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The Best Charities, Places, and Non-Profit Clothing Organizations: Where to Donate Used Clothes to

5 minute read, by Closet America, on Aug 10, 2022

When you’re de-cluttering your closet, you’ll likely come across some clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore. Or maybe it’s an article of clothing that simply doesn’t align with your current personal style, or they’re items that you forgot you even owned. Keeping clothing you don’t have a need for can contribute to making your spaces feel cluttered as it takes up valuable storage space. So, what should you do with them? You can try to repurpose them, hold a yard sale, or try and sell them online. However, donating these items can take the least amount of time and effort on your part. If you choose this route, you can use that extra time to de-clutter or organize your space. Additionally, donating clothing you no longer need has been shown to have a big and positive impact on the world.

Here, we’ll be going over the importance of donating clothing, where to donate them to, who the best charities are, and explaining why they’re the best.

Why Donate Clothing?

We all have things that we’ve outgrown or just don’t see ourselves wearing anymore. Donating clothing you don’t need is an easy way to improve the life of someone who may be less fortunate than you. There are many people who rely on second-hand clothing stores, thrift stores, and donations to get clothing for themselves and their families. Even something as seemingly insignificant as an older dress shirt that you’ve outgrown or a pair of shoes that you haven’t worn in a while could mean a lot to someone else in need. Clothing donations truly help so many. You may be curious to find out exactly who your donations will be going to. Some charities focus exclusively on helping specific, disadvantaged groups. Some examples of this are people experiencing homelessness, military veterans and their families, or even victims of a natural disaster. Choosing these groups will help ensure you’re donating clothing to a cause that you’re passionate about.

Additionally, donating your unwanted clothing helps prevent it from ending up in a landfill along with the 17 million pounds of textile waste America produces every year. It takes upwards of 200 years for textiles to decompose, and during this time, they generate methane gasses into the atmosphere that trap heat, contributing to global warming. Furthermore, chemicals and dyes used to make these articles can leach into the ground, contaminating water and soil. Donating clothing helps the environment in so many ways and knowing that you’re helping look after the planet just feels good.

If you have kids, showing them where to donate clothing to gives you the opportunity to teach them the value of generosity and instill in them practices that will help protect the world we live in.

Where to Donate Clothing

If you want to ensure that your donation reaches people in need and doesn’t end up in a landfill, then researching where to donate clothing is very important. It may surprise you to learn this, but only 10-15% of donated clothing actually makes it to the second-hand market (source and source). In fact, some of the places you may have thought were the best charities to donate to, like Goodwill or Salvation Army, actually end up packing up donations they receive and sending them elsewhere. This includes overseas landfills because they usually receive more donations than they can handle. However, some of these donations are sold to textile recycling companies that can use them to make new garments. This is a much better alternative to having your donated clothes end up in a landfill. Currently, it’s almost impossible to tell where your clothes end up when donating to these common places. Hopefully, as donating clothing grows in popularity and more people recognize the negative impacts of tossing out their used garments, there will be a change to include more transparency in the process.

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what the best charities are to donate clothes to. We’ve narrowed the list down to nine.

  • 1: Green Drop

What makes Green Drop one of the best companies for donating clothing to is that they can come to your location for pick up. They also have more traditional drop-off locations across the country. The pick-up option makes donating clothing so much more convenient, and they’ll also give you an IRS tax receipt. Regardless of if you pick up or drop off your clothes, you can rest assured that they will go to a local thrift store and not a landfill.

  • 2: Soles4Soles

If you have shoes that you want to donate, consider giving them to Soles4Souls. They are a nonprofit organization that sends donated shoes to people in need across the world, hence the name. They also accept general clothing items as well. Your donation items can be shipped to one of their drop-off locations, or you can visit one yourself.

  • 3: Dress for Success

Dress for Success accepts women’s work clothes and shoes and distributes them to disadvantaged women who need professional attire and business wear for job interviews. While they are a little more niche than some of these other amazing charities, you can have confidence that your unwanted clothing will be making a big impact on someone’s life.

  • 4: Career Gear

In addition to mentorship and life skills, Career Gear provides business attire to low-income men to help them get good jobs. This makes them a great place to donate men’s business clothing.

  • 5: Goodwill

Goodwill is the first thing that comes to many people’s minds when they think about where to donate clothing. While they have some faults, it’s still a very convenient place for donating clothing. To ensure that your clothes end up in a secondhand store, ask to speak with a manager. This way, you can see if they’re already processing a lot of donations at that time, and they could let you know what other locations in the area might need the donations more.

  • 6: Indigo Rescue

Now that you know a few of the best charities to donate clothes to, you might be wondering, what about jewelry? Indigo Rescue is an animal rescue center that takes unwanted jewelry and uses them in jewelry sales that draw people from across the country. The money raised will be used to fund their mission of saving abandoned animals.

  • 7: Salvation Army

Salvation Army is another common place that comes to mind when people think of where to donate clothing. Like Goodwill, there’s a risk that the Salvation Army may send your donations to a landfill if they already have more donations than they can handle. Thus, it’s also a good idea to check that you’re donating to a Salvation Army location that isn’t overwhelmed with donations at that time.

  • 8: Vietnam Veterans of America

In as little as 24 hours, you can have your clothing donations picked up by Vietnam Veterans of America and have them off your hands. Simply schedule a pick-up time, leave the donations in bags and boxes outside your house on that day, and a driver will come by to pick them up. Your donations are sold off, with the money used to fund VVA’s local, state, and national programs. Saying they make donating clothing easy would be an understatement.

  • 9: Big Brother Big Sister Foundation

The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, or BBS, helps at-risk children and will donate clothing items in high demand, like coats, directly to underserved communities. Other clothing items are sold to thrift stores, online consignment shops, auction houses, flea markets, and other places. Plus, the money is used to fund BBS mentoring agencies helping at-risk youth.

Even after donating the excess clothing, we’re sure you still have plenty of clothes and accessories that you might need some help organizing. Or, maybe getting rid of the clothes you don’t wear often didn’t help you get organized as much as you thought it would. A custom closet solution from Closet America could be just what you need to get and stay organized. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!

Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

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