alternative places to donate your used clothing (other than thrift shops)

androgynous guide

I’ve talked about the importance of thrift shops in last week’s Androgynous Guide. Great organizations, such as Goodwill, will support community causes and invest their proceeds back into the lives of helping needy people.

But did you know, there’s a limit to how much thrift stores can resell in their own stores? Thrift stores often sell excess back to third world countries and use those proceeds to help with their own community causes. I’m not in any way suggesting turning your back on your local thrift stores, but to consider helping other charities as well. A bit of research can open a lot of doors to who else is in need of your preloved clothing.

  1. Homeless Shelters
    Running away from an abusive household or being an LGBTQ youth rejected by a neglectful family is not easy. There’s only so much you can do for yourself without a helping hand. A warm place to sleep and a clean change of clothes can make a huge difference.
    You can research homeless shelters in your area to find out what is in demand. Also, not all shelters accept used clothing and have specific guidelines. Others may not accept clothing at all, so it’s important to find out what their needs are before you drop by.

2. Women’s Shelters
When women are fleeing from domestic abuse, they are often escaping life or death situations with just the clothes on their back. This is especially true for women fleeing with their children.
It’s important to do a little research before donating to a women’s shelters, but you can make a big difference. Some shelters may accept all donations (including clothing, furniture, toiletries, etc), while others may accept everything but clothing (due to an overwhelming amount of donations, without room for storing additional clothing).
Also, for safety reasons many women’s shelters only accept donations during designated hours or arranged times. Please respect this, as you don’t want to be perceived as a security threat.

3. LGBTQ Organizations
There are great queer organizations in your area doing amazing things to help your local LGBTQ community. They can support to queer at-risk youth, provide community clubs for older LGBTQ members, or even provide training for queer-inclusive organizations.
Many queer organizations are a support system for trans people. These organizations may accept clothing donation, in order to assist with their transition. For trans people, it can be vital to their emotional and mentally health to dress in what is comfortable to their identity. But it isn’t easy. Shopping for clothing to transition in can be a scary experience if sales staff are abrasive or invasive. Clothing drives or clothing swaps organized by LGBTQ communities are a great alternative to thrift stores and should be supported.

4. Textile Recycling Plants
The problem with throwing away damaged clothing in your garbage is they end up decomposing very slowly for a long time, releasing harmful chemicals back into the environment.
Why not go straight to the source to properly dispose your ratty old t-shirts? Depending on your area, you might be lucky enough to live near a textile recycling plant that will safely convert your donation into rags, industrial stuffing, or other industrial uses.

5. Schools/Community Programs with Sewing Classes
Once again, this might be hard for some people to imagine their clothing being cut up, but your donation can make a great difference. You can help students from your local high schools or people in your community learn sewing, a useful lifetime skill. If you’re in fashion, you know how expensive trips to the fabric store can be. But if you’re just starting out, it’s easier to practice on secondhand materials and you’ll develop the skills to breathe new life to old clothing.

6. Sewing or Quilting Clubs
This might be a hard one for some fashion lovers to consider, but this is a great alternative to thrift shops! If you can get over the idea of your garments being cut up, you can help your local sewing or quilting club give a new life to your preloved garbs. Hobby clubs can be a great past time for senior citizens, but many clubs give back to their community by quilting blankets for someone in need.

Divide up what you have and donate to multiple charities at once. Maybe your dress shirts/pants can help women attend job interviews, perhaps you have some tops in crazy patterns that a local quilting group would enjoy using.
There’s no rule that says you have to pick just one charity! You can always team up with friends who are also closet cleaning, combining your clothing for multiple charities can make the drop-off all the more better.

Links à la Mode #7, November 12

SPONSOR: Shopbop Carven, BB Dakota Jackets, Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers, KC Designs, The Third Piece, xSEL,
cupcakes and cashmere Dresses, Slip On Sneakers, Black Backpacks, Men’s Parkas

This post is not in any way sponsored or affiliated with the brands mention. If I am affiliated with the brands in the future, it would be clearly stated on my blog for your discretion.


6 thoughts on “alternative places to donate your used clothing (other than thrift shops)

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