Donating your clothes is an excellent way to declutter your wardrobe while also giving back to those in need.
But with so many options out there, it can be challenging to know which one to choose. While Goodwill is a popular choice, there are a lot of cons to it. Plus, there are several other fantastic places to donate your clothes in 2023.
It’s always a good idea to research and find an option that aligns with your values and supports causes that are important to you. By donating your clothes, you are making a positive impact on your community and the environment.
It feels great to know that your gently used items are finding a new home and helping someone else in need. So, if you’re ready to donate your clothes, keep reading for the best options.
What’s Wrong With Donating To Goodwill?
Goodwill is the classic go-to for many when it comes to donating clothes. While they do deserve a tip of the hat for their efforts in creating job opportunities and providing affordable clothing to communities, there are a few reasons why you might want to explore alternative donation destinations in 2023.
Now, don’t get me wrong—Goodwill has done a lot of good (no pun intended) over the years.
However, some critics have raised concerns about the organization’s practices, and I’m here to give you the lowdown. You see, one of the issues with Goodwill is the perception that they’re profiting off of our donated items.
Although they’re a non-profit, their thrift stores operate like any other retail business, selling our pre-loved clothes and using the revenue to fund their job training and employment programs.
While the cause is noble, some people can’t help but feel a twinge of unease about their gently-used Gucci being sold for a profit.
Another concern is the sheer volume of donations Goodwill receives. The organization is often inundated with more clothes than it can reasonably process and sell, leading to a surplus that can ultimately end up in landfills.
In an age where we’re all striving to be eco-conscious, this surplus of textiles contributes to the growing problem of waste. It’s like we’re trying to do good, but our discarded duds are playing a not-so-funny game of hide-and-seek with Mother Earth.
Additionally, some critics have raised eyebrows over the compensation of Goodwill’s top executives, questioning whether their salaries are proportionate to the charitable work the organization does.
While it’s important to attract talented leaders, the question remains: should the head honchos of a non-profit organization be raking in the big bucks? It’s a conversation worth having, and it’s one that might make you reconsider your default donation destination.
Lastly, there’s the issue of transparency. Goodwill is a vast network of independent regional organizations, which can make it difficult to assess their overall impact and effectiveness.
As a discerning donor, you may want to know exactly where your clothes are going and how they’re being used to make a difference. With Goodwill, that information can sometimes be as elusive as the perfect pair of vintage jeans.
So, while Goodwill might have been the top choice in the past, it’s time to broaden our horizons and consider other fantastic alternatives in 2023.
After all, isn’t it more fun to mix things up and share our sartorial treasures with a variety of worthy causes? I’d say it’s time to let our clothes spread their wings and fly to new donation destinations.
Where Not To Donate Clothes
With great fashion comes great responsibility, so let’s ensure our wardrobe hand-me-downs end up in the right places and in the right condition.
First and foremost, while it might seem like a no-brainer, avoid tossing your unwanted clothes into those big, colorful donation bins you find in parking lots or on street corners. They may seem like the quickest and most convenient option, but they can be a bit of a fashion black hole.
You see, these bins are often operated by for-profit organizations that sell your donated items by the pound, with little regard for their final destination or impact.
Plus, clothes left in these bins are more likely to get damaged or soiled, rendering them unfit for resale or reuse. So, let’s give those bins a wide berth and focus on finding more fabulous places to share our sartorial splendor!
Next up on the “where not to donate” list are certain consignment shops and resale boutiques.
While it’s true that these establishments give our clothes a second life, they’re typically more focused on turning a profit than making a difference. If your ultimate goal is to support a great cause with your donations, you might want to think twice before handing over your gently-used garments to these businesses.
What Not To Donate
As much as we’d love to pass along every single item from our closets, there are a few things that even the most charitable organizations can’t use.
For starters, clothes that are stained, torn, or overly worn should be left out of your donation pile.
Remember, the goal is to provide quality clothing to those in need, so it’s essential to donate items that are still in good condition. You wouldn’t want to wear a tattered, hole-ridden shirt, would you?
Additionally, undergarments and socks—especially if they’re used—should be kept out of your donation bag. While it might be tempting to send along that drawer full of mismatched socks, these items are typically considered unsanitary and won’t be accepted by most organizations.
Instead, try repurposing them into cleaning rags or finding a specialized recycling program that can handle these textiles.
Lastly, think twice before donating overly trendy or season-specific items. While your neon parachute pants might have been all the rage in the ’80s, they’re unlikely to find a loving home today. Instead, focus on donating classic, versatile pieces that can easily be incorporated into anyone’s wardrobe.
So, now that we’ve covered where not to donate and what to leave behind, let’s get ready to discover some fabulous alternatives to Goodwill for sharing our pre-loved clothing.
Places To Donate Clothes Directly To People
Dress for Success
This organization empowers women by providing them with professional attire to help them thrive in work and life. Your chic blazers and skirts will help women dazzle in job interviews and conquer the corporate world.
The perfect counterpart to Dress for Success, Career Gear helps men dress to impress with professional clothing for job interviews and employment. Donate your dapper suits and ties to support men in their quest for success.
Shoes, glorious shoes! Soles4Souls collects new and gently-worn footwear to distribute to people in need around the world. Give your kicks a new lease on life and help someone put their best foot forward.
One Warm Coat
Keep someone toasty during the colder months by donating your gently-used coats to One Warm Coat. They’ll distribute your cozy donations to individuals and families in need, making the world a little warmer, one coat at a time.
It’s time for the little ones to shine. Baby2Baby accepts donations of new and gently-used children’s clothing to support low-income families. Help kids dress to impress by donating your tiny treasures to this organization.
The Cinderella Project
Make prom dreams come true for high school students by donating your gently-used formal wear to The Cinderella Project. Your beautiful gowns and dashing suits will give teens the chance to dance the night away in style.
Free the Girls
Empower survivors of human trafficking by donating your gently-used bras to Free the Girls. They provide women with the opportunity to earn a living selling secondhand bras, helping them regain their independence and dignity.
Spread warmth to children in need by donating brand new winter coats to Operation Warm. This organization is on a mission to ensure every child has a cozy coat to fend off the cold.
Other Best Places To Donate Clothes Besides Goodwill
Many churches have clothing drives or run their own thrift stores to support community members in need. Reach out to nearby churches to see if they’re accepting donations, and watch your heavenly threads spread some love!
Schools often hold clothing drives to benefit students and their families, as well as to fundraise for extracurricular programs. Donate your age-appropriate attire to help kiddos look and feel their best.
LGBTQ+ centers frequently have clothing closets to provide gender-affirming clothing for community members. Your fabulous donations can help someone feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin.
Newly arrived refugees often need clothing as they begin their lives in a new country. Organizations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Refugee Services of Texas are happy to accept your sartorial contributions.
Shelters are always in need of clothing to help their residents stay warm and comfortable. Reach out to a local homeless shelter and offer up your gently-used garments to make a difference in someone’s life.
Disaster relief organizations
Natural disasters can leave families without basic necessities, including clothing. Organizations like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army accept clothing donations to support those affected by such events.
Help those who’ve served by donating your clothing to organizations like Vietnam Veterans of America or AMVETS, which provide clothing assistance to veterans and their families.
Animal shelters and rescue organizations
You read that right! Some animal shelters and rescue organizations operate thrift stores to raise funds for their furry friends. Donate your clothes to help critters in need, and give yourself a big high paw!
Domestic violence shelters
Women and children fleeing domestic violence often arrive at shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs. Your clothing donations can provide much-needed comfort and support during a difficult time.
Hospitals and rehabilitation centers
Some hospitals and rehab centers have clothing closets for patients in need, especially those who may have limited resources or support. Your donations can help patients feel more at ease during their recovery.
Local theater groups
All the world’s a stage, and your clothes could be the perfect costumes! Reach out to local theater groups or high school drama clubs to see if they can use your wardrobe wonders for their productions.
Children’s homes and foster care organizations
Children in foster care or group homes often need clothing as they grow and transition between placements. Donating to organizations like Together We Rise or Ticket to Dream Foundation can help these children feel more secure and confident.
Pregnancy resource centers
These centers provide resources and support to expectant parents in need. Donating maternity clothes, baby clothing, and even baby gear can make a significant difference for struggling families.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Habitat ReStores sell donated items, including clothing, to raise funds for their home-building projects. Give your clothes a new purpose by supporting affordable housing in your community.
Job training programs
Organizations like The HOPE Program or The Cara Program provide job training and support for individuals facing barriers to employment. Donating professional clothing can help participants feel prepared for interviews and new job opportunities.
Cancer support organizations
Organizations like the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shops sell donated clothing to raise funds for cancer research, education, and patient support services. Your stylish donations can help make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.
Some eco-friendly organizations, like GreenDrop or Planet Aid, collect gently-used clothing and sell them to raise funds for environmental initiatives. By donating your clothes, you can both reduce textile waste and support a greener planet.
Where Can I Donate Clothes For Money
If you’re looking to make a little cash from your gently-used clothes while still supporting a good cause, consignment stores or online resale platforms are your best bets.
Consignment stores like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading, or Plato’s Closet will sell your items and give you a percentage of the profits. For the online savvy, platforms like Poshmark, Depop, or ThredUP allow you to list and sell your clothes directly to interested buyers.
You can then choose to donate a portion of your earnings to a charitable organization of your choice, combining fashion and philanthropy in a fun and profitable way.
Where To Donate Women’s Clothes
For donating women’s clothing specifically, several organizations focus on empowering and supporting women in need.
Dress for Success, as previously mentioned, is a fantastic choice for professional attire. Other options include women’s shelters, such as the Women’s Shelter Program or local YWCA, which provide clothing assistance to women and children escaping domestic violence.
Don’t forget about pregnancy resource centers for maternity wear, and Free the Girls for gently-used bras to help survivors of human trafficking.
Where Can I Donate Clothes That Won’t Be Sold
If you prefer that your donated clothes don’t end up for sale, look for organizations that distribute clothing directly to those in need.
Local homeless shelters, refugee organizations, and disaster relief organizations often accept clothing donations to be given to affected individuals and families. You can also consider school or church clothing drives, which typically distribute the collected items to community members without selling them.
Best Place To Donate Clothes For Homeless
To donate clothes specifically for homeless individuals, reach out to local homeless shelters or organizations focused on serving this population.
These establishments often have clothing closets or distribution programs to provide their residents with the items they need.
The National Coalition for the Homeless can help you locate nearby shelters and organizations, ensuring your donations reach those who need them most. Additionally, consider organizations like One Warm Coat for winter clothing donations or Soles4Souls for footwear, which serve various populations, including homeless individuals.