items that are in poor condition.
Once you separate your clothes into the donation and garbage piles, you should wash the clothes that you plan to donate. In fact, both Goodwill and The Salvation Army request that you wash or dry clean clothes. A crisp, clean business shirt is more likely to sell than a wrinkled shirt, so making the extra effort to clean the clothing before you donate it can help the charity raise money.
Don't forget to go through your accessories to donate along with your clothes. These items are appealing, as a gently used purse can be like new for many people. You can donate items like handbags, ties, belts and shoes, as long as they are in good condition. If the sole is tearing on your shoe or your tie has a giant stain on the front, forget about it. Focus on those items that will truly appeal to charities and those in need.
A clothing donation not only makes you feel like you're helping out; it also can result in a tax deduction for you. Create a list of the items that you plan to donate, and bring it with you when you drop off the clothes. The charity should provide you with a tax receipt for your donation, but your itemized list will help you complete that receipt. Ultimately, this will make it easier to include the deduction in your year-end taxes.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.