Where Can I Donate Clothes for the Homeless When Moving? Here Are a Few Ideas

By in Moving Tips&Tricks September 9, 2020

With this humane way of thinking, it doesn’t matter what situation brought you to question where can I donate clothes for the homeless? It could be hiring long-distance movers and finding yourself in a pile of clothing you no longer need or want. Maybe you’re downsizing or doing a seasonal cleaning. Whatever might be the reason for the question, we have the answer. Don’t spend hours reading answers on forums – find out here how to donate clothes, what steps you have to take, and what are the recommended places where you can consign your clothing.

Remember that the answer to this question mostly depends on the state and city you’re living in. Bigger cities, of course, have more options for charities, but small ones have a strong sense of community, which means that you may know in person someone who needs your clothing. There are also a lot of local communities that gather people who require help, so you can just reach out to them.

Have You Picked Out the Clothing Items You Don’t Need?

Looking at a closet twice your size full of stuff for all seasons, fancy dresses, suits, and Halloween costumes is rather intimidating. Who knows what is inside and how much pants and T-shirts are there that haven’t been worn in years. You haven’t cleaned your closet in a while? Then, this will take some time.

If you’re doing this because you’re changing your address and choosing the things you need for your first apartment or you’re wondering what to pack for college, start with making piles and figure the method that works best for you. We recommend sorting your wardrobe based on how frequently you wear it. Set aside items you love and have on you every day, and continue until you’re left only with stuff you haven’t worn for over a year or that you wouldn’t buy now. That last pile should be the one to throw away, sell, or give away.

A drawer full of wardrobe
Even high-end pieces can end up at the bottom of some drawer

Charities Don’t Accept Everything – Check the Condition of the Clothes Before the Donation

Before you learn where to get free moving boxes, place your items inside and seal the box, check in what condition the wardrobe is. If you won’t wear this or that piece because they don’t fit anymore or you don’t like them, that’s fine, but if there are some stains, holes, or any other damages, it’s most likely that the charity won’t take them.

Where Can I Donate Dirty Clothes?

Unfortunately, the chances of someone taking a dirty wardrobe are close to none. Even if you found a bag of stuff that had been in the garage for who knows how long and you don’t have the time to wash them because you’re having a last-minute move, there’s still no different answer. Instead, throw them all together in a washing machine, go to the dry cleaner’s, or ask someone to help you and do it for you.

Shirts hanging off a rack
Make sure every item is clean when thinking where can I donate clothes for the homeless

Where Can I Donate Clothes for the Homeless?

Firstly, don’t be surprised if a shelter refuses to accept your old clothes donation. There’s a reason behind that – a shelter that services the area you live in has space where they stock gently used wardrobe and shoes and hygiene products. If that space is filled with unusable items, they won’t have space for what they really require.

The second step is to make a list and contact the shelters in your area that will organize the transportation of your stuff and pick up your bags and boxes with clothing. That way, you will find out what they require, and your hard work won’t be in vain. The organizations that you’re looking for are:

  • Nationally – American Red Cross, Green Drop, Vietnam Veterans of America, St. Vincent de Paul, Dress for Success, Career Gear, Goodwill, Soles4Souls, One Warm Coat, and Salvation Army. Do a quick check-up and see what stores may be closed due to the COVID situation.
  • Locally – Churches, Community Outreach Centers, Homeless Shelters and Missions, and School Clothing Drives.
An image of a girl typing on the computer
Choose between national and local organizations

Secondhand Stores Are Also a Good Option

The options we listed as national organizations won’t give away free wardrobe, but sell them at lower prices. For example, Green Drop has drop off locations, you can schedule a pick-up, and they will distribute your things to American Charities. When donating clothes to a charity such as St. Vincent de Paul, you will see your used stuff being sold at Vinnies shops. Each one of the listed organizations fights poverty and helps those who need help the most. Vietnam Veterans of America also require clothes and shoes for all veterans, regardless of age or war they fought in. No one should go cold, and we can agree that winters are much more difficult than summers for those who don’t have a home. If you’ve asked yourself Where can I donate warm clothes for the homeless, contact the organization you chose, like, for example, One Warm Coat, and make arrangements. Be ready for a scenario where they might not be able to pick up your things right away, or they might not need what you have.

Is It Better to Donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army?

This question might as well pop up while browsing and asking around where can I donate my old clothes as those two are probably the most famous charities but they aren’t the same (even though they have the same goal). The Salvation Army is a Christian church organization, and it’s basically what their name says – soldiers, officers, and adherents traveling wherever they are needed and helping people who survived various disasters, addiction, and domestic abuse. Goodwill is a non-profit organization that helps marginalized or handicapped people get a job, and to continue working. Both of them are good options for donations, but choosing between them means choosing what kind of cause you support.

How Do You Give Clothes Directly to the Homeless?

If you don’t trust organizations or you want to skip the step of contacting and arranging the pick-up, you can actually go directly to the people without a home and give them your things. If you aren’t sure about where those people are in your area, call your local social services department and check with them whether they need the clothing you have. However, it’s not the best idea to just go and drop off your things. The first reason is that you could create a mess for the people taking care of those who live on the streets. They keep track of what they have and need. Another reason is that you won’t get a receipt that you can use for tax reduction, but we’ll get to that later.

A girl putting shirts in a box
Working with an organization is much better than handling this task by yourself

If You Have Time, Sell the Clothes and Help by Donating the Money

There are more options to help those in trouble. Let’s say, for example, that you’re relocating to a new state with a warm climate and you don’t require any of the winter garments. Half of your closet, including jackets, boots, sweaters, or winter shoes, become useless, and they’re all in perfect condition. You can sell them online on eBay, Etsy, or Poshmark. Take the money you get from these items and make donations to a local shelter so that they can buy hygiene supplies, food, or something else that they might have a shortage of.

Make the Best of the Money From Yard Sales and Invest in Your Community

If you’re not up for online selling or simply don’t have time before your moving away party, then organize a yard sale. That way, you will not only downsize and get rid of all useless things, but you’ll also increase your moving budget and have fewer things to move. Since movers charge by the number and weight of things you’re relocating, that means that you’ll be one step closer to the cheapest way to move out of state. After this sale, donating clothing to charity will become donating money to charity and improving your community.

A person holding a calculator next to a piggy bank and coins
In case charities don't require your things, sell them and make donations

Another Great Thing About This Kind Act Is the Tax Deduction

Every good deed pays off, and so does this one. Once you submit your bags or boxes with clothes to whichever organization you chose, you will get a receipt. That amount of money will be deducted from your taxes.

Here’s the process:

  • Check if the organization you picked is on the IRS’s list of qualified charities. You can search by the name, city, or Employer Identification Number.
  • In this case, you can only deduct the fair market value of items that are in good condition. The value of your donations is the price the item would raise in a thrift store.
  • Before the donation itself, make a list of what you’re giving away. Count the items and check the prices of similar stuff at the thrift stores.
  • Once you arrive at the organization where you’ll be leaving your things, take one of their preprinted receipts with the name, address, and the date of the donation.
  • Keep in mind that if your donation is worth more than $250, you should ask for an official receipt, so the IRS wouldn’t think that you’re over-exaggerating the price.
A man writing down calculations
Tax deduction sometimes means a lot

If You’re Relocating, We Have Some More Tips

In case the reason why you wondered “where can I donate clothes for the homeless” is that you’re moving state to state or you’ve got interstate moving services, keep in mind that your moving expenses checklist is now shorter for one item. Carrying unnecessary things to a new home is only a waste of time and money, so you will end up paying more even if you choose the best time of the year to move. Any local moving or long distance moving companies will confirm that. It will not only cause a waste of money but also moving stress. Now that you’ve donated the things you don’t wear anymore and helped someone who needed it, you can continue following other moving tips and enjoy a stress-free relocation.