How to get rid of old clothes: 18 easy and sustainable ways

by Anousheh

Are you in the middle of decluttering your house and your closet, and now you are asking yourself: But wait… How do I even get rid of all my old clothes?

You no longer want them, but you also want to make sure they find their way to a better home? No worries, I got you covered!

In this post I will show you 18 easy and sustainable ways how to get rid of old clothes!

How to get rid of old clothes

In a nutshell, you have 3 main options to get rid of old clothes:

  1. Sell them.
  2. Recycle or re-use them.
  3. Donate them

I will get more in-depth for each one.

Sell whatever can be sold

The best way to get rid of old clothes is selling them. Obviously, you have once paid money for them, so getting some money back is perfect. They will still go to a home where they hopefully will get more use.

Also, knowing that you can sell clothes that are still in great condition makes it easier for you to declutter them. I know a lot of people have thoughts like “This item is just way too good to get rid of!”, even though they never wear it. And while it might be true that the item is too good to throw away, it’s never too good to sell.

On the contrary, those items are the easiest to sell. So when you’re getting rid of your old clothes, make a pile with all the clothes that are in great condition, so you can sell those.

Selling decluttered items is also the main way to get rid of things in my 30-day decluttering challenge.

Where can I sell old and used clothes?

Thrift Store

The easiest and most obvious way to get rid of old clothes would be a second-hand or thrift store near you. Some will buy them from you for a fixed price right away, and some might give you the money once the items are sold. This is a great and quick way if you have a lot of clothes you want to sell.

Selling online

Selling online is also a good option to get rid of old clothes, especially for brand items or clothes that are in trend right now. You could sell them on eBay or Poshmark. This option will take more time because you have to take pictures of everything and also ship the items. However, it will also make you the most money. So if you don’t have that many items, or you need the money, selling online would be your way to go.

Yard or garage sale

clothes on a rack

If you also want to sell things other than clothes, a yard sale or garage sale could be a good way to do that. Promote it with posters and tell your neighbors, so that people will actually show up. This is pretty convenient because you don’t have to take your stuff anywhere else. However, people expect very low prices on garage sales, so you probably won’t get the best bang for your buck.

Give them away to friends and family

Your number 1 goal when getting rid of the clothes you don’t wear anymore should be to find them a new home where they will regularly be used.

So for anything that still looks good and is in great condition, why not give them to someone else? For some clothing items, you might even still remember someone who complimented you for that item once. Why not ask them if they would want it?

I know I have done this many times. It made me extremely happy seeing another person wearing clothes that just didn’t suit my style but look great on them.

You could also throw a little swap party with some friends. Make everyone bring a few clothes they don’t like that much anymore. This will give everyone a better chance to find someone who likes their items. And it can also be a really fun way to spice up your wardrobe without getting anything new.

person going through a pile of clothes

Post your clothes on Facebook

You can find a lot of “Buy nothing” groups on Facebook, specifically for your area. Check out this list to find one near you. You can post your items there for someone else to pick-up. This isn’t only great to get rid of old clothes, but also other items you have decluttered.

Your clothes don’t have to be in the best condition for this. A lot of the time, there are people who upcycle old clothes or artists in those groups who will repurpose old textiles.

In some cities, it is also common to leave things on the sidewalk for other people to go through. This can be another way to give your clothes to people who might use it more than you did. Make sure your city allows it before you do this, though.

What is the best place to donate clothes?

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is one of the oldest humanitarian organizations in the country. They have a collaboration with GreenDrop, which makes donating to them super easy. You can either drop off your clothes at a nearby drop-off station or schedule a pick-up at home. GreenDrop will sell your old clothes at local thrift shops and donate the funds to the American Red Cross. You will get a tax receipt with your donation as well.

Schedule a Pick-Up

One incredibly easy way is to use Schedule a Pick-Up, which is a program by the Vietnam Veterans of America. You can simply schedule a pick-up and leave your clothes outside your house. They will come and pick it up for you and even leave you a tax-deductible receipt. Donating really can’t be that much easier. You can also donate household goods if you have anything else you want to get rid of.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success is specialized in empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools. If you have professional attire and work clothes you want to donate, Dress for Success is a great option. You can check here for a drop-off station near you.

Homeless or women’s shelters

Donating to local organizations is usually safer because they will know exactly what they need and what they don’t. Of course, this means that you can’t just dump 10 boxes of clothes and have them out of your way. However, by contacting local homeless or women’s shelters and asking them what they need, you can make sure that your old clothes will actually find a good new home with someone in need.

Other ideas for local organizations that might need clothing could be:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Local churches or places of worship
  • Schools
  • Community Outreach Centers
  • Vet organizations
  • Prisons
  • Domestic violence centers

Goodwill

Goodwill is also a great place to get rid of old clothes. You can find your local goodwill with this locator. Goodwill sells the stuff you donate online or in their stores. The revenue goes towards employment training and job placement services for people in your local community.

Local animal shelter

For old linens, towels, or anything that’s in no shape to sell or give away, you can consider donating to your local animal shelter. Just call the closest animal shelter to you and tell them what you would like to donate. Usually, they will gladly accept old blankets, towels, and bedsheets.

What happens to the clothes you donate?

flat lay of a sweater, jeans, and glasses

It depends on where you donate. I recommend always researching this before you blindly donate your clothes to any random place.

Unfortunately, it is still very common that a lot of clothes that go towards donation are simply thrown away. Especially when you just throw your clothes in a donation bin.

Only around 10-30% of the clothes that are donated will actually be resold and put to good use. The rest will either be shipped to a landfill or sold to third-world countries, which is damaging their economy. That’s why I only recommend donating if you don’t have a better option.

If you are donating, and want to avoid all of your clothes being thrown away, you can go to a drop-off location and actually make them go through the things you want to donate. The organizations usually know which items they can use or sell and which ones will be sent straight to a landfill.

However, for the items you donate that are actually useful, most organizations will sell them in their local stores and use the revenue for a good cause.

Should you wash your clothes before donating?

Absolutely! You are trying to help with your donation. So make sure the clothes you are donating are in good condition, so they can be directly passed on. This saves the volunteers a lot of time and resources. However, some places will wash everything they receive anyway. So just call and ask what they prefer.

And while you’re at it, check every piece of clothing item for rips, stains, and tears. If you are donating clothes that can’t really be worn anymore, they will go straight in the trash. And not only did you waste the time of a volunteer who is helping to do good, but your clothes will probably also go to some landfill.

What clothes can not be donated?

clothes hung up on a rack

Anything that you wouldn’t wear anymore because it is broken, stained, or teared up should not be donated. Once again, we want to pass on clothes that will help somebody out, not just dump them anywhere for a clean conscience. Only donate things that you would also give to a friend.

Also, underwear and socks will usually not be accepted anywhere for hygeniec reasons. Shoes should always be donated in pairs.

What to do with old clothes that can’t be donated?

Now, what to do with all of those clothes you shouldn’t donate?

As for old and stained linens, towels and so on, your local animal shelter is a great place. They don’t need to be in good condition for that.

When you want to get rid of old clothes, you could also try and figure out ways to upcycle some of your old clothes. Ripped or stained shirts are great cleaning rags.

If some clothes are only missing a button or are easily repaired, do that! Get them fixed and use them again.

For everything else that is trash and can’t be used otherwise, you should recycle your clothes. Helpsy is the largest textile collection company in the Northeast US. 95% of what they collect is reused, upcycled, or recycled. You can schedule a pick-up or find a bin.

Did you know that some fabrics can even be composted? This is true for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and wool, as long as the material isn’t mixed with something else. 1MillionWomen show you how in this article.

Let’s recap!

three pairs of jeans lying next to each other

In general, if you want to find out how to get rid of old clothes, consider selling your clothes or giving them away to friends or online before you consider donating.

If you really want to donate, I would always prefer local organizations over national ones. Make sure you call first and ask specifically for what they need.

For everything that can’t be donated or sold, please never just throw your old clothes in the bin! Make sure they are recycled properly.

What is your favorite way to get rid of old clothes? Share with everyone in the comments below!

Do you want to save this post on how to get rid of old clothes for your next decluttering sessions? Pin it to your Decluttering Board for later!

18 easy ways to get rid of old clothes

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