Where to Donate Clothes When You’re Moving

You never realize how much you actually have to wear until you start packing up your closet to move. And a big part of the reason for this is that most of us have more clothes than we want or need. Sometimes we hold on to clothes that don’t fit or clothes that we simply don’t like to wear. Other times we just accumulate too much (nobody needs three shirts in the same color).

Regardless of why or how you end up with clothes in your closet that you have no intention of ever wearing, moving is a great time to edit down your wardrobe. From there, your task becomes not how you’re going to pack all these unnecessary items, but where to donate clothes and shoes you don’t want so someone else can benefit from them.

Donating clothes is a great way to make a difference, and there are many organizations that make it easy to do so. If you’re wondering where to donate clothes before your move, you’ve come to the right place. Here are eight places that will gladly take those unwanted garments off of your hands and pass them on to somebody who does.

  1. Thrift stores

    Tons of people shop in thrift stores, usually because they can’t afford clothes at traditional stores, they’re just trying to save money, or they’re looking for things that are a little bit different. Some thrift stores, like those run by Goodwill, Salvation Army, and AMVETS, have a charitable angle as well, using their stores to provide employment for people in need and raising funding through the sale of used items. They might also offer a free donation pickup, too!

    Thrift stores top the list of where to donate clothes because they’re super simple to work with. Just bag or box up your unwanted clothing and drop it off. The stores will sort through the items themselves and choose what makes it out onto the floor. Do keep in mind however that clothes that are stained, torn, or otherwise damaged won’t be sellable, so you’ll need to get rid of those items another way. (Clothing store H&M runs a great program where they accept and recycle unwanted textiles from any store or brand. Learn more here.)

  2. Dress for Success

    Dress for Success is a global charity that provides professional attire to women in need. It’s a fantastic place to donate all of your unwanted suits and other business clothes, and will go toward giving impoverished women the garments they need to join the workforce. The organization is divided into local affiliate groups through which you can donate clothing that fits their needs. Check the affiliate list to find a location near you, then contact them to inquire about how and where they accept clothing donations.

    Where to Donate Clothes When You’re Moving

  3. Career Gear

    Career Gear is very similar to Dress for Success, except they help men instead of women. The organization accepts business-appropriate clothing that can be given to men for job interviews — a crucial need when you consider how many people cannot afford to purchase the items they need to look the part for a job. Head to their donation page for a full list of what is accepted, as well as donation requirements (i.e. clothing must be in style and in good condition).

  4. eBay

    If you’ve got the time and the inclination, you can attempt to sell your clothes on eBay. It’s a particularly useful site for higher-end merchandise and collectibles, though to get a good price the clothing will likely either have to be new or good as new. Through eBay for Charity, you can even choose to sell your items for a good cause, with all proceeds going to an organization you choose from their list (Feeding America, the Humane Society of the United States, and United Way Worldwide are just a few of their featured charities).

  5. Consignment shops

    Consignment shops are similar to thrift stores, but they work a little bit differently. Instead of just dropping off clothes for the store’s benefit, you get a little something in return. It’s not a donation per se, but many consignment shops sell clothing at low price points to make their stock more accessible for people with lower incomes.

    There are two types of consignment shops: ones that pay you upfront for the items that they want to take (before reselling them for a slightly higher price) and ones that display your item and give you a portion of the proceeds if and when it sells. Because you’re making a profit, though, expect consignment shops to have higher standards for what they’ll accept than thrift stores. You may bring in a box with 20 items only to have them accept five, or they might not accept any at all. In addition, you’re probably not going to make very much per item — usually just a few dollars, unless it’s very high-end.

  6. Local shelters, community centers, or religious centers

    Many local charities accept clothing donations which they then pass on to people in need. In particular, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and other organizations that work with people going through difficult times in their lives are almost always open to accepting your unwanted clothing that is in good, wearable condition. You can call ahead of time to ensure they are accepting clothing donations at that time, or you can simply go and drop off your items. And if you have unwanted bedding, towels, or other linens in your closet you no longer want, consider dropping those off with your local animal shelter.

  7. Soles4Souls and Clothes4Souls

    Soles4Souls and Clothes4Souls are two sister organizations that accept new and used clothing donations which they then distribute to people who need them. They do everything from stocking clothing closets at schools in impoverished districts so children have something clean to wear every day to building playgrounds out of recycled shoes. The organization has partnered with Zappos for Good to simplify the donation process — learn how to do it here.

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Planet Aid

Figuring out where to donate clothes when you’re moving is as much about the environment as it is about giving back. Unwanted garments that are tossed in garbage pins end up piling up in landfills. Planet Aid, which operates collection bins around the country (find one near you here), sorts through dropped-off items, selling what they can at their resale shops and properly recycling the rest (i.e., no landfill). The money raised through Planet Aid’s resale shops goes towards economic development in struggling countries, with clothing accepted for men, women, and children.

Reasons to donate

Donating your clothes is the most socially responsible and environmentally friendly choice of disposal. As long as someone else can find some value in your donated items, your action could benefit that person — and the planet.

Here are just three reasons why you should donate:

  • You are supporting your local community, helping people in need access affordable clothing. Plus, charities and other organizations that accept donations use some proceeds from selling your clothes toward good causes. If you want your donation to go toward a specific cause, check out Charity Watch, an independent charity watchdog that lists the vetted and best-rated charities by cause.
  • You are preventing waste from reaching the landfill and harming the environment. Many organizations that accept donations would recycle the stuff they can’t sell rather than send it to the landfill.
  • You might be saving on taxes. When you donate to an IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) public charity, you can take an income tax charitable deduction. Save your receipts and IRS rules on charitable contributions.
  • Keep it or toss it?

    Need some help deciding whether an item is worth keeping or should go in your donation pile? Generally, the rule is that if you haven’t worn an item in a year you should get rid of it. You can also go the Marie Kondo route and get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy” for you.

    Some other hints that something would be better off donated than in your moving boxes:

    • If it doesn’t fit
    • If it’s not your style
    • If you’re only holding on to it for sentimental reasons or because it was a gift
    • If you have duplicates of it
    • If you don’t ever have an occasion to wear it
    • If you always skip over it when it comes time to get dressed

    Keep it or toss it?

    Clothing donation tips

    • Wash the clothes you’re planning to donate. If the item is not laundered it might be rejected. All items should be clean, dry, and in good condition when donated.
    • Do NOT donate any underwear, period (this includes bras). Also, don’t donate your old socks. If they’re new with tags still attached, then you can donate them.
    • Keep in mind that in addition to clothes, the stores and organizations mentioned above also accept shoes, jewelry, bags, and other accessories.

    Clothing donation alternatives

    What to do with the clothes you aren’t donating? You have more than a few options, including:

    • Selling them online or at a garage sale or a local consignment store
    • Upcycling them (into tote bags, for example)
    • Composting (if they are made with natural fabrics)
    • Dropping them off at a local animal shelter, to be used for rags
    • Making art with them
    • Giving them to a retailer that has an apparel recycling program
    • Giving them to your kids to play dress-up
    • Hosting a clothing swap party

    Frequently asked questions about donating clothes

    • Is it better to donate or throw away clothes?
      Gently worn clothes are perfect donation candidates. As long as someone else can use it, and it’s clean, don’t toss — donate instead.
    • What clothes shouldn’t be donated?
      Undergarments of any kind; anything dirty, soiled, smelly, stained, has holes in it, or is beyond repair in general.
    • Do I need to wash the clothes I am donating?
      Yes. Clothes should be clean, dry, and in good condition. Otherwise, they might be rejected or disposed of.

    Finished donating your stuff?

    Once you’ve successfully purged the household and donated your items, it’s time to start planning your move. To find the best moving company to handle your upcoming move, check Moversnearyou.info’s extensive network of reputable and reliable movers. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Best of luck and happy moving!

    Where to Donate Clothes When You’re Moving
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