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How to Donate Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

Learn When & How to Donate Clothing, Shoes & Accessories


Hands down the best way to declutter any closet or shoe-and-boot collection is through donating clothes. In this guide to donating clothes, I will take you through the four phases of donation:
  • Locating a donation center;
  • Instructions on how to determine when it's time to donate clothes;
  • How to let go of clothes and shoes you like but don't wear;
  • How to declutter your clothes closet; and, finally,
  • How to declutter your shoes and boots.

Where to donate your clothing

Walk in Closet Pictures - Pictures of Emily Schuman's Walk In Closet Part 4
Photo / Emily Schuman

The best way to donate more clothes is to have a donation center in mind before you even begin decluttering. This makes the "letting go" precess so much easier because you already know your clothes will go to a worthy cause. How to choose where to donate? Choose a charitable organization that means something to you personally. My father is a veteran of the Vietnam war, so I designate the Vietnam Veterans of America as my charity of choice for the clothing, shoes, and household items I donate each year. Bonus, you can call and schedule an appointment for them to come pick up your donations. All you have to do is bag them and leave them on your front porch.

You can choose a donation center: Where to Donate Clothes & Household Items, or your could sell or consign your clothing.

Where to Donate Everything A-Z

When to donate clothes, shoes, shoes and accessories

Jenna Lyons Closet from Trulia
Photo / Trulia

Knowing when to donate clothes can be frustrating because our brains switch into survival mode and we cling to our stuff out of habit (more on this phenomenon in Reasons You Keep Clutter).

To counter-act this basic human instinct, I've come up with a no-fail test, 5 questions long, and can be applied to everything shirt, skirt and knee-high boot in your closet:

6 Signs It's Time to Donate Clothes & Shoes

Tips on how to stop hoarding clothes

Closet with Fold Out Doors from Domino Magazine
Photo / Domino Magazine

Chances are you are not a full-fledged pack rat, so put your dreams of appearing on "Hoarders" on hold for a few minutes while we talk about clutter. People love to clutter, and then people love to declutter. Think about how awesome you feel when you've spent time decluttering and organizing a space in your home: you feel like you can conquer anything. However, sometimes you need a little extra motivation to get down and dirty decluttering your closet before you can donate clothes, shoes and accessories.

5 Ways to Stop Hoarding

Think of me as your cheerleader and use some of these beat-the-clutter resources.

Learn to declutter your closet

Emily Schuman's Walk In Closet Part 2
Photo / Emily Schuman

Decluttering your closet is much more successfully done when it's done often, as in weekly if possible, and seasonally at a minimum. I like to go through my own closet as soon as a season starts to turn into the next (which in Connecticut happens every 3-4 months) to store what I won't wear for the short-term future, and donate what I didn't wear during the previous season. Its much easier to do this regularly than once a year because you will take a more utilitarian approach. For example: if spring is turning to summer and you know you didn't wear your trench coat at all, it's easier to donate that right away rather than wait until next spring when your memory of how much you wore the previous year will be foggy (London Fog, get it?).

7 Ways to Declutter Any Closet

Declutter your shoes and boots

Walk in Closet Pictures - Pictures of Emily Schuman's Walk In Closet Part 3 - Shoe Storage
Photo / Emily Schuman

Once again, decluttering and donating shoes is so much more easily done when it's done seasonally. In addition to a fresh memory as described above, donating shoes as soon as you've determined they need to go relieves you of the burden of having to store them for another season or another year.

How to Declutter Your Shoes & Boots

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