In 2014 alone, more than $350 billion was giving to charitable organizations and various surveys have shown that more than 95% of Americans participate in some form of charitable giving.

There are many reputable charities to donate to and many good reasons for Americans to donate. One of the most important is helping those in need. When it comes to charities, some of the hardest working are those who support U.S. veterans and their military families, who are often in need of assistance and aid when they return home from serving.

You may not think so, but donations you make can go a long way in helping people who need it. Housewares, appliances, clothing and other things you don’t need can be of great use to veterans and other groups in need of support.

This is especially true of clothing. It’s often said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and clothing donations to veterans can be of great benefit. That’s especially when you look at the numbers concerning Americans and their used clothes:

  • About 4.7 billion pounds of clothing are donated by Americans each year, but about 10.5 million tons of clothing continues to end up in landfills annually.
  • The average American throws away nearly 70 pounds of clothing, linens and textiles each year. Textiles account for 5% of municipal waste because only about 15% of them are ever recycled.
  • The average American buys at least twice as many pieces of clothing as 20 years ago and only 15% of used clothing is donated on average. That means there’s a probably a lot of unworn clothing in your closest that someone else could be making use of.
  • If you think some of your clothes can’t be recycled, think again. Believe it or not, almost 100% of household textiles and clothing can be recycled regardless of condition. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in six months, get rid of it. That means put it in a donation box.
  • In 2007, an estimated $5.8 billion worth of clothing related donations were made to U.S. charity foundations.

As indicated by the statistics above, there are plenty of reasons to make clothing donations to local charities and drop off centers instead of throwing old clothing away. Let’s face it, even if you’re big into fashion, you’ve probably got a steady rotation of the same outfits you wear all the time. Eliminate what you don’t need and get them to people in need.

If you’re going to be help people out and make clothing donations, don’t be a jerk and donate junk. The saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ also applies here. Don’t take it literally. If you’ve got old ratty jeans or T-shirts, chuck them straight in the trash. If it’s not in good condition and you wouldn’t wear it, you can’t expect other people to, no matter who they are. When you’re going through the closest and making a clothing donations box, ask yourself if a particular item is good enough to give to a family member. If the answer is no, throw it away.

It’s not an understatement to say that Americans buy a heck of a lot of clothes. Another good rule of them is that for every outfit you pick up, try to find two or three to get rid of. When that time comes, there are plenty of organizations like the Red Cross and Purple Heart Pickup that can whisk your clothes away and into the hands of people in need. Before you donate, get all the donation guidelines as far as pick-up schedules and what you’re allowed to donate.

If you’ve got piles and piles of clothes taking up space in your closet, don’t just throw them away. Consider donating clothing to charity and get your donated clothes to places where they can help folks in need of aid. You might not know it, but that older winter coat you’ve got stored away can be a godsend to someone looking for a way to stay warm when the cold weather hits.

Why You Should Donate Old Clothes Instead Of Throwing Them Out

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