Nothing makes decluttering easier than knowing your clothes are going to a worthy cause — or at the very least, not going to the dump. Consider this: Around 11 million tons of textile waste ends up in landfills each year. And your old jeans and tees don't have a short stay there either. Depending on the material, it could take them anywhere from several weeks to several decades to break down, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, in the process. Fortunately, there are simple ways you can donate your clothes to save the planet, and at the same time, help those in need.
Ahead, we've compiled a list of places to donate clothes. While some of these organizations collect clothes to give directly to people in need, others give back in different ways, such as reselling the clothes to raise funds for important causes or sending unsold donations to eco-friendly textile recycling centers. If you're looking to support your local community, you might also consider donating your clothes to your neighborhood church, school or homeless shelter. And for more ways to give your gently used items, here are all the places to donate toys.
One of the oldest and most well-respected humanitarian organizations in the country, the American Red Cross provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and disaster preparedness education for millions of people around the world. The non-profit currently has a partnership with GreenDrop, an organization that will take donated clothes and re-sell them to thrift stores to benefit the American Red Cross.
Accepted donations: GreenDrop accepts all gently used clothes that are in decent and usable condition.
If your closet is overflowing with professional clothing, consider donating some pieces to Dress for Success, a non-profit that empowers low-income women by providing them with work-appropriate attire as they seek and maintain employment. Since its founding in 1997, the organization has expanded to nearly 150 cities in 25 countries and has helped more than 1.2 million women secure jobs and develop their careers.
Accepted donations: Dress for Success accepts nearly new, ready-to-wear women's clothing that is work-appropriate and business casual. All donations must be laundered or dry-cleaned and in good condition. You can find more detailed donation guidelines here.
How to donate: Donations can be dropped off at your nearest affiliate location. Each location has its own hours of operation and specific drop-off days and times, so be sure to call ahead before making a donation.
Don't throw away your old bras! By donating them to Free the Girls, you can help bring economic opportunity to survivors of sex trafficking in places like Uganda, El Salvador and Mozambique. The organization gives all donated bras to women who have escaped human trafficking; the women then have the opportunity to sell the bras in second-hand markets in their communities and earn an income that can support themselves and their families.
Accepted donations: Free the Girls accepts new and gently-used bras of all styles that are in good condition. Find more detailed donation guidelines here.
How to donate: Fill out the donation form on the Free the Girls' website, then drop off donations at a nearby drop-off location. You can only donate up to five bras at a time. If you have more than five bras to donate (or you can't find any drop-off locations near you), you can ship the bras directly to the organization in Indiana.
Goodwill is one of the most well-known places to donate used clothes (and tons of other things too!). The non-profit is funded by a massive network of retail thrift stores across the country. Revenue from the stores goes directly toward helping individuals find employment and grow their careers by providing them with job training, placement services and other community-based programs. Anything they can't sell, Goodwill will forward to recycling organizations that will help the items avoid the landfill.
Accepted donations: Goodwill accepts all new and gently used clothing, including shoes and accessories. They also take other household items such as books, furniture, appliances and more.
How to donate: Donations can be dropped off at your local Goodwill stores and donation centers, which you can locate here. Some locations also offer pick-up services for large items that are hard to transport.
Want to share the warmth during the cold winter months? Donate your spare jackets to One Warm Coat, a non-profit that provides free coats to people in need. Working towards its mission of raising awareness of the vital need for warm coats across the country, the organization has hosted more than 38,000 coat drives and has provided 6.6 million free coats since 1992.
Accepted donations: One Warm Coat accepts new and gently worn coats (women's, men's or children's) that are clean and wearable (i.e., without holes or stains).
How to donate: Donations can be made at an active coat drive near you (typically held in the fall and winter months) or at one of the organization's non-profit partners in your area, which you can locate here. Be sure to contact your location directly to confirm drop-off hours.
6. Planet Aid
Many charities only accept clothing that's in good and wearable condition — but Planet Aid is different. The organization makes it easy to donate and recycle all of your unwanted clothes, with the mission of saving all textiles from the landfill to help protect the environment. Specifically, the non-profit collects donated clothing to be sold and reused in developing countries. All of the proceeds go toward development projects to fight poverty in these areas.
Accepted donations: Planet Aid accepts all clothing (including items with holes, stains or tears). The only articles of clothing that are not accepted are those that are dirty, wet or moldy. Shoes and other textiles, such as bedding, towels and curtains, are also accepted.
How to donate: Put all of your unwanted clothes in a bag, then drop it off at one of Planet Aid's 19,000 yellow drop-off bins across the country.
The Salvation Army is an international charity organization that provides assistance to nearly 23 million Americans each year, with services that include everything from operating homeless shelters and conducting disaster relief to providing support for veterans, the elderly and the LGBTQ+ community. Clothing donations go toward stocking the charity's network of thrift stores, with all proceeds helping fund The Salvation Army's adult rehabilitation centers.
Accepted donations: The Salvation Army accepts all kinds of clothing donations, including men’s, women’s and children’s clothes and accessories. They also accept other goods such as furniture, appliances and other household items.
Looking for the best place to donate your shoes? Soles4Souls is all about "turning shoes and clothing into opportunity." It works toward this mission by collecting unwanted footwear and clothing to distribute to people in need across the country and the world. The organization also works to fight poverty by helping people start businesses selling the donated shoes and clothing they receive.
Accepted donations: Soles4Souls accepts all styles and sizes of new or gently-worn shoes and clothing.
How to donate: Donations can be made at a drop-off location near you. Due to COVID-19, make sure to contact the location before dropping off. You can also ship your donations for free with Zappos for Good, which provides a prepaid shipping label for you to mail the package with UPS. Be sure to include this donor form in every bag or box of shoes or clothes you donate.
The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is an organization dedicated to promoting and serving the needs of Vietnam War veterans through legislative initiatives, education and outreach programs. The non-profit collects donations of clothing and household items, which they either give directly to homeless and low-income veterans or re-sell in their resale stores to generate funds for their various programs and initiatives.
Accepted donations: The VVA accepts clothing of all types and sizes, including accessories and shoes. They also accept furniture, appliances and other household items.
How to donate: Find a drop-off location or schedule a pick-up, using the interactive map here. The VVA also runs a program called Pick Up Please, which picks up your donations within as little as 24 hours. You can schedule a pick-up through Pick Up Please here.
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