Updated: Apr 18
Ever looked through your wardrobe, thought about giving some clothes to charity, then thrown them back where you found them because you weren’t quite sure how to go about it? Here’s a list of all the things you should and shouldn't do when it comes to making clothing donations, so that when you next feel like donating, you know exactly how to do it smoothly and hassle-free.
Do be aware of COVID-19 restrictions in your area at the time of reading and hold off on putting these DOs into action until you are able to do so safely!
Find out which charity shops are near you. You can do this easily with a simple Google search (‘charity shops near me’), and subsequently use the search engine’s map feature to get directions. You can also use an online directory: here is one you can find on the Charity Retail Association’s website as an example.
Phone your chosen charity shop(s) to check which days they are accepting donations.
Use a nearby clothing bank if your local charity shops are currently closed due to COVID-19 measures.
Arrange a collection of your donations from your household if you are unable to get to a charity shop or clothing bank.
Appreciate the benefits of what donating your clothing can bring. Not only are you helping charities and those in need, but you are also being more environmentally friendly – The Salvation Army states how “for every tonne of textiles reused rather than sent into landfill, greenhouse gas emissions (a major cause of global warming) are reduced by 7 tonnes.”
Give where you can, trying to contribute to a wide range of charities in order to help different causes and prevent overwhelming one shop in particular. You can download the document below for a list of all the charities which accept vouchers from Clothing Collective.
Gift Aid your donations. This allows charities to claim 25p for every £1 you give from the government. Your donation increases without you having to give more than you originally planned!
Give a new home to clothes which still have the price tag on, are in the back of your wardrobe, or don’t make you feel good. It’s worth considering which clothes make you happy and decluttering your space by giving away pieces which don’t.
Make sure items have been recently washed.
Group and label items if you are donating a large batch of clothes. For example, if you are donating clothes which range from baby grows to adult trousers, you could divide them into age ranges.
Dump clothes which are ‘unsellable’ - incredibly ripped, stained, full of holes, or any other major damage. Clothes which are a little worn are fine, but those which are unwearable cannot be put out by charities. Though most charities try to recycle and dispose of clothing which is unusable in a sustainable way, this takes away time and resources which could have gone to better use. Instead, you could cut up these items into rags for cleaning, or to use as pieces for upcycling other bits of old clothing or homeware.
Likewise, don’t donate clothes subject to mould or damp.
Worry about size or style – any piece of clothing, from infant outfits to grandad jumpers, are really appreciated!
Leave donations at the side of a clothing bank or on a charity’s doorstep. Keep hold of these until banks have been emptied, or restrictions are relaxed, and shops can open again.
Donate used undergarments. This is an item which is mostly unaccepted, but you can check by giving the charity shop a call.
If you don’t have any clothes to spare at this moment in time but you would still like to contribute to helping charity shops and those in need of clothing, you can make your donations to our charity and help produce clothing vouchers for those in need here.
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