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How to Donate Clothing to a Homeless Shelter

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

With such a massive, burgeoning, population of over 300,000,000+ people, even as a world superpower, the United States is not without its own needy and underprivileged people who could greatly benefit from the donations and goodwill of others. In order to best serve the many cities and communities with men, women, and children who have gone homeless, for one reason or another, shelters have been established to serve as a safe haven for such a dramatic increase of homelessness over the last few decades.

If you are looking to make a clothes donation to a homeless shelter, there are several steps you should take, as outlined in this Info Barrel article, in order to ensure that your charitable donations make it into the hands of those who could use them most. Bear in mind that highly esteemed charitable non profit organizations, that are recognized throughout the globe, are also available to accept gifts whether they be in the form of a furniture or clothes donation. Such non profit organizations, like the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries, will accept your donation of clothes and turn around and sell them in a thrift store at a greatly discounted price. Funds from these sales will go to help further the mission, goals, and projects of the respective non profit organization. If you would not like for your donation to be sold to others, you can donate used clothing directly to a homeless shelter that won't sell (but, rather, give) it away to those who need it the most.


Things You Will Need

  • Garbage Bags

Step 1

When you decide to donate used clothing to a homeless shelter, you may very well have hundreds of pieces of clothing to sort through. Some may be in good condition, while other pieces of your clothing may not be in quite such good condition. Either way, in this first step, I would recommend laying all your clothing out in an area where they are available to plain sight as best as possible. A large couch or bed would make a great place to lay your clothing, and doing this will help you to be visualize and assess what clothing you are working with.

Even if you don't have intent to donate a particular piece of clothing, you may change your mind once you lay out all your clothing and have a better opportunity to assess the condition they are in. With our natural tendencies to stock pile clothing that is in perfectly good condition, you may find that there are many pieces of clothing in your wardrobe, that you don't use, that would make for a great clothes donation to a homeless shelter.

Step 2

When assessing the condition of your clothing, sometimes it will help you stay better organized if you approach it in a systematic manner. Rather than jump around from one type of clothing to the next, you can consider beginning by assessing the condition of your shirts, and then move on to jeans and pants once you are finished with that. Whenever you come across a piece of clothing that you feel would be appropriate for donation, instead of keeping them bunched together with all the other clothing that has yet to be assessed, you can easily place them into a garbage bag that you position next to you.

Step 3

When assessing your clothing for potential donation, it does help to stay cognizant of the fact that your clothes donation will ultimately make it into the hands of other human beings, who could greatly benefit from it the most. Where we may be able to nonchalantly plow through heaps of clothing when deciding what to wear each day, those who are homeless oftentimes don't share this luxury. On many occasions, they may only have one or two set of clothing, and, for this reason, you should go the extra mile to ensure that you only make a clothes donation that is in relatively good condition. If you were receiving your donation, would you want to wear it yourself?

Step 4

If you would like to donate used clothing in significant quantities, you may want to consider making a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for yourself in order to track which pieces of clothing you will actually be donating. Besides including the actual name and the brand of a particular piece of clothing, you can also include a column that is strictly for deficiencies or flaws in the clothing. Unless they are rips and tears that are apart of the jean style, many rips and tears could make any given piece of clothing undeserving of being donated. On some occasions, you may find a mild flaw that could easily be fixed with a little sewing or mending. If you do conduct any of your own repairs or improvements, be sure to list that on your Microsoft Excel document for your own tracking.

While the homeless shelter will most certainly go through the clothing your donate, you can also make a copy for them of your spreadsheet. Doing this will help them to better see what clothes donations you are making, as well as, what condition they are in. While this step isn't necessarily, it can certainly help you maintain organization while also help the shelter to see what they have to work with.

Step 5

Consider the temperature and season when you donate clothing to a homeless shelter. While I am sure that many would like a new pair of swimming trunks, this need might not be quite as urgent, or a priority, in the middle of winter. When it is brutally cold outside, oftentimes, people will care very little about what a piece of clothing actually looks like, just so long as it does its 'job' in keeping them warm. In the winter, any clothing donation, ranging from scarfs to hats, gloves, and coats, will be welcomed with open arms.

Step 6

Once you have assessed your clothing items, and have compiled them into a garbage bag, be sure to wash them prior to making your clothing donation. Even if you haven't actually worn a particular piece of clothing recently, if you have to retrieve a piece of clothing from hibernation in the depths of your closet, it may very well have gained some cob webs or dust just from naturally being there so long. Ideally, it is more than appropriate to ensure that all the clothes you donate to a homeless shelter get a farewell cleaning, whether they 'seem' clean or not.

Step 7

Certain shelters may only accept clothes donations at specific times throughout the day. You can conduct a Google search online, or consult the Yellow Pages, in order to gain a phone number through which you can call them an make arrangements. In some cases, you may just be able to hand deliver your clothing donation at any time. Either way, you should try to contact the shelter and arrange for a time to drop off your used clothing donation.

When you want to donate used clothing, donating directly to a homeless shelter can, oftentimes, be one of the best ways to ensure that your charitable gifts get into the hands of those who could use them the most. Not only will making a conscious effort to do this make you feel good, but, it will also help to really benefit those millions of United States' men, women, and children, who are homeless each day.


Tips & Warnings

Oftentimes, other organizations will collect clothing for homeless shelters, and then they will deliver it themselves. You can check with nearby churches and groups to see if they accept clothing donations. You may find that this occurrence increases as we get closer and closer to the winter months, and the cold becomes a formidable foe to everyone.

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Comments

Sep 14, 2010 9:59am
Deborah-Diane
My husband and I regularly donate clothing to homeless shelters. The need is so great, and I hope many people read this article are inspired to make donations, too!
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