Can I Donate My Clothes During Coronavirus? Here's What to Know
If you're trying to get rid of your old clothes right now, you may need to wait.
Being stuck at home in quarantine has put many of us in a cleaning mood, using all of our free time to finally declutter and get our closets organized. However, as that "give away" pile of garments starts to build, you may start to wonder whether or not your usual charities are accepting donations right now. Unfortunately, many thrift stores and donation centers have closed due to stay-at-home orders. But here's how you can help out safely.
If you're concerned that your clothing items may be contaminated with COVID-19, Georgine Nanos, MD, of Kind Health Group, says you should wash your items to be sure. "As of now, we believe that the COVID-19 virus cannot survive in temperatures above 80 degrees," Nanos previously told Best Life. She recommends using regular detergent and the hottest temperature setting that's safe for your clothing to rid them of any possible traces of the coronavirus.
Now, after your clothes are clean, where can you bring them? Unfortunately, popular donation center Goodwill has closed more than 97 percent of its locations. But the 3 percent that remain open are "processing donations in a safe manner," their website explains. This includes "retrieving donations from the trunk of donor's vehicles or offering contactless donation drop-offs to minimize direct contact, handling donations with gloves and personal protective equipment, using a variety of sanitizing supplies, and setting aside donations in containers for several days."
At the moment, Salvation Army is asking people to not bring in clothing donations as they are "focusing most of [their] efforts on providing the most immediate needs, like food and shelter." However, you can still donate items like non-perishable food, baby supplies, hygiene products, cleaning and sanitizing items, and paper products to your local Salvation Army.
If there are no donation centers open near you or you don't feel safe donating right now, many donation centers are asking households to consider holding onto their clothes until current infection rates slow down and stores open back up.
Hold on to them for us! We will definitely accept when we can reopen! Your clothing donations fund our mission of employment for all! And we'll need them! Thank you!
— Goodwill NYNJ (@GoodwillNYNJ) April 3, 2020
You can also consider going online to donate your clothes. Online clothing donation site ThredUp is still accepting donations at this time. On their website, you can order a donation kit, which will be mailed to you. Then, you can simply put your donations in their bag and send it back. At this time, ThredUp is also helping out those affected by COVID-19, pledging to donate $15 to Feeding America for every donation kit collected.
If you'd rather wait for a brick-and-mortar donation center, you can keep your old clothes in bags in storage areas of your home, or, if you don't have space, consider keeping your donation bags in the trunk of your car. After all, as the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving many people in financial straits, there will be a high demand for donations in the upcoming months. And for more ways you can help right now, check out these 7 Small But Effective Ways You Can Help in the Fight Against COVID-19.