What To Do With Used Maternity Clothing

When you come across used maternity clothes while cleaning out closets, here are some things you can do to dispose of them.

Maternity clothes come in a variety of attractive styles, but their use is limited. Except for five or six months during pregnancy and perhaps a month or two afterward, they seldom get worn. Instead, they find their way to the bottom of a trunk or get stuffed into a plastic garbage bag for future consideration.

When you've decided not to have more children, you will probably want to get rid of your maternity clothes. Instead of throwing them into the trash, here are some things you can do:

1. Donate them to a pregnancy services center. Many communities sponsor crisis pregnancy centers that provide goods and services to pregnancy women in need. If your maternity clothes are in good condition, call one or more such centers and offer your items for their use. You might have to drive them to the center or a drop-off point, but you could get a tax deduction, too. There are sure to be pregnant women who are unable to afford maternity clothing and will appreciate your thoughtful donation.

2. Give them to a church or charity. Many church or charitable organizations collect food and clothing for persons in need. Pregnancy can add to a family's funding concerns. Find out if a church or social service agency near you collects maternity clothing or is willing to start doing so for those who are unable to buy them. Since maternity is a transient state, many pregnant women simply do without properly fitting clothes. Your used items can make a huge difference in how these women look and feel.

3. Offer them to the neighbors. If you live in or near an apartment complex, set your folded used clothing in a box with a taped sign that says "Free--Help yourself" near the laundry room or the mailboxes. People may either have use for the things or know of someone else who does. Those who have set out gently worn clothing of this type often finds it disappears in a day or two. You may even know a specific family that you can offer the items to, especially if the girl is young or the family's financial resources are limited. Make a casual offer along these lines:

"I hate to throw away my good maternity clothes. Do you know of anyone who might get some use out of them?"

4. Remake them into normal-sized clothing items. If you're good with a needle or own a sewing machine, you may be able to adjust seams or remake the clothing style into normal wear. Ask a craft store salesperson or contact a professional seamstress to ask a few questions about how to do this. Some maternity clothes come with removable panels or inserts to allow the items to be worn after pregnancy. If you can't quite adjust the style, save the fabric for quilting pieces or even as cleaning rags rather than throw them away.

5. Save for a daughter or other family member. If the items are good quality or reflect a particular style that you are fond of, save them for a daughter or niece who may want to wear them for nostalgic reasons later. A maternity smock may be preserved for a daughter as a memento for her own "first" clothing if her mother wore the item while pregnant with the daughter. Store the clothing in an airtight plastic bag, and be sure to wash it before letting someone wear the items later.

With a little thought and effort, you can recycle those maternity clothes and put them to good use.

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