The snow is almost gone, the temperatures are beginning to tease us with an occasional 50 degree surprise, and we’re tempted to officially pack our heavy down winter coats away for good! Our favorite part of saying “goodbye” to winter is getting reacquainted with our spring and summer wardrobe…and donating those pieces we didn’t fall quite as deeply in love with as we thought we would to make room for MORE!

We sat down with several organizations around Philadelphia to get the inside scoop on the right way to donate clothing and accessories and they shared some great tips (and a few of their pet peeves!). So here- in no particular order- are a few do’s and don’ts of donating your gently used clothing this spring.

Clothing Donation Photo

#1. Make sure all clothing is clean, wrinkle-free, stain-free, and not overly worn.

The golden rule of donating clothing is this: If you wouldn’t be proud to give it to your best friend, you probably shouldn’t donate it. Anything that has been mashed up in a bag in the bag of your closet for a few months or hasn’t been washed since you wore it last probably shouldn’t be donated until it’s clean and pressed (dry cleaning is not required!). If clothing is overly worn (especially around cuffs, collars or under arms) chances are that someone else isn’t going to be thrilled to wear it.

#2. Clothing should be current style (no shoulder pads, please).

This one has some flexibility, but requires some common sense too. Clothing is generally considered “current style” if you purchased it within the last 3-5 years. Those classic closet staples that are seemingly always on trend (think little black dresses, button down shirts and jeans) have a much longer shelf life, so use your best judgement. Avoid clothing that is obviously dated- and no shoulder pads, please. If you wouldn’t want to wear a similar style, changes are no one else will either.

#3. All sizes of clothing are needed- especially the teeny-tiny and plus sizes!

People in need come in all shapes and sizes, but surprisingly, donated clothing usually doesn’t. While organizations generally stock a decent inventory selection in average sizes, there is a surprisingly small amount of inventory in both petite and plus sizes!

#4. Think twice about donating your shoes.

Shoes are tricky. If they have a worn heel or toe (or smell even a little bit) they won’t make the cut. The best shoes to donate are those that you fell in love with and thought you’d wear all the time, and only ended up wearing twice. Because the majority of donated shoe inventory is made up of average sizes, there is a huge need for small sizes (4-6 in women’s and 7-9 in men’s), large sizes (10-12+ in women’s and 13+ in men’s) and wide width shoes too!

#5. Accessories are always appreciated!

Accessories look great on everyone! Nothing adds individual personality to an outfit like a scarf, a hand bag, a bright chunky necklace, a statement tie or cuff links. Just make sure each piece is in working order (no broken clasps) and not overly worn (no scratches or worn finishes). Oh, and hold the cheesy themed pieces (no Snoopy ties, please).

Now that you know the rules, here is our short list of organizations in Philadelphia that would LOVE to take your gently used treasures off your hands:

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