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What To Do With Your Donate Pile

Tackling that over-stuffed closet as one of your resolutions for the new year? First, good for you! A well-organized, edited closet is key to making getting dressed each morning easy, fast and even a little bit fun.

Second, you're probably surrounded (or will be) by several piles of clothes. Most closet clean-out guides encourage sorting your items into at least three categories - keep, donate and trash/recycle.

One challenge I've experienced with effectively editing my closet (read clearing enough out) is the desire to see my once-loved pieces end up somewhere better than a random donation dumpster. It leads me to keep items I have no real intention of wearing again and accumulating bins of "to-be-donated/sold" clothes in the garage.

If you find yourself with the same struggle, I hope this guide not only encourages you to build a bigger donate pile, but helps you feel good about the process of purging your wardrobe.

Phone a Friend (Or a Bunch)

If you and a friend are the same size, plan a swap at the start of each season. This works great for maternity and nursing clothes too! If your best gal pals span a range of clothing sizes, consider an accessories swap with all your best (but unwanted) hats, scarves, bags, and jewelry.


Donating to well-known organizations such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries certainly supports their community support efforts such as adult rehabilitation and employment, but there are additional options if there's a more specific population or purpose you'd like to support.

Local Community - Check with your church or those your friends attend to see if one offers a clothing bank or resale store to provide clothes and other basic needs to folks living in your community.

Domestic Violence Prevention/Services - Many women (and their children) leave abusive living conditions without many resources including clothing. Shelters and supporting organizations may take clothing donations for direct distribution to their clients or may resell them at a retail store to raise funds for their services. House of Ruth is an example in the Baltimore area or you can locate options in your area with a simple search such as "domestic violence emergency shelter {Your Town, USA}".

Community Voluntarism - Investigate the current projects or programs your local Junior League chapter is supporting - often through proceeds from a thrift shop filled with the community's donated clothing and other items. Options could include specific pediatric medical conditions, family health centers, performing arts, historic trusts, or museums.

Military Veterans - Organizations like Vietnam Veterans of America and Military Order of the Purple Heart not only support veteran and family services, they offer convenient pick-up services so you don't even need to leave your house to donate.


Some pieces in your donate pile may be a little more specialized than what your community clothing bank specializes in, but there are some good options for nearly any item you have.

Suits and Business Attire - If you work in a business or corporate setting and have workwear to donate, you might want to consider an organization like Dress For Success. This organization helps women put themselves together from head to toe so search for your local affiliate and determine their current needs - get together with friends or colleagues for a donation drive to collect everything from lipstick to shoes.

Formal Dresses - If your senior homecoming dress (no? just me?!) or a collection of bridesmaid dresses are taking up precious space in your closet, consider donating to an organization that can get it into the hands of a girl who will cherish it. A few that I found - Becca's Closet, Cinderella's Closet, and Operation Deploy Your Dress - help girls and women attend proms, formals, and even military balls.

By no means is this an exhaustive list , but I hope it encourages you to let go of more and do better with your items marked for donation. If you have any other great options or organizations that I missed, please share them in the comments.

Happy purging and donating!

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