Infant-sized clothes don’t fit on your toddler, but another parent could always find use for them.
A closet full of outgrown baby clothes can make any parent wax nostalgic for days gone by. However, you can wipe away those tears, free up space, and help a family in need by donating those used relics of days gone by. It not only provides space for outfits you can create new memories in, but also leaves you feeling better than you did the day before.
There are a few questions, suggestions, and rules of the road when bringing old garments to locations looking to pay it forward. For some, the uncertainty of how to go about donating is the only thing keeping them from doing so. Hopefully, the information to follow can take away some of the confusion that comes with being the good you want to see in the world.
Where Do I Donate?
There are is no shortage of charities hoping to brighten the day of children with the items you can no longer use around your home. From The Big Brothers and Big Sisters to Goodwill Thrift Stores, you can find plenty of places eager to receive what you have to give.
Perhaps you haven’t seen a thrift store in your travels, but luckily donation boxes are always in abundance. Outside of churches or in parking lots, they sit waiting for you to feed your charitable wares. Even if you don’t see a box outside a religious institution, you can always check inside of one. Many places of worship jump at the chance to pass on clean and salvageable goods to families in need, especially ones with babies of their own.
What Should I Donate?
If it’s usable, it should be donated. Aside from clothing, many organizations look to charitable community members to provide beddings, crib sheets, and changing tables. While these items become obsolete to many moms and dads over time and are some of the most common items that get thrown away due to wear and tear, countless institutions need them desperately for those in need.
When in doubt, ask. Many items that you might think are unusable are quite the opposite for another family. Those collecting for charity are often open to all baby items that have no history of manufacturer recalls. Even things like unwanted gifts are also welcome. Rather than collect dust, let it collect the spirits of a child who has gone without.
How Do I Prepare Baby Clothes For Donation?
It is pretty simple to clean your baby clothes for donation. Simply clean them as you would any clothes. Wash them with a load of laundry using baby-safe detergent, in case the child receiving them is sensitive to abrasive cleaners, and make sure they look just as you’d want them to look if you were putting them back on your own baby.
Clothing that has been soiled beyond repair might be better suited for the trash rather than the donation pile. We all fall on hard times and those in need are no different than others in that they wouldn’t want their little ones in dirty clothing. Given that you’re already doing something that shows respect, like donating to help others, it’s best to stretch that respect to the items that you are donating.
Once clean, fold and sort the items for those taking them in. It makes the process smoother and simpler for those stocking the clothes and for those accepting them.
What’s In It For Me?
It sounds like a tacky question, but it’s absolutely understandable. In an era where sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace make it simple to profit from your old clothes, giving them away seems like a benevolent act with little reward.
Yet, there are benefits to choosing charity over profit and they go beyond the spiritual sense. When heading to the donation center with a large collection of items, take inventory of their approximate worth and write-off the entire donation on your tax returns. As long as you’ve chosen a charity with the correct tax classification and save the pertinent info like donation value, charity name, and the donation date, you should be able to get your just desserts when tax time roles around. In fact, you are allowed to deduct up to $300 of donations without having to itemize them. This is called an “above the line” deduction.
At the end of the year, you can lump all your donations together for tax purposes and find that doing good not only makes you feel good, but pays back good. Sure, it’s about doing the right thing and the way it makes you feel inside can provide anyone with a sense of pride. And yes, you can also use it to teach a life lesson to your children and watch as they learn the value of caring.
Don’t mistake the meaning, though. Reaping a financial reward in the end doesn’t undo the good you’ve done. Someone has been helped, a baby is clothed, and you’ve freed yourself from the guilt that comes with watching a needed item go to waste. Doing the right thing is usually the easiest and most rewarded thing, as long as you know how to do it.
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