I mentioned in my post on cleaning out the kids’ closets that donations is one of my sorting piles. It’s actually a few mini-piles. And as I suggested, anything that goes into these piles should be clean, still fashionable, and wearable. Use the “would I want this?” rule. Broken zippers, hole in the sleeve, missing buttons? If you’re handy with a sewing needle, take the time to make the repairs if you intend to donate the item. Otherwise, re-use/recycle or trash them.
- Pass down to friends – These are some of my favorite outfits that I thought particular friends would like. Also included, my aunt hand-knits sweaters for my kids, so I prefer to personally give them to someone rather than put them in the anonymous donation bags.
- Moms’ group – When our kids were smaller, we used to exchange some barely worn clothes in our moms’ group. This is great for boys’ suits, girls’ special occasion dresses, and infant and toddler winter coats, all which hardly get worn out before the child grows out of it. This is also a good pile for specialty wear like dance costumes and sports equipment (swim flippers anyone?)
- School – The nurse and guidance counselor at our elementary school keep a stash of clothes for the inevitable little kid accident, whether it’s someone falling in a mud puddle, spilling their chocolate milk at lunch, or not making it to the bathroom on time. I put our too-small school logo shirts, along with a few casual pieces in this bag. In the winter, I also include mittens and jackets. Be sure to ask first if they need it, if the school doesn't have a regular collection.
- Local clothes collection – When I have seasonal clothes to donate, I take them here. They will accept any clothes, but space seems to be tight, so I figure that in-season clothes are more welcome than out of season items.
- Pick-up donation – I admit, I don’t know what the various agencies who pick up clothes and household stuff do with it all, but I’m glad to be rid of it. For this reason, this is my pile of last resort.
Books – I don’t get rid of a lot of books, but sometimes I acquire books that I don’t really intend to keep or I have craft books I don’t need anymore. And my kids have used books that we don’t need to keep because they’ve outgrown them. I pass these on to the next readers:
- Donate to library or one of the local schools for used book sales
- Take to a kid-focused event (for example, PTA, Girl Scouts, the swimming pool) and invite the kids to take whatever they want
- Donate to women’s shelters
- Give to the guidance counselor and teachers at school for their classrooms
Towels and sheets – The mis-matched sets, the towels that don’t match the new bathroom paint color, the towels that are worn or torn – I’m taking them to the animal shelter.
Craft supplies - Donate to the school for the classroom and art teachers.
If you're closets are like mine, you'll find that most of the stuff you are getting rid of isn't in bad shape, you're just done using it. Pass it on and help someone else enjoy it.