Tips for Donating Clothing, Linens, and Accessories

  • Call or visit the charitable organization before you donate to ask what is specifically requested or needed by the agency. Ask about their distribution schedule. This is particularly important before beginning a collection drive of shoes or coats or prom dresses.
  • No fabric items like bedding, towels, or clothes should be donated unless they have been cleaned. Dry clean or wash everything and treat any stains before donating. If possible, use fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip scent enhancers and fabric softener to protect possible recipients who are sensitive to perfumes. 
  • Every clothing item or piece of linen should be inspected for rips or tears, missing buttons, broken zippers, and stains. Charities do not have seamstresses to do repairs and those in need may not have the resources to do repair.
  • For sheets and towels that are permanently stained or badly worn, wash and give to animal shelters that can always use them. 
  • Check all the pockets, especially in purses and wallets. Charities find personal information, money, credit cards, and even jewelry.
  • Since most charities do not have large storage areas, donate clothing that can be distributed during that season. Giving a wool blazer during July is inappropriate. Hold onto it and donate it during the autumn or winter season.
  • Many organizations will not accept used undergarments and bathing suits. Always ask before donating these items.
  • Shoes should be in good condition, clean, and given in pairs.
  • If you have collected a large number of specific items like coats or children’s clothing, consider separating the donation by size and labeling each container. That will save countless volunteer or staff hours and get the items to those in need much more quickly.

Meg MacDonald/The , Photo by: Matt Collamer/, #helpingothers, #donate

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