When to Give Away Your Old Clothes

Written by Swap Shop on April 30, 2019. Posted in Charities for military families, Local donation pick ups, Organizations that accept clothing donations

The textiles industry is one of the largest in the entire world, and is responsible for creating bedding, table linens, and of course, clothing of all sorts. Everyone around the world needs clothes wear, may they be everyday shirts and pants all the way to heavy coats, formal wear, and work and military uniforms and safety vests. The United States in particular is the world’s largest single producer and consumer alike for clothing, and today, Americans are buying twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago. The average American woman has one outfit for every day of the month, compared to just nine in 1930. Old clothes are recyclable, and Americans are urged to give them to military charities and veterans charities, among other needy individuals. Aside from time and gas money, it is free for any person to donate clothes, for helping families in need. Americans have a charitable spirit year round, but clothing is also known for often being thrown away instead. How can more clothes be diverted from the landfill and to military charities?

Clothing Waste or Charity

The bad news is that the American textiles industry has one of the lowest reclamation rates out of all recyclable materials in the world, well behind glass, plastic, paper, and steel. Estimates show that around 12 million tons of old clothes are discarded every year and send to landfills, where they don’t do anyone any good, least of all military charities or the like. This averages out to 70 pounds of discarded textiles of all sorts for each American adult, and today, textiles have a 15% reclamation rate. Some old clothes are in fact recycled, then shredded to form either industrial rags or clothing stuffing. This indeed diverts those old clothes from going into landfills, but many would argue that clothing donation locations could make better use of those old clothes, such as for military charities.

The good news is that Americans have already proven that they have a robust charitable spirit, and many clothes are indeed given to military charities and the like every year. The winter holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah are a popular time for charity, in particular, although military charities and other donations sites are typically open year-round to accept donations at any time. Americans often donate clothes, a percentage of their income, or house wares to charities. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of clothing recycling may be matter of stoking this already-existing charitable spirit to new heights, and help prevent so many clothes from ending up in the landfills. Best of all, there are simple but effective ways for a household to handle even an enormous inventory of clothes for donations. Making a donation is easy and gratifying for many.

Making the Donation

Most American households probably have more clothes in them than the people there need, and some may have far more clothes than they even know what to do with. After all, many Americans compulsively buy clothes on sale and stockpile them, but hardly even wear them. This can b e taken care of, however. To begin with, everyone in the household may gather all clothes and personal accessories from across the house and assemble them into a single, large inventory on the floor. After all, it may be difficult to track the household’s total of clothes if they are scattered across the home. Once everything is together, it is much more convenient to start sorting.

At this point, everyone can sort through the large pile of clothes and determine what to keep, and what might be set aside for donations. Everything from shirts and pants to dresses, scarves, coats, shoes, gloves, and even sunglasses may be evaluated this way. Clothing to be donated may be articles that are worn out, out of fashion, the wrong size, or redundant. Such clothes can be set aside and packed into boxes or bags for easy storage. Once this is done, clothes to be kept may be put back in dressers or closets, and the donor may pack up the other clothes and take them to a local charity site. Once there, they may hand over the donations, and even receive a tax rebate form for the total value of all donations.

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