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A Guide to Donating Used Clothing

Spring Cleaning is typically the time of year folks go through closets and weed out clothing no longer wanted. With good intentions, donating the castoffs for others is a noble thought and I wholeheartedly believe in passing thing on to the next person.


Here is a list of things to check for that would render a garment unsuitable for donation. Use this guide to determine what should go in the trash or clothing recycling bin.


  • holes

  • stains

  • rips

  • tears

  • snags

  • pilling

  • faded

  • oil stains

  • bleach damage

Other things to check for making an item unsuitable for donation:

  • broken zippers or zippers that won't stay up

  • faded decals or lettering

  • fallen seams,

  • frayed cuffs or collars

  • split crotch

  • missing buttons

  • "ring around the collar",

  • yellowed armpits

  • odors (mildew/mold). This is common when items have been stored in a basement, attic, garage, or other storage space.

  • elastic that won't stretch or has dried out. Give a tug, and it will "crunch".

  • broken or stinky shoes

  • missing sequence, adornments, beads, etc.

If you are doing the sorting on your own then kindly refer to the list above. Don't worry about the unknown "somebody" who "might" want an item because you "can't see" blemish or someone "could use XYZ item for a Purim costume". In reality, they won't.

Be kind and respect of the time second-hand and consignment shop workers who sort though the giveaways, as well as the dignity of the clients who patronize their establishments.

Keep the guidelines in mind, and it's a win-win situation for everyone involved. Happy sorting, and enjoy your newly decluttered closet.

*Originally published as "An Illustrated Guide to Donating Used Clothing" by Karen Furman, The Klutter Koach, April 2017

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