How to Get Rid of Clothing (For Money)
There are three options for getting rid of your old clothes:
- Donate them to friends, family, or charity.
- Sell them at a yard sale, online, or on consignment.
- Dispose of them in the garbage.
In this article we’re going to quickly explore each of these options and give you some suggestions and links to enable you to take advantage of whatever is best for you, locally to you or online.
And yes, two of these options come with monetary returns! Donating to charity gives you tax deductions and selling your clothes can be quite lucrative if you have the right stuff.
This article won’t be dedicated to helping you maximize your returns on old clothes–our goal is to help steer you in the direction that you decide is best for you and to hopefully enable you to do some decluttering of your home. Clothes clutter can really build up over time!
If you’re working your way through the 30 Day Declutter Challenge or simply getting start with one of the Best 12 Places to Start Decluttering Your Home, we really want to encourage you to try disposing of some of those old things with one of the options we discuss here! Removing things from your home is the ideal way to declutter.
Before we dive in we want to foreshadow a bit: please don’t dispose of your old clothes in the garbage unless they are badly damaged. If there is any reasonable way for you to donate or sell them you will be helping people out in ways more profound than you realize.
How to Donate Your Clothes
Donating your clothes is a great way to get rid of them because it benefits the environment, benefits other people, and even keeps some benefits for you! We’ll go over some options here, but you should certainly try to think beyond our suggestions. You may have options local to you that most people don’t have, but where you can make an especially big impact.
Donate to Family and Friends
The easiest way to donate your clothes is a “hand-me-down” to family or friends.
There are several benefits to this way of getting rid of your old clothes. The first is that it is easy! Rather than having to go to a donation center or store, you can just hand clothes over to your family and friends the next time you see them.
If you aren’t close to them, shipping for these light sorts of items is very cheap! They’ll fit in any sized box, so you can use the Post Office’s fixed-rate boxes and squish a ton in there.
Donate to Charity
Donating your old clothes to charity has benefits for other people, the environment, and even for you.
There are many different charities to which you can donate your clothes. We’ll list several below, as well as links to the appropriate parts of their websites so that you can check them out.
Before getting to the links, though, we want to point out that there are options beyond Goodwill and the Salvation Army! Local homeless shelters, veterans organizations, religious organizations, and other such establishments are involved in your local communities in ways that the larger organizations can’t always be.
Because these donations, though they may seem small to you, can have a real impact, we encourage you to look into details of where your donation goes to make sure that it lines up with activities that you want to support. If you don’t have time for such research that is completely understandable! You really can’t go too wrong so don’t overthink it. Any donation will provide value.
One final note about donations to charity. There is some benefit that goes directly to you when you donate: you can apply appropriate values to whatever you donate to use as charitable donations on your next tax return, giving a deduction and reducing what you’ll owe. So make sure you get a receipt whenever you give! (And consult with a tax professional for more details, we are not experts in that area!)
Local Homeless Shelters
Every larger city in every state will have at least one shelter, so we can’t possibly list specific shelters here. We also certainly can’t vouch for any particular shelter, so please take at least a quick look into any place to which you want to donate either your goods or your time.
There are several ways to find local shelters, including asking a friend or family member who is in a related line of work, asking a local religious organization, or using one of the directories that we link to below. If you can get information directly from someone you know, we suggest that you take that route.
Here are three sites that you can use to find local shelters:
The Vietnam Veterans of America
The number of families touched by veterans issues in the United States, either directly or indirectly, is enormous. The Vietnam Veterans of America is an organization that “serves the needs of veterans throughout the nation and elsewhere”. We think this is an important inclusion in this list because while donations aren’t really about you or your feelings, there is nothing wrong with focusing your efforts on issues that you feel particularly strongly about. And for many people, veterans are just such an issue.
You can find information about donating, and even schedule a pickup, here:
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army works all over the world in a wide variety of ways. You can find some interesting statistics for their work in each country here, if you’re curious! A substantial portion of their income, which they use for all sorts of charitable work, from helping local people in need, to disaster relief overseas, comes from sales in their stores of donated items.
You can find local donation centers and stores, and lots of information about the charity, at the following links:
Goodwill is another large charitable organization that is well-known for accepting donations and using the resulting income to help local communities in a variety of ways, albeit in a more limited sense than The Salvation Army. Their focus is primarily on providing employment training and opportunities to people who otherwise might not be able to get either. You can find some statistics here.
Here are links to help you find local donation centers and stores:
How to Sell Your Clothes
Selling your clothes confers essentially the same environmental benefits as donating, and can provide you with some extra income (or recouped losses, if you regret those expensive shoes).
We don’t have much to say about the option of a yard sale here, other than that it’s a great way to contribute to a big declutter of your home! You put up a few signs in your neighborhood, collect some clutter from your closets and other parts of your home, set up, and wait!
It used to be that to sell your clothes you’d need a local store that either bought used clothes or sold them on consignment, but that’s no longer true. There are quite a few businesses that enable you to sell them online, and try to make it as easy as possible to handle the payment and shipping.
That said, there still are brick-and-mortar stores in which you can sell your clothes. If you like to support your local economy, this is a way to do so. Below you can find some options for both local and online stores.
Do note that generally speaking these are for-profit businesses, not charities. If you’re looking for charities you should jump back to the section above, but they won’t be paying you for your clothes. The following aren’t complete lists, there are many market places for used clothes these days! What we’ve included are options that seem to be national in scope so that you should have relatively easy access.
Dealing with brick-and-mortar stores has a couple of advantages over online stores, as well as one big disadvantage. The advantages are that stores will sometimes give you cash on the spot for your clothing, which means no waiting to find a buyer, and that you don’t have to deal with shipping your stuff. The disadvantage is that you will almost certainly receive less money for your clothes than selling them online. However, note that an immediate sale may very well be better than no sale at all, depending on how you try to sell online.
Online second-hand clothing stores come in a wide variety of options, and really need a dedicated article to sort them all out. We aren’t going to do so here. As you look through them pay attention to whether it’s the business that buys your clothes, or whether you are responsible for selling and shipping yourself.
We’ve had to answer a couple of questions about the inclusion of eBay, so we want to note to those of you who are surprised to see it here: many people use eBay as their primary destination for clothes shopping, especially after 2020! Who knew?
After some discussion we decided to not include links to in-person-meetup options, such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. They do, of course, exist, but without a business playing middle-man you need to be extra careful.
We hope that you make throwing your old clothes into the garbage a last resort. Due in large part to our treatment of our used clothes as disposable garbage, the fashion industry as a whole is one of Earth’s leading causes of carbon emissions. And throwing old clothes away rather than donating or selling them means that others can’t benefit from your charity, or enjoy things that you no longer do.
That said, it’s mainly good quality, usable garments that are in-demand on the second-hand market. If your old clothes are all-but-destroyed then you may need to resort to the landfill.
You CAN still donate many items that have holes and aren’t really wearable! You’ll have to ask the donation center you’re dealing with about their capabilities, but many such items can be recycled for the fibers.
We’ve given you three main options for getting rid of your old clothes: donate them, sell them, landfill them. We hope that you avoid the landfill if you can, but whether you choose to donate or sell your clothes will be quite personal and depend on the situation in which you find yourself. We know that not everyone can simply give things away, and that’s okay! You truly are still doing good for everyone if you sell, it isn’t wrong.
We hope that you’ve been able to find some good suggestions and help in this little article. We also hope that you’re able to do some decluttering! All progress towards a clutter-free home is good progress!