It’s no secret that some of us hold onto things longer than we should — especially when it comes to clothing. We keep items that we don’t need or want anymore, and then we wonder why we have no room in our closets for new clothing. And face it: you’re never going to wear anything with shoulder pads or acid wash ever again, so if you’re still hanging onto it, it’s got to go.
Unfortunately, when some people get rid of their old clothing items, they wind up in a landfill rather than as charitable donations. Americans throw away as many as 12 to 13 million tons of clothing and textiles each year, with fabrics like cotton, polyester, nylon, and rayon taking up almost 5% of the room in our landfills. As easy as it may be to toss old clothing into the trash can, much of it as salvageable and can be reused or recycled to help save the planet.
Many charity organizations collect local clothing donations for several reasons. First and foremost, they help those in your community. Some local clothing donations are sold in thrift stores to benefit the needy (as much as 20% of those donations, in fact), and others are sold to textile recycling companies. All of these reasons are better for the environment and for your community, so why not donate clothes to organizations that could use them?
If you’re having trouble cleaning out your closet (don’t we all?), try these handy ‘hacks so you can begin giving to local clothing donations charities today:
1. Use the hanger trick. Perhaps you’ve heard this one before, but it can be useful. At the beginning of the year, turn all of your hangers backwards in your closet. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger around. At the end of the year, see which hangers are still backwards, and donate those items.
2. Turn it inside out. For clothing in drawers, there’s another solution: turn each article of clothing inside out at the beginning of the year. Once you wear it (and wash it) reverse it back to normal. While it may take more digging, this method is another way to determine what stays and what goes.
3. If it doesn’t fit, don’t let it sit. This one is especially useful when it comes to children’s clothing. If it no longer fits, don’t keep it sitting in the dresser or closet any longer. Once your child outgrows his or her clothing, be sure to donate it — there’s a good chance that another family will appreciate it.
4. Don’t let rips stop you. Just because clothing is damaged doesn’t mean it’s headed for the garbage dump. Clothing can be recycled, so find out if a charity in your area will take it. (And it could still end up in a secondhand shop anyway for someone else to fix.)
Have more suggestions for clothing donation lifehacks? Leave us a comment below.