Where to Donate Clothing When Cleaning Out Your Closet

As a professional organizer, I’m obviously a huge advocate for cleaning out your closet and downsizing, but I also think that what you do with these items that you’re getting rid of is very important as well. 
Now days we live in a disposable world, where we constantly replace our things with new ones, and fashion is no exception: the average American throws away around 70 pounds of clothing each year.  Instead, if you’re wondering where to donate clothing or how to find a clothing recycling drop off, I’d like to introduce some alternative options that you may not be familiar with.

Where to Donate Clothing

Clearing things out of the closet that you no longer want or need is an excellent time to be able to give back to your community.  If you’re looking for where to donate clothing besides the typical thrift stores, there are a variety of different options to choose from depending on where you live.  Here are several unique organizations across the US with inspiring missions to make a difference in the world.

Dress For Success

Dress For Success is a nonprofit organization that gives suits and professional clothing attire to women who are preparing for job interviews, as well as providing guidance and support for the upcoming interview.  For them, it’s about more than just clothes: their goal is to offer long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty.  They’re a global organization with 146 offices in 25 countries, and have helped more than 1.2 million women work towards self-sufficiency.

Their Mission: 

“To empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”

What to Donate: 

According to their website, each individual location has specific policies regarding what items they can and cannot accept.  In general, they’re in need of women’s professional clothing, shoes and accessories that are in nearly-new condition and still currently in style.

Career Gear

This organization is basically the male version of Dress For Success: Career Gear provides business clothing, interview coaching, counseling, and follow up job support to men actively seeking employment.  They have programs that focus on helping both youth and veterans, but also assist any male who needs help getting back into the work force.

Their Mission: 

“Helping empower men of all ages, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds without judgement; to find success regardless of the obstacles that have held them back in the past.”

What to Donate: 

New or gently used business-professional attire, including suits, shoes, and business casual clothing that are still in style, clean and without stains.  See their website for specifics.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

The goal of Vietnam Veterans of America’s donation program is to help support the many veterans and their families across America.  The VVA sells the donated items it receives to private companies by annual bid, which generates the majority of the funding to support the local, state, and national programs of the Vietnam Veterans of America.  If you live in one of the areas they serve, you can schedule a pick up on their website and they will come pick up your donations from your doorstep.

Their Mission: 

“Helping Veterans, communities, and those serving in harm’s way.”

What to Donate: 

The VVA accepts used clothing, shoes, household goods, books, sports equipment, toys, small furnishings, etc (pretty much the same type of items that you would drop off at Goodwill, with the exception of large furniture pieces).  See their website for specifics and to schedule a pick up.

Planet Aid

Planet Aid is a global organization who sends a portion of the donated clothes to domestic thrift stores, while the majority gets sold to overseas customers.  This provides a source of affordable clothing for those in developing countries who don’t have much to spend.  Evidently this is a pretty commonplace practice in the used clothing industry that I personally didn’t know much about.  Organizations sell these goods to developing countries because they have a high demand for used clothing, and not enough of a demand for the surplus in the US.   According to their website, “Planet Aid uses the money from the sale of used clothing to help fund sustainable development projects that help the poorest of the poor.”  This organization utilizes yellow bins for donation drop offs, which can be found mostly on the east coast.  Check their website for locations.

Their Mission: 

“To inform, mobilize, and inspire individuals and communities to work together to bring about worldwide environmental and social progress.”

What to Donate: 

Only clothes and shoes


The Savers family of stores is a for-profit, global thrift retailer, who purchases donated goods from over 100 nonprofit organizations (like Big Brothers Big Sisters), to then sell at their stores.  By purchasing these donated goods, they are able to support nonprofit organizations, create jobs, extend the life of used goods, and reduce what ends up in the landfills.  They also accept donated goods at their store locations on behalf of their nonprofit partners.

Their Mission: 

(See their partner charities individual websites to learn more about each of their missions.)

What to Donate: 

Savers accepts used clothing, shoes, household goods, books, sports equipment, toys, small furnishings, etc. (pretty much the same type of items that you would drop off at Goodwill, with the exception of large furniture pieces). 


GreenDrop is a company on the east coast who partners with the following charity organizations: The American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia.  They collect donated goods on behalf of these organizations, sell the items, and then send the proceeds to these charities.  You can choose which organization your donations go to when you donate.  GreenDrop has drop off locations or the option to schedule a pick up if you live near one of their locations on the east coast.  

Their Mission: 

(See their partner charities individual websites to learn more about each of their missions.)

What to Donate: 

Gently used clothing and household goods

Give Back Box

With Give Back Box, you can conveniently donate your clothing by mailing them out for free with a prepaid shipping label, reusing a shipping box that you already have around the house, like an Amazon box.  You can request a pick up from USPS, or drop the box off at a UPS, FedEx, or USPS location.  The donations are routed directly to the nearest participating local charity organization, or you can choose a specific charity if you are willing to cover the $15 shipping cost.

Their Mission: 

“Dedicated to protecting our environment through the philosophy of reduce, reuse, and recycle by helping people to donate items to charities using the same box.”

What to Donate: 

Gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys and other small items that are not fragile

Your Local Community

Researching nonprofits that are in your local community is another great option, since this article only covers some of the larger scale organizations.  Homeless shelters, women’s shelters, community centers, and local churches are some of the places you can look into when you’re searching for where to donate clothing.  There are also a variety of unique thrift stores that support an array of worthy causes, for example Pets Alive Thrift Stores in Austin, TX, where all net proceeds go towards supporting innovative life saving-programs of Austin Pets Alive, a no kill animal shelter.  Find an organization with a mission that you’re passionate about and you’ll feel even better knowing your donations are going to a great cause.

What About Worn Out Clothing?

So what are you supposed to do with clothing that has seen better days?  Most people don’t donate their old, worn out or stained clothing because they think no one can use it, and so it gets thrown in the trash.  But just like plastic, paper and metal, textiles can and should also be recycled as well, and a clothing recycling drop off makes it easy to do so.  Here’s an interesting article about textile waste, and some great programs that several well known brands are running in order to keep clothing from filling up landfills: The Environmental Crisis Caused by Textile Waste.

clothing recycling drop off

Clothing Recycling Drop Off Locations

Companies like H&M and The North Face actually have a clothing recycling drop off at their stores to help cut down on waste, and even reward their customers for participating in their recycling programs.  Both companies accept any brand and condition of clothing, and in return H&M gives you a coupon for 15% off your next purchase for each bag of old clothes, and The North Face hands out a reward of $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more.  Find out more about their recycling programs on their websites: H&M, The North Face.  By providing easy clothing recycling drop off options, these companies are setting an excellent example in their industry – what a fantastic way to be a part of the solution! 

Note: Many organizations have limited pickups or drop-offs right now because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.  You might want to call before making a trip to your favorite charity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *