One Bag Nation

Decluttering by Donating to Charity

Posted on: June 4, 2008

There’s an excellent post and discussion on unclutterer.com today about the ins and outs of donating used clothing and other items to charity.

As a veteran of the non-profit world, I’ve been on the receiving end of donated items that should have gone into the trash, and instead required valuable staff time for sorting and purging. I’ve also had trouble finding organizations who are interested in taking my clothes and shoes because they’re on the small side.

What Erin at unclutterer suggests is that you do some research ahead of time to find out who takes what, and avoid frustration on both ends.

Nothing feels better than clearing out bags and boxes of things that you don’t want or need anymore – and what could be more satisfying than knowing that someone else will be grateful to have them? Just use caution and common sense when choosing where to donate!

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6 Responses to "Decluttering by Donating to Charity"

Your link is not working. It seems you have an extra “http://” in the code, but when I remove it the URL defaults to Google.

I would like to point you to Freecycle, if you don’t know about it. There may be a local chapter near you.

Hi Ann,

We have great charities that take articles of clothing, but I won’t donate anything with stains, tears, or signs of wear.

I have also called our local women’s shelters as sometimes they are looking for women’s clothes for the women who come in with just the clothes on their backs.

BTW: Thank you so much for adding my blog to your Blogroll. Your kindness is most appreciated.

@Ari: thanks for the tip about freecycle, I have it on my list and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

@Barbara: I read an article in the local paper last Christmas about folks who receive donated items that are broken, dirty, etc. It was especially sad to read about the toys and clothes for the children.

@both of you: thanks for the heads-up about my link!

I agree that items that are torn or stained should not be donated. When I declutter, there are always two piles – one for donating and one for throwing out.

I have a feeling that standards have tightened a lot because people donate what is essentially junk, and then want charities to fall all over themselves thanking them. It’s important to donate in the spirit of truly giving, not just pawning off. That genuinely charitable attitude seems like what you and Erin are promoting, and why it can be so frustrating to be turned away.

I think you’re right, especially because charities often don’t have space or person power to deal with it all.

Just this week we took our Daisy scout troop to do a community service project at a neighborhood “helpline”, where they collect things for families in need. It just breaks my heart to see things like baby formula and newborn diapers there. I can’t imagine having to parent without the very basics.

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