Do’s and don’ts for spring cleaning and donating: Beth Milstein

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Beth Milstein and Kelly Markowitz with a dress dummy

Designer Dress Days 2021 co-chairs Beth Milstein, left, and Kelly Markowitz of the National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland are getting ready for this year’s sale — and they need your donations. So start sorting through those closets! (Photo Courtesy of Mariana Edelman Photography)

Guest columnist Beth Milstein is vice president of retail at the National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland (NCJW/CLE).

It’s that time of year again. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining — and the air is starting to smell like disinfectant cleaner.

Spring, traditionally, is when we embark on all the cleaning we’ve been meaning to do, including sorting through our closets and cleaning out our drawers.

One quandary that often stops people from sorting through and donating their clothes is that they don’t know what they should keep, what they should donate or where it should go.

The choices sometimes seem paralyzing. So instead of donating a pair of black pants, they just shove them to the back of their closet. When that happens, no one benefits!

As the vice president of retail at the National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland (NCJW/CLE), I know how important donations are to the community.

NCJW/CLE annually hosts one of the most talked about designer sales in Cleveland: Designer Dress Days. (Psst: Save the date for Nov. 4, 5 and 6, 2022). The sale is a 50-plus-year landmark community event featuring designer finds — from clothing and handbags to jewelry and furs — at a fraction of their original prices.

NCJW/CLE is also home to Thriftique Showroom, one of the largest upscale resale shops in Cleveland.

All of our retail sales proceeds go back into the work we do — to help improve the lives of women, children and families in Cleveland.

As someone who spends her days sorting through donated clothing and helping customers find clothes to wear to a job, I know just how meaningful someone might find that pair of black pants.

Here are my top do’s and don’ts for donating:

Do donate if you haven’t worn an item in more than 12 months — it’s likely you won’t wear it this year either.

Don’t be afraid to donate high-end items like a suit or formal dress. Many places set those items aside for special programs and fundraisers that help people in need look ready for that next job interview or for events like prom.

Do look over your clothes carefully before donating. No one feels good wearing a ripped or dirty shirt.

Don’t donate things you wouldn’t want used, like underwear! Donations such as socks and undergarments are better received when they are brand-new, in their original packaging.

Do check where your donations are going. Donating always feels better when you know that your clothes are going to a good cause.

NCJW/Cleveland, which works to improve the lives of women, children and families in the community, accepts donations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can drop off items at 26055 Emery Road.

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