Every so often I like to cull my wardrobe. The advantages are manifold: the closet looks tidy, there’s more space for new purchases and somebody else can benefit from it.
When I lived in Buenos Aires, I would put my old clothes and shoes in bags and take them to our local church, where there is a special receptacle for donations. Alternatively, I would simply put them outside the front door and they would be gone in no time. Or even give them to the cleaning lady.
But when I moved to Dallas, I had no clue what to do, where to go, who to give things to. I did a little digging and found a charitable organization called Goodwill. In a nutshell, they receive donations and sell them in their own stores, benefitting people in dire straits by selling products at affordable prices and by providing jobs.
Goodwill has collection points all over the city but they sometimes change their location and it’s not always easy to find them.
The other day I got a flyer in the mail from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They asked for donations (clothes, shoes, books, toys and the like). I had a few things to give away so I called the number on the flyer.
An automated phone menu guided me through the process. A voice asked me to punch the ID assigned on the flyer and to confirm my address. Once I did this, the voice asked me to leave everything outside my front door by 9.30 on the date printed on the piece of paper and to identify the bags clearly.
I left home Thursday morning and by the time I returned, everything was gone. They left a form for me to fill with the monetary value of my donations so I can deduct that from our taxes. The value is so low that in our case it’s not worth the trouble.
This may not come as a surprise to someone who lives in the US but to me, as a foreigner, it is a totally novel way of doing things. Very organized as well, which I like. Before, I would have never dreamed of deducting donation from taxes. It doesn’t feel very charitable. But it’s part of the local culture, so I embrace it.