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Publish Date: April 11, 2022

Clothing Donations Tips: What, Why, When and Where to Donate

Clothing donations are a great way to support your local community. Do you have gently used items that you want to donate? If you're unsure about what clothes to donate, where to donate or when the best time for clothing donations is, we’re here to help.

We’ll cover the four Ws of clothing donations - what, why, when and where. So, when you’re ready to donate, you’ll know exactly what steps to take and why your clothing donations mean so much to the community.

Let’s take a look at the what, why, when and where to donate clothes.

What Clothing Donations Are Accepted (and What’s Not)

If you’re going through your closet and drawers trying to decide what clothing to donate, you’ve probably come across an article you’re unsure about. Can it be donated? Do I need to wash it?

Here are the most common questions we get about clothing donations (and the answers to help you out).

Goodwill employees sorting item and clothing donations
Clothing Donations Tips: What, Why, When and Where to Donate 5

Do you need to wash clothes before donating?

Yes - you should wash clothes before donating them. If donated clothing is not laundered, it may need to be disposed of. This is unfortunate, especially if you intended for your gently used clothing to find a new home! So, always be sure that your clothing donations are clean before dropping them off.

What happens to donated clothing that can’t be resold? Goodwill is dedicated to keeping used clothing out of the landfill. Therefore, clothes that are ripped, damaged or dirty are recycled. Often, they are sent to a textile recycler. The recycler turns the clothing into new products or materials. For example, wiping rags, upholstery stuffing, etc. 

Thanks to these recycling programs, very few clothing donations are thrown away.

What clothes should not be donated?

When it comes to clothing donations, clothes must be gently used (or new), clean and not damaged. Ripped, damaged, wet, dirty, or stained clothing should not be donated. 

Otherwise, you can donate nearly all other clothing. This includes items you might not think were acceptable. For instance, did you know that Goodwill accepts:

  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Bras

Keep in mind, that all of these items should be clean, dry and in good condition when donated. 

Donating shoes to Goodwill
Clothing Donations Tips: What, Why, When and Where to Donate 6

Can you put shoes in clothing bins?

Yes, you can donate shoes. Like other clothing donations, shoes should be new or gently used and in good condition, if you want them to go to a new home. Otherwise, they may be recycled instead.

Why Clothing Donations Are Important

If you have unused clothing that you want to get rid of, donating your clothes is a great option. In fact, donating your clothes is the most socially responsible and environmentally friendly choice for disposal! 

Why is donating clothes important? Here are 3 reasons why donating your used clothing is the best option when cleaning out your closet (and drawers).

3 Reasons to Donate Your Unused Clothing

  1. Prevent waste from reaching the landfill.

When you donate your clothing to organizations like Goodwill, you help prevent thousands of kilograms of waste from reaching the landfill. 

As discussed above, even when Goodwill can’t sell donated clothing, they recycle or upcycle it - rather than sending it to the landfill. In fact, Goodwill recycles more than 4 million kilograms of items and prevents over 16 million kilograms of goods from reaching the landfill each year.

Employees at Goodwill donation centre
Clothing Donations Tips: What, Why, When and Where to Donate 7
  1. Support your local community.

When you donate your unused clothing to a local organization, like Goodwill, you’re helping your community in several ways. 

  • You are helping to provide affordable clothing. Clothing donations help families and community members save money while also getting quality goods that will last. Winter coats, for example, are a great donation.
  • When you donate to Goodwill you are also helping people in your community with disabilities. With the help of your clothing donations, Goodwill supports Albertans with disabilities in finding meaningful employment. As a non-profit organization, Goodwill allocates 89 cents from every dollar generated towards programs and services for members of the community with disabilities.
  1. Save on taxes.

Did you know - both donating and shopping at Goodwill can help you save on taxes! When you donate a piece of clothing or an item over $200 in value, Goodwill can write you a tax receipt to help offset your income tax. As well, because Goodwill is a non-profit organization, all items purchased at the local Goodwill thrift store are tax-free!

Find out just how much your generous clothing donations will benefit the environment and your local community by using the Goodwill Impact Calculator!

When To Donate Clothes

Box of blanket and clothing donations for Goodwill
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Many people also ask about when to donate clothes. The truth is - any time is a good time to donate used clothing and goods! 

That said, winter clothing is extremely useful. As you know, the cold winter climate in Alberta requires warm clothing. Therefore, by donating your unwanted winter clothes, you can others in your community gain access to warm and affordable garments.

Where to Take Clothing Donations

Ready to drop off your clothing donations? There are many great organizations that accept donations in Alberta. 

As one of Alberta's top non-profit thrift stores and donation centres, Goodwill is a great place to donate. Thanks to Goodwill’s longstanding history in the community, you can rest assured that your donated goods will be put to good use - whether they find a new home or are recycled. Plus, the profits from these donations will benefit your local community and help individuals in Alberta with disabilities.

Clothing Donations at Goodwill

Wondering - where can I donate clothes near me?

Goodwill has 23 donation centres across Alberta. Check out our Donation Centre Locator to find a donation centre near you.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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