Residential Moving

New home, new start: Your guide to donating clothes before your move

Parents with children sorting out clothes in boxes to donate at home

Moving is an ideal opportunity to declutter and to donate clothes you no longer need to help others. Let’s explore how you can reduce your load and provide value to others through thoughtful donations.

Benefits of donating clothes

Donating clothes while moving has significant benefits. It reduces the volume of items you need to pack, both saving moving costs and simplifying your logistics. More importantly, it aids those in need, enhancing their dignity and quality of life. Donating is also environmentally beneficial—it keeps items out of landfills and supports sustainability. You may even be able to receive tax deductions for the value of your donations.

Types of clothes to consider donating

When sorting through your wardrobe, consider donating gently used and clean clothes. In addition to everyday clothing, the following items can also be donated:

  • Seasonal wear: such as winter coats, which are in high demand during cold months. Other examples include summer dresses, swimwear, and holiday-themed clothing.
  • Special occasion attire: including business suits for interviews and prom dresses for students. Organizations accepting donations for business attire and like Project G.L.A.M. (for prom dresses) specifically help individuals prepare for significant life events.
  • Footwear: Shoes in good condition are always valuable.

How to find donation centers near you

Finding nearby donation centers is straightforward with tools like, which offers free pick-up services. To use this tool, simply enter your zip code and select the type of items you wish to donate. The website will then provide a list of local charities that accept those items, along with their contact information and pick-up schedules. Goodwill and the Salvation Army offer similar online resources to locate drop-off points and schedule pick-ups. Leveraging these tools can make donating as convenient as possible.

Best places to donate clothes

Volunteer receiving clothing donationCharities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army are well-known for accepting clothing donations and using the proceeds to fund community services. These services can include job training programs, emergency assistance for families in crisis, or support for individuals with disabilities. Local shelters, which often serve specific groups like the homeless or abused, are also excellent places for direct donations.

For specialized items like business suits or prom dresses, consider targeted organizations that help individuals prepare for specific challenges or opportunities. For instance, Dress for Success is a global nonprofit that provides professional attire and career development tools to women in need, helping them secure employment and achieve economic independence.

Preparing clothes for donation

Prepare your clothes by ensuring they are clean and in good repair. Sorting items by type and season can expedite the donation process and aid organizations in distributing them effectively. Use clear labels on bags or boxes to help workers at donation centers manage your contributions and keep track of what you’re giving away.

Responsible clothing disposal

When donating clothes as part of your moving process, ensure that only items in wearable condition are given away. This helps those in need while maintaining the dignity of recipients. Consider textile recycling options in your community for garments too worn for donation—like torn, stained, or overly worn.

These programs transform unusable fabrics into valuable items such as industrial rags or new textiles, helping prevent waste and supporting sustainability efforts. Donating usable clothes and recycling others contributes to environmental conservation and community well-being as you prepare for your move.

Documenting donations for tax purposes

You must document your donations if you want to benefit from tax deductions. When you donate, ensure you obtain a receipt from the charity with essential details such as the donation date, a description of the items donated, and their condition. It’s important to assess and note the fair market value of each item at the time of donation, which is the price a willing buyer would pay for the item in its current used condition.

You can reference valuation guides provided by many charitable organizations or consult online resources to help determine appropriate values. Don’t forget to keep a well-organized file of all donation receipts and detailed lists of donated items. This documentation is necessary for your tax records and can be invaluable if your tax return is ever audited.


Donating clothes as you prepare to move is a generous and practical way to declutter and support those in need. By giving away items you no longer use, you’re lightening your load and positively impacting the community and environment.