It’s National Good Samaritan day today! If you’ve racked up a ton of sportswear that you want to donate, you’re at the right place. Good for you for deciding to do this!
Did you know that the average American throws away approximately 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year?
Also, the growing popularity of heavily engineered performance wear fabric worsend the issue of poullution. The majority of active clothing in the market are infused with chemical treatments to improve performance.
While most regular clothing is recyclable, a considerable amount of space on landfill sites is occupied as a result.
Imagine how much you could contribute to reducing the amount of waste by donating your used workout clothes. Likewise, think about the countless number of people in dire need of the leggings you are about to toss.
You probably think it’s gross to donate the workout clothes you’ve toiled and sweated in. However, it might surprise you to know that people actually donate fairly used underwear too…let that sink in.
So don’t let that hinder your decision to be charitable. Let’s check out a few steps to get your pre-loved workout clothes ready to donate.
ASSESS YOUR CLOSET
The first step to donating your activewear is to go through your closet and figure out what’s actually gift-able. Hopefully, you’ve cared for your sportswear well enough that they are worth giving away now.
Exercise clothing items that have irreparable damage such as stains, holes or gnarly faded spots are candidates for tossing. If these kinds of active clothing items currently live in your closet, it’s a definite sign that you need new activewear.
Workout clothes that have frayed stitches, broken zippers, and other minor garment defects are still prime items for donation. However, you’ll need to take care of these clothing defects before you donate them.
This should be a no-brainer if you want to donate your used workout clothes. Wash the sportswear in cold or warm water with soft unscented laundry detergent.
Soak heavily soiled activewear in four parts water and one part vinegar to lift the odor-causing bacteria from the fabric.
Make sure to wash white colored items separately in warm or hot water. After that, air dry or tumble dry the clothing in low heat.
Also, avoid using fabric softeners while machine-washing your activewear as it defeats the purpose of washing. This is because the contents of the softener cling to the fabric and trap dirt in the fibers.
All these are super useful practices for taking care of your sportswear. Make sure your activewear is clean and dry before sending them out for donation.
FIX MINOR DEFECTS
You’ve assessed your closet, washed your activewear and now you’re trying to psych yourself into beginning this next task.
You don’t have to be a 1950’s American housewife to perform a successful seam repair on your leggings.
All you need is a needle, thread, thimble and a little bit of patience (okay maybe a lot!). If you’ve never fixed a seam in your life, Google is your friend.
Minor defects include ripped seams, broken zippers, pilling, missing clasps or buttons, and loose stitches. I don’t recommend donating clothing with gaping holes that would require patching.
A sports bra with a somewhat loose elastic band or missing pads is still decent for donation. However, it’s better to replace missing parts on your workout clothes with decent alternatives.
For instance, clasps on a sports bra or a drawstring on a pair of joggers should be replaced if lost or damaged.
Also, grab a fabric comb or razor and get rid of fuzzballs by lightly trimming the fibers on the clothing surface. Try not to dig into the fabric or you may ruin the activewear fabric.
For this, all you’ll need is a bag or bin and labels to make useful notes about the activewear pieces you plan to donate. Fold all the clothes and place like clothing items in the same bin.
For example, if you are donating other clothing together with your sportswear, place all sportswear in one container.
Make life a bit easier for the people who sort through the donation inventory by labeling the containers properly.
If you’ve cut off the size labels from your workout clothes attach a make-do label to each item.
FIND A DONATION CENTER
There are zillions of donation centers ready to receive your new or lovingly used activewear. If you’re not sure what to do with your old workout clothes that can’t be donated, don’t fret.
Donation centers often assemble less presentable clothing and send these items to recycling centers.
Your active clothing items can be repurposed into other useful articles like cleaning cloths.
Call and find out if the donation center is part of a recycling program and throw in your worn-out activewear as well. Hang in there, you’re still doing some good.
Here are a few centers that you can walk into or ship items to:
- Salvation Army: Accepts used clothing for resale. Proceeds go towards provisions for families, the homeless and veterans.
- Goodwill: A non-profit organization that accepts used clothing for resale. Proceeds go towards training and employing various groups of individuals: youths, seniors, veterans, people with criminal backgrounds and people with disabilities alike.
- Volunteers of America: Accepts used clothing to support the homeless, struggling addicts, ex-convicts, and people with disabilities.
- Soles4souls: Accepts new and good condition clothing and shoes for distribution to those in need all over the world.
In addition, you can find donation drop boxes in your vicinity. This service provides designated locations for dropping off donation items.
Also, certain donation centers usually require that the clothing or shoes be clean, dry, and tied up in a plastic bag. Be sure to follow the laundry tips I’ve described above in order to properly prep the clothing.
Here are a few drop-box services you could use:
- USAgain: A sustainability-conscious organization that accepts clothing and textiles for donation, sale, and recycling. The USAgain website has a search tool for donation drop-off locations in different states in the US. Fill in your city, state, and zip code to find collection sites.
- PlanetAid: An environmentally conscious non-profit organization that accepts used clothing and textiles to support impoverished communities. Find your nearest drop-off location by entering your zip code into their web search tool.
- American Red Cross: Accepts new and good condition clothing and shoes for sale at thrift stores. Clothing donations are collected through Green Drop which then funds American Red Cross initiatives.
COMMUNITY CHURCH OR SHELTER
If you are skeptical about donating your clothing to large corporations, your local community shelter or church might be a favorable alternative.
Because of their community involvement and familiarity with locals, your donated activewear is more likely to be gifted to individuals in need. This is a surefire way to make a change in your own circle.
FILE A TAX DEDUCTION FOR CHARITABLE DONATIONS
If you’re donating luxury clothing or a huge collection of clothing, it could be worthwhile to get a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
Your active clothing must be in pristine or good condition to receive a donation receipt. Also, the charity organization which you are donating to must be registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.
You’ll need to make a list of all the clothing and appraise each item to get an estimated total price.
Donation centers often have valuation guides for appraising items; Goodwill is an example. Search online or check consignment shops for the current market value of your workout clothes.
You should also know that your tax deduction is limited if you receive a reward for your contributions in the form of goods or services.
It’s time to work through the list and put a smile on someone’s face! Head to your nearest donation center for a well-deserved dose of self-fulfillment. The world needs more people like you!
What tips do you have for donating your activewear?
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