According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away an average of 10 pounds of clothes per person each year and consume nearly 20 billion garments a year. That calculates out to 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes per person, or more than one piece of clothing purchased per week. But rather than lament on those staggering numbers, one may view the statistics from a different angle and consider their potential to help others. Instead of throwing old or unused clothing into the trash, organizations nationwide — such as Red Cross donation centers — provide convenient ways for people to make used clothing donations. If each American made an effort to do so, he or she essentially has 75 opportunities to positively impact the lives of those in need on an annual basis.
If the numbers alone don’t prompt your friends, family and co-workers to rush to the nearest clothing donation center, keep reading for more reasons to adopt a clothes-minded mentality.
Many Americans know that monetary donations warrant tax write-offs, but aren’t aware that the same principle applies to clothing donations. If you bring clothing to a Red Cross donation center, for example, you should be able to obtain a receipt that calculates the value of your clothes donations. Your donation to your selected charity is tax deductible for the value of the items you donate, so hang on to your receipt and factor it into your tax deductions at the end of the year.
Organizations across the United States understand that not every donor has access to transportation. If you’d like to make a contribution and are unable to make an in-person drop-off, you can easily coordinate pick-ups online. Or, you can directly contact your donation center of choice and see if they offer that service.
You may not give a second thought to the t-shirt you bought on sale two years ago, but it could mean the world to a disaster victim who hasn’t changed their clothes in two weeks. When conditions are poor and resources are limited, the adage rings true: one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. Keep this in mind when you’re considering what to keep and what to give away — you may feel compelled to donate more than you originally intended!
Regardless if you donate your entire closet or a single pair of socks to a Red Cross donation center, know that your contribution can make a difference and provide a simple comfort to someone in need.