Before spring cleaning comes with epic New Year’s closet cleanout, am I right?
I’ve been eyeing things that looked like must-have’s during the holiday season—yes, things I bought as recently as November/December—and wondering, “What the hell was I thinking?”
Will I ever wear that crayon red plunge v-neck floor length gown? Did I really need that sequin jumpsuit or the multiple dresses I bought as “options” for New Year’s Eve? Probably not. Also, fun fact: I ended up wearing an older dress on New Year’s Eve anyway.
As I prepare to execute a major refresh of my wardrobe for 2018, I’ve been looking for the best places to donate clothing and textiles. I was surprised to find that, here in NYC, the initiative to reduce textile waste has really grown. I’m sure this is the case in other cities, too!
I also figured that the average consumer isn’t aware of most of these options. The ol’ bag drop off at Sally Army is better than throwing things in the garbage (depending on who you ask…) but there are now other viable options as well.
Read on for a list of places to donate clothing and textiles in NYC this year, and turn that closet cleanout into good vibes and good karma.
Where To Donate Clothes in NYC
I just found out about this, so I wanted to share it first: Want to make donating SO much easier? Get a refashionNYC bin installed outside your apartment building! Housing Works (another great place to donate) has partnered with the NYC Department of Sanitation to create a program that collects new/used/damaged textiles and clothing items.
You simply add to the bin and contact them for pickup when it’s full! To see if your building qualifies and learn more, click here.
Got bras? Give them to a good cause. Donate your old bras to Free the Girls, an organization that supports the rehabilitation of sex trafficking survivors through teaching them sustainable skills and providing various therapies.
They have multiple drop-off points in NYC through partnered retailers—just pop your zip code in here.
Did you know you can donate and get a discount on future purchases? Select H&M locations have a drop-off bin for any clothing items you no longer wear. They accept textiles as well. Once you drop off, you’ll receive a discount on your purchase.
They claim that since they launched this program, they’ve gathered more than 55,000 tons of garments to recycle.
Got textiles? If you’re a forever-fashion-school student like me (aka: my room looks like my dorm did in school… full of fabrics, zippers, thread) you can donate your unused materials to this incredible organization: Materials for the Arts. They have drop-off (in Long Island City) and pick-up.
Your donations will be used to facilitate grassroots sewing, crafting and DIY initiatives across New York City. If you ask me, encouraging creativity and DIY skills is one of the best things we can do for the next generation!
Goodwill is one of the more traditional ways to donate clothing, accessories and more. Your donations will help them toward their goal of placing people in stable jobs across the United States and Canada. They provide training, mentoring and other services to those who need it.
Your donations are also tax deductible and you can even ship them for free!
The Salvation Army is recently a more controversial organization due to accusations that they have an anti-LGBT agenda. I’m including it here because they do support the rehabilitation of people with addictions and their stores provide affordable clothing and home goods to local NYC communities.
As always, exercise your right to support or not support any of these organizations.
If you just need a refresh and want to switch up your clothes for more cute clothes, consider one of NYC’s many Buy/Sell/Trade shops! This is a super fun way to clean your closet and get your shopping mojo on without the guilt.
Got friends? Host a clothing swap or clothing giveaway! The past few times I moved apartments, I piled up all of my donatable stuff on the kitchen table, invited the girls over for some wine, and let them go nuts. It’s a great excuse to hang out and you’ll avoid tossing things that friends would appreciate.
Finally, don’t forget your local church thrift store! If you’re into supporting the local parish, this is another great way to donate clothing and accessories.
Many of them have programs that feed the hungry and provide housing/jobs for community members in need, while also putting donated goods up for sale at steep discounts. Call or visit their websites for information.
So as you can see, there are many ways to give back while streamlining your wardrobe this year.
Another thing? As an addict of cheap, pretty dresses, I’m also going to dial back my spending in 2018. Buying less is the best way to waste less! To do this, I’ve unsubscribed from all eCommerce email newsletters (goodbye, impulse buys!) and set strict budgets for wardrobe spending.
I’ll keep you posted on this mission!
Know of any other great options for preventing clothes from going into the trash? Comment below!