The beginning of the year is the perfect time to purge, clean and organize. For me, cleaning starts with my closet. It’s time to pack away those bulky sweaters, warm coats and boots and pull out those pastel dresses, shorts and sandals. It’s also the perfect time to go through my wardrobe and donate the clothing I simply don’t wear anymore.
In my role at Coast Capital, I work with our Youth Get It Community Councils. These incredible councils have the unique role of making investment decisions for our Community Investment Grants for Youth.They allocate grants to non-profit organizations whose programs focus on helping build a richer future for youth in our communities. As of January 2019, these three Councils have allocated more than $8.8 million to 811 youth-serving organizations.
This year as I was going through my closet, I kept in mind that some of these non-profit organizations we’ve supported in the past and present have clothing donation programs of their own. I decided to educate myself on the different avenues I could take in giving my clothes a second life. With that in mind, I’m sharing some of the organizations you can donate used clothing and other household items to that benefit youth in your local community.
Where to donate in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver offers a free pick up service – so you can donate your clothing without even leaving your home. They also have donation bins spread out across the Lower Mainland – visit this map to find one close to you. In addition to clothing, they also accept other household items. The proceeds from your donation will benefit Big Brother mentoring programs.
Covenant House Vancouver
Covenant House Vancouver accepts donations of clothing, hygiene supplies and other items that they supply to youth aged 16 to 24 in their continuum of care – all free of charge. Visit their website for a list of needed items.
Where to donate on Vancouver Island.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and Area
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and Area have a list of donation centers for you to drop off your clothing and small household items.. They also offer a free pick up service. Proceeds from your donation go right into the organization’s programming. Visit their donation webpage for additional information.
The Mustard Seed
The Mustard Seed, based in Victoria, also accepts clothing donations and personal and household items. For more information on what items are in need and how to drop donations off, visit their website.
Swap your clothes (for clothes or cash!)
Don’t forget: there are other options for you to consider when cleaning out your closet. I recently got some friends together and hosted a clothing swap. This was a fantastic way for me to add some great ‘new’ finds to my wardrobe without spending any money. Another option would be paying a visit to your local consignment shop to make a little extra cash on some items that may still have tags on them.
You could re-purpose or upcycle clothing that may be too tattered to donate. There are a ton of websites out there with ideas on how to upcycle your clothes. This may seem daunting, but as someone who’s not crafty, even I have found some easy ways to upcycle. For example, I took an old, ripped cotton sweater and tore it up in strips for cleaning my house or my car. It worked like a charm!
For the future.
Now as I look ahead to next year’s cleaning, I’m already thinking of ways that I can up my wardrobe game without spending a ton of cash and reducing my overall waste by being a more conscious shopper.
It’s as easy as visiting some thrift stores to find that little black dress I’ve been searching for instead of heading to the mall. Many thrift stores donate a portion of their earnings to some amazing causes – something to keep in mind while you shop. I have a friend who shops exclusively at thrift stores and always looks great, so don’t shy away from used clothing.
There you have it – you’re now ready to clean, organize and purge that closet. Happy cleaning!
|Kassandra Mihaly, Coordinator, Community Programs
Kassandra holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University. She lives in Maple Ridge with her chubby little rescue dog, enjoys exploring the great outdoors and loves getting lost in a good book.
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