It’s that time of year again — the leaves are reddening, the pumpkin spice lattes have made their seasonal arrival and the nights have started to bring a chilly breeze. Finally, we can substitute our shorts for our jeans and our tank tops for our sweaters. While swapping that wardrobe, what a great time to hang out in your closet a little longer and gather up unwanted, gently worn items for charity.
As the seasons change, so should the items we donate. Suddenly the portable fans and ice coolers we’ve been graciously giving all summer long aren’t going to cut it. And while donating hygiene products and water bottles is an every-season must, autumn weather requires additional donation items of a different kind.
So to make sure the goods you part with are geared towards the cooler weather, be sure to add these seven essential items to your donation checklist this autumn.
1. Undergarments and Socks
Believe it or not, according to the Salvation Army, undergarments and socks are among the most needed donation items. Not surprisingly, they are among the least donated. This is likely due to the fact that these essentials can’t be given away used. Although reaching for that gently used T-shirt and the old shoes collecting dust in the back of your closet is always accepted, give away thick socks that will withstand brisk nights and large packs of new undergarments.
2. New and Used Blankets
If you’re anything like me, chances are you have about a dozen blankets lying around the house. Although it’s not the dead of winter just yet, blankets are a lifesaver in the fall for those living without proper access to heat. Especially for those days and nights when the temps dip lower than expected. Chances are you aren’t using all of those covers, so cough up those blankets! Those made of wool and fleece is preferred as they retain the most heat, but then again, all are welcome.
3. Halloween Costumes
Remember the blond wig you strutted in a few Halloweens back when imitating the great Britney Spears? Or that eyepatch you matched with your pirate costume two years ago? Errr. Well, save the memories, but how about parting with those beloved accessories? Give them to donation centers or families who can’t afford costumes for the upcoming holiday. No doubt, they still have a bit of spook between the stitches for the next owner.
4. Autumn Jackets
Light, medium, even heavy jackets are a popular item to donate, and certainly much needed this time of year. Filling the charitable organization's’ coffers with coats of all sizes and weights, windproof and waterproof, will keep a lot of people warm inside and out.
5. Lightly Used Books
One of my favorite things to do when the air turns crisp and chilly is to curl up on the couch with a good book. Unfortunately, there are many people who can’t afford reading material for their little ones, let alone themselves. Gently used novels and children’s books are always appreciated at underfunded schools, libraries and charitable organizations. If you want to go the extra mile, send your paperbacks overseas to deployed U.S. troops or underprivileged nations.
6. School Supplies
Now you’re probably thinking, “Why give school supplies? Weren’t there plenty of back-to-school drives in the summer?” Well, the answer to that question is yes, of course, since donation bins were everywhere — at our jobs, the local grocery store and every other corner. As the school year goes on, those previously new supplies students received in the summer are likely running out and wearing thin. So, here’s you chance to help out if you didn’t get a chance before; notebooks, pencils, markers, you know the drill.
7. Your Time
While donating useful items can benefit those in need in a multitude of ways, there’s nothing quite like donating your time and efforts, as well. It’s fruitful for you, for the charitable organization and especially for those in need. Check local listings for any volunteer opportunities at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, retirement homes or even an autumn carnival.
In essence, donating from these seven categories is sure to make someone’s fall that much more heartwarming and special. Be sure to add these items to your donation checklist before the season starts!