We live in a world that is begging for great stories. Although much of the news today is focused on oil prices falling, murder rates rising, politicians fighting, and terrorists bombing, many people still gravitate toward the good news. News of checkout cashiers taking the time to wait while an elderly lady pays for her purchase with coins, fire fighters delivering food to a family in need, and teachers providing more than the basics of Algebra and essay writing to their students. Good news in the form of one person helping another person, one family helping another family, and an entire community helping their members who are less fortunate?
The best part about this good news trend is that the stories do not need to be about big sacrifices and large donations. These stories can simply be about the small things that people do to make someone’s life a little easier. Simply finding a location that is looking for donations of clothing and other household items can be your family’s start toward creating a great story.
Why Should I Donate My Gently Used Clothes?
Quite simply, groups that are looking for donations of clothing and other household items are doing so because there is a great need. While many Americans have closets and dresser drawers that are bursting at the seams, many other families do not have enough clothes to keep them warm on these cold winter days. Charity organizations encourage donors to sort through their clothes and give away the things they are no longer wearing. The request for donations is a request that is being answered in record numbers. In fact, in addition to clothing donations, $358.38 billion was given to charitable organizations in 2014.
How Can I Teach My Children to be More Giving?
What lessons are you teaching your children on a daily basis? Are you teaching them the value of giving to charities that are looking for donations or are you teaching them the value of finding a good bargain? Shopping wisely is not a problem in itself, but if your family is in the habit of scouring sale racks for more shirts, socks, and sweaters than you could ever possibly wear, you may be teaching the next generation more about being consumers than about being contributors. A weekend morning spent at a local shelter sorting clothing or serving meals will likely have an impact that will last longer than the shopping adventure your family had at the mall.
When children grow up seeing their parents make clothing purchases thoughtfully, as well as periodically culling through their closet to remove items they no longer wear that can be donated, those children begin to understand at an early age the value of giving to others who are looking for donations, instead of the value of collecting more than they could possibly need.
How Can I Avoid Being Wasteful?
In addition to providing for those in need, taking the time to donate clothes when they are still wearable keeps fabric and other textiles out of overcrowded landfills. Compare the 4.7 billion pounds of clothing that are donated by Americans every year to the 10.5 million tons of clothing that Americans send to landfills every year. Donated clothing creates a sustainable gift that allows more people to benefit from the same warm sweatshirt or sturdy pair of shoes.
Consider the following frightening statistics about America’s consumption of clothing and other textiles:
- On average, today’s American buys twice as many pieces of clothing than a person did 20 years ago.
- Because only 15% of textiles are recycled, this product makes up 5% of municipal waste.
- An average American throws away at least 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles every year.
When Is the Best Time to Donate Clothing?
Now. Every single day the sweater three sizes too small sits in your closet, is another day a young mother who is struggling to feed her children is wearing the same worn shirt she has been wearing for weeks. Every single day your children’s outgrown athletic and dress shoes are cluttering the spare closet is another day when a young fourth grade boy is going to school with smelly feet caused by his shoes are old, dirty, and outgrown.