The snow is almost gone (at least we hope) and the temperatures are beginning to tease us with an occasional 50 degree day, which means we’re a few steps closer to being able to say goodbye to our heavy down winter coats. With this goodbye comes the joy of getting reacquainted with our spring and summer wardrobe – and of course donating those pieces we didn’t fall quite as deeply in love with as we thought we would to make room for MORE!
There are several organizations around Philadelphia worthy of receiving your donations. Here is the inside scoop, from the organizations themselves, on the right way to donate clothing, and accessories – as well as a few of their pet peeves.
Make sure all clothing is clean, wrinkle-free, stain-free, and not overly worn.
The golden rule of donating clothing is this: If you wouldn’t be proud to give it to your best friend, you probably shouldn’t donate it. Anything that has been mashed up in a bag in the bag of your closet for a few months or hasn’t been washed since you wore it last probably shouldn’t be donated until it’s clean and pressed (dry cleaning is not required). If clothing is overly worn –especially around cuffs, collars, or under arms – chances are that someone else isn’t going to be thrilled to wear it.
Clothing should still be in style – no shoulder pads, please!
This one has some flexibility, but requires some common sense too. Clothing is generally considered “current style” if you purchased it within the last three to five years. Those classic closet staples that are seemingly always on trend – for example, little black dresses, button down shirts, and jeans – have a much longer shelf life, so use your best judgement. Avoid clothing that is obviously dated. If you wouldn’t want to wear a similar style, chances are no one else will either.
All sizes of clothing are needed, especially the teeny-tiny and plus sizes.
People in need come in all shapes and sizes, but surprisingly donated clothing usually doesn’t. While organizations generally stock a decent selection in average sizes, there is a surprisingly small amount of inventory in both petite and plus sizes.
Think twice about donating your shoes.
Shoes are tricky. If they have a worn heel or toe – or smell even a little bit – they won’t make the cut. The best shoes to donate are those that you fell in love with and thought you’d wear all the time, and only ended up wearing twice. Because the majority of donated shoe inventory is made up of average sizes, there is a huge need for small sizes (4-6 in women’s and 7-9 in men’s), large sizes (10-12+ in women’s and 13+ in men’s) – wide width shoes are always needed too.
Accessories are always appreciated.
Accessories look great on everyone! Nothing adds individual personality to an outfit like a scarf, a hand bag, a bright chunky necklace, a statement tie, or cuff links. Just make sure each piece is in working order (no broken clasps) and not overly worn (no scratches or worn finishes). Oh, and hold the cheesy themed pieces (no Snoopy ties, please).
Now that you have the inside scoop, here is a short list of organizations in Philly that would LOVE to take those gently used treasures off your hands:
- Career Wardrobe & The Wardrobe Boutique
- Covenant House PA
- Cradles to Crayons
- Pathways PA
- Philly AIDS Thrift
- Salvation Army
- Sunday Breakfast Mission
Katie Everett is Founder of Philly Gives – an organization aimed at maximizing positive community impact in Philadelphia by fostering collaboration and generating increased awareness, support and involvement in local charitable efforts. You can connect with Philly Gives by liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter or e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.