How to Sell, Donate or Recycle Your Old Clothes
Now that you’ve done the hard part of editing your closet, it’s time to decide what garments can be sold, donated or recycled.
The best rule of thumb to follow is to look at the quality of the garment. If your gently worn garments are in good condition with no tears or stains, they can likely be sold.
Consignment and Resale
- Taking your garments to a consignment or resale shop is a great place to start. Typically these stores want nicer brands that are in season and in style. Some may offer you cash on the spot or sell your items for you and pay you once the items have been cleared from inventory.
- Take a look at Plato's Closet, Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads on the national level and Google search consignment stores at the local level.
- If bringing everything to a store doesn't fit your schedule, you can turn to your phone and list items on websites such as Poshmark, Thred Up Ebay, Tradesy and Vestaire Collective.
- If you would rather avoid selling and instead help an organization, you can always donate your gently used items to charity and receive a tax write-off.
- American Red Cross Clothing Drive, Goodwill, Vietnam Veterans of America, Dress for Success, Salvation Army, Career Gear, Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, and Planet Aid are all options.
Is it ripped or torn, soiled or stained? If so, it belongs in the recycled pile.
While it may seem easy to throw clothes away, stop to think about the sobering statistics of textiles in landfills.
Consumers throw away shoes and clothing, rather than recycling, an average of 70 pounds per person annually.
The main source of textiles in municipal solid waste (MSW) is discarded clothing. In fact, the EPA estimates that in 2017, 11.2 million tons of textile MSW went to landfills, accounting for 8 percent of all MSW landfilled.
Of the textiles that wind up in a landfill, biodegradable materials such as cotton may decompose in 5 months. But non-biodegradable textiles such as polyester, spandex, nylon and rayon can take between 20 to 200 years.
In a world of fast fashion where some items may not even make it past a third washing, this adds an unnecessary burden on our landfills.
So if your clothing can not be sold or donated, it really should go in a recycle pile.
- Many organizations that accept clothing donations for resale also accept clothing for recycling. This includes Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Savers, Blue Jeans Go Green, American Textile Recycling Service and USAgain.
- In addition, retailers such as Levi Strauss & Co. and The North Face accept old clothes from any brand to be reused or recycled and sometimes even offer a monetary reward toward your next purchase.
Now sit back and enjoy how your newly edited closet works for you and the satisfaction of making a greener choice (or enjoying some green in your pocket).