How to Prepare Clothing Donations


The Benefits of Clothing Donation

Donating gently used clothing is a great way to contribute to your community and your environment. You benefit as well with the reward of a clean closet. When the seasons change you can do yourself and your family a favor by pulling unwanted garments and accessories from closets and drawers and donating them to the needy.

The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year, most of which can be recycled. When you donate unused or unwanted clothing you:

  • Gain a lighter closet, creating more organizational space (who doesn’t need more space in their house?)
  • Contribute to members of your community who do not have proper clothing
  • Limit waste in landfills
  • Help small landfill businesses, which sustain thousands of jobs
  • Earn a tax deduction
  • Set a good example for your children

Properly Packing Your Donation

Part of properly donating clothing is taking the time to ensure it is in proper shape to be purchased or worn immediately. This includes examining each article of clothing before packing it for the donation center. Don’t forget that, just because a place accepts donations, doesn’t mean they accept garbage.

If the item of clothing is ripped, faded, or stained, you can recycle the item of clothing instead of donating it. Don’t throw your textiles away. Recycle them instead.

When preparing your donation, consider the following:

  • Wash the Clothing – Run a quick load to ensure your donations are free from dirt and odors.
  • Check the Pockets – Once you submit your donation, you are not likely to be able to regain access to it, so make sure that any change, receipts, notes, keys, or other important items are removed from front and back pockets before your drop off.
  • Pack the Right Container – Be prepared to leave the storage container or bag at the donation facility. Trash bags, large plastic containers or unwanted shoulder bags make good carriers.
  • Use Labels – If you are donating a lot of clothing it can be helpful to label the bags with a short description of their belongings.
  • Make a List Beforehand – If you want to receive a tax deduction, you will need to fill out a receipt at the donation drop off. Prepare a list of everything you are donating before you reach the donation center to avoid taking everything out of the bags you just spent time packing.

Where Can I Donate Household Textiles?

After your donations are washed, packed and labeled, it is time to drop them off. In addition to online charity and recycling companies, many local charities accept textile donations, including:

The cardinal rule for donating clothing and other items is that you should not donate something that you wouldn’t want yourself. So, this season help your community and clear out clutter by cleaning your family’s closets.

Additional Resources




  • First Book, an Education Charity, by


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