I have a bad habit of buying clothes and never wearing them, or buying something specifically for one occasion and never wearing it again. As a result, I always seem to have a closet stuffed with clothing in great condition that I know I’ll never wear.
While I could sell on eBay or sell on Craigslist, I don’t have the patience for everything involved in online sales. I’d rather gather up all of my unwanted clothes and drop them off at a charity once a year. In addition to providing people in need with some very nice, gently used clothing, I also receive tax deductions for donations. So really, I still get something out of my unwanted clothes.
Make sure you check out our top 7 online options for free tax preparation software and services. Each of these will walk you through how to claim a tax deduction for your donation.
If you have clothes taking up space in your closet, why not donate them to a national or local charity and reap the tax benefits? Clothing adds up quickly on your tax deduction worksheet, and the Salvation Army even has a Valuation Guide to make the process easy.
Where to Donate Nationally
1. American Red Cross
Clothing you donate to the American Red Cross benefits victims of natural disasters. For example, the American Red Cross provided much-needed clothing to Gulf Coast evacuees during Hurricane Katrina, and for Houston-area evacuees during Hurricane Ike.
Currently, the Red Cross needs clothing for men, women, and children, as well as shoes, purses, and other accessories. You can also donate linens and small toys. You can schedule a pickup online through the American Red Cross Clothing Drive website.
2. Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) provides support and services for veterans returning home after serving. These services include counseling, hospital treatments, and aid for homeless and disabled vets. The VVA sells donated items in resale shops, and the proceeds benefit the charity.
The VVA accepts clothing, shoes, and accessories in good condition. You can schedule a pickup online through the PickUpPlease website.
3. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army accepts clothing for men, women, and children in good condition. Your donations go toward stocking Salvation Army family stores, and proceeds from these stores help fund the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers. You can find a drop-off point or schedule a pickup online through the Salvation Army donation site.
4. Dress for Success
Unemployed, low-income women often lack the funds they need to buy professional clothing for job interviews. Dress for Success provides these women with business attire for their job interviews and a week’s worth of outfits when they find employment. The charity does not pick up donations, but you can find a drop-off location in your area on the Dress for Success website.
5. Career Gear
Career Gear helps low-income men get the clothing and toiletries they need for job interviews. Career Gear needs suits, formal shoes, professional men’s clothing, and toiletries. You can ship your donations or drop them off if you live in the New York City area; you’ll receive a tax receipt by email. For detailed instructions on shipping, visit the Career Gear website.
6. Big Brother Big Sister Foundation
The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation pairs at-risk kids with adult mentors. The foundation accepts any type of clothing in good condition. Your donations go to the foundation’s resale stores, and up to 100% of the proceeds benefit the charity. You can schedule a pickup online through the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation website.
7. Planet Aid
Planet Aid’s mission is to create a sustainable environment while helping charities at the same time. Planet Aid has a number of drop-off bins around the country, and the charity accepts clothing for men, women, and children.
Clothing donations are recycled through textile recycling, or sold at resale shops. Proceeds from the resale shops go toward helping developing nations. You can find a drop-off bin near using the Planet Aid bin locator.
Savers helps local nonprofit groups host clothing drives. A local charity collects clothing from their supporters and turns the donated goods over to Savers. Savers pays the local charity based on the amount of merchandise collected. Savers also pays nonprofits any time you drop off a donation at a donation center.
In addition to clothing, Savers accepts small household items, DVDs, books, and other media items. Visit the Savers website to find a donation center in your area.
9. Donate My Dress
Donate My Dress is a national network made up of local nonprofits. These nonprofits collect new and gently used formal dresses, which are donated to low-income women so they can have the dress of their dreams for a special occasion like high school prom night. You can find a local donation center on the Donate My Dress website.
10. Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul accepts clothing donations for use in their thrift stores. Beyond providing needy families with much-needed clothing at low prices, proceeds from the sales also benefit the charity directly. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul helps low-income people by providing both counseling and assistance.
Different thrift stores have different clothing needs. Use the Society of St. Vincent de Paul website to find a thrift store or charity center near you.
Goodwill provides community outreach for low-income families and individuals. Goodwill has a resale shop, and the proceeds benefit the charity. You can donate clothing for men, women, and kids. You can find a local donation site on the Goodwill website.
Where to Donate Locally
12. Local Churches
Most churches accept many different types of donations, including clothing. Often, the clothing is given to other church members. For example, a church in my area recently hosted a clothing drive for a family that lost all their belongings in a house fire. Contact local churches in your area for more information.
13. Community Outreach Centers
Community outreach centers often accept clothing donations, and any clothing you donate will be given to a needy family in your area. For example, my local community outreach center does an annual clothing drive to collect school uniforms, coats, and play clothes for low-income kids in my area. Some community outreach centers also take book donations as well.
14. Homeless Shelters and Missions
The main goal of a homeless shelter or mission is to provide people with a safe place to stay, but many shelters also accept clothing donations. These shelters accept all kinds of clothing, but have a serious need for coats and warm blankets during the cold winter months.
15. Thrift Stores
While some second hand thrift stores are for-profit, you can still do some good in your community by donating your unwanted clothes. Thrift stores resell clothing at rock-bottom prices, which are affordable to low-income families. You will not receive a tax break for dropping your clothes off at a thrift store, but you will help out people in your community.
16. School Clothing Drives
Many public schools do clothing drives once or twice a year. Hosting the clothing drive helps the students learn about the importance of charity, and the schools usually donate the clothes they collect to charities. Be sure to check with the school about tax deductions before you donate.
No matter which charity you choose, your unused clothes will do more good in a donation bin than sitting in your closet. Try to schedule a clear-out once a year for everyone in your household. Donating annually helps ensure that the clothes you donate are still in style.
For tax purposes, retain your receipt, and keep track of how many clothes you donate and their condition. This info will come in handy when you file and protect you in case you are audited by the IRS.
Have you donated your clothes to a charity before? Which charities do you prefer?