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Gift some style: Tips for donating your clothing

Erica Mayyasi is a Red Sox fan in Manhattan. After stints at various magazines she now works full-time in public relations, though she continues to write for a number of sites including her blog etsymay.blogspot.com.

Sort your closet for charity

If you have decided to clean out your closet or dresser, you've probably unearthed a lot of clothing that you are never going to wear again. However, just because something is no longer in your personal size or style doesn't mean that someone else won't love it! Here are some charities that will take your clothing donations and make sure they get to someone who really needs them.

Donate old clothes

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For all of your professional attire, Dress for Success (dressforsuccess.org) is an obvious choice. The well-established charity provides low-income women with appropriate donated clothing to help them ace job interviews, thereby improving their lives. Also check out The Women's Alliance (thewomensalliance.org) for a similar female-centric nonprofit.

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Shoes typically take quite a beating, but if you have some that are still in good shape that you no longer want, consider donating them to Soles4Souls (soles4souls.org) at one of their three warehouse facilities located across the country. The nonprofit has distributed shoes in over 40 countries and organized efforts to assist victims of the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Another shoe-collection agency that should be on your radar: the aptly-titled Donate Your Old Shoes (donateyouroldshoes.org).


* Prom is a magical night for every teenage girl -- however not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford a dress for it. If you have a prom dress (or prom-like dress), The Cinderella Project (cinderellaproject.net), The Glass Slipper Project (glassslipperproject.org) and Operation Fairy Dust (operationfairydust.org) will all give those goodies to girls who will treasure such a generous clothing donation.

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The Goodwill Industries (goodwill.org) operates by reselling donations in their many thrift stores and then uses the money generated to fund employment training and job placement programs. With over 2,000 stores, it's more than likely that there's one near you that will gladly accept your clothing donation.

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Homeless shelters are almost always in need of clothing donations and are a great way to make a real difference on a very local level. Don't know of one in your area? Try searching the National Housing Database for the Homeless and Low-Income (shelterlistings.org).

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And if you have clothing to spare but none of these charities strike your fancy, be sure to check out Donations Central (donationscentral.org), a database of charities accepting clothing donations that is searchable by location and type of clothing.

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