Before donating those outdated or out-of-season articles of clothing you tossed out during the annual spring cleaning of your closets, please note charities accepting them are not created equal.

Charities usually are looking for items in “good condition,” therefore, they might not accept some second-hand items. Drop-off bins have become a popular means to donate used clothing. Before using one of these boxes, check the name of the charity that appears on the box. Go to or to verify the organization listed meets the 20 Better Business Bureau Standards for Charity Accountability.

Not all charities directly distribute clothing to those in need. Some end up in a charity thrift store to generate revenue for the organization. Others might sell items to a third party to be converted into rag bond paper. Always visit the charity’s website to find out how the donated clothing will be used.

If you are planning to make a tax-deductible donation, remember it is your responsibility to assign values to the items. Visit a thrift store to see how similar items are priced to ensure you are doing so appropriately.

For any non-cash contributions totaling more than $500, you will need to complete and attach IRS Form 8283 to your next tax return.

For more deductibility information, consult an accountant or search IRS Publication 526: Charitable Contributions.

For more consumer tips, go to or call 1-800-388-2222.

Brian Ridings, a complaints administrator for the Better Business Bureau’s regional office, can be reached at