The beginning of a new year brings a fresh start in many areas of our lives. For many of us that includes gathering our unwanted items and disposing of them. Clothing is one of the most commonly disposed of items in new year cleaning. The reasons we get rid of clothing varies from person to person. Some of us focus on things that no longer fit, or have not been worn within the past year. Others of us shed items that bring bad memories, or simply no longer fit our personal style. Whatever your reasons for closet purging, you may be trying to figure out what to do with that pile of clothing. I’m happy to say, we have more options today than we’ve ever had for shedding these items responsibly. Here’s what you can do with that pile of unwanted, preloved (or not) clothing:
Donation is probably the most popular method of parting with unwanted items. Nonprofit organizations like Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army offer numerous donation drop off locations, which can be located through their respective websites. The American Red Cross has partnered with GreenDrop to pick-up items from your home.
All of these donations are tax deductible, and proceeds from sales of your donated items allow these organization to continue fulfilling their missions. Clean out while doing good deeds!
Upcycling is taking one clothing item and altering it to create a new item. This can be as simple as removing or shortening sleeves on shirt, or as complex as remaking a pair of pants into a skirt. With upcycling you’re keeping the item, but creating something you’d be happy to wear. There are many videos on YouTube with awesome upcycle projects for ambitious DIYers.
Alternatively, items could be donated to an organization like Earthly for the Planet, a sustainable clothing brand that makes or upcycles all of its goods from recycled materials. Earthly provides you with a bag in which to ship your items. In return, you receive 20% off a future purchase. They also offer custom upcycling services. Just contact them directly to have an existing item remade into something new.
In 2020 I decided I to sell some of my clothing because I was interested in making a few dollars from clothes that I no longer loved, rather than just giving the stuff away. Setting up a Poshmark account and listing my items was easy, selling the items, however, was not. I soon learned that it does take some effort to sell your items. They do not sell themselves.
After three weeks, I made my first sell. I’ve since sold several items, but am still in possession of several items that I’m getting tired of storing. Self-selling is a good option as long as you are prepared to hang on to items for a bit longer. Other self-selling platforms include eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Depop, and OfferUp.
If you want to sell your items without doing the work or storing unwanted items, consignment is your answer. Consignment shops or online platforms take your items, market, sell and ship them for you for a percentage of the profits. The percentage varies depending on the consignment company.
You can find local consignments shops in your neighborhood, or try online consignment platforms like The Real Real which focuses on designer merchandise or, ThredUp which sells a range of apparel from fast fashion to designer brands.
Clothing Giveaways or Swaps
Giving your unwanted items to a friend or family member that will love them more than you is likely the original method of parting with clothing. I mean hand-me-downs have been around forever, right?
If you’d like to get something in return for your hand-me-downs, attend or host a clothing swap. At these parties, participants bring their good condition, but unwanted items and have the opportunity to get “new” items from someone else’s closet. These swap parties can also be hosted online with participants sharing their items using social media platforms and mailing them to their new homes.
Keep in mind that your unwanted clothing could be someone else’s dream wardrobe, or even yours if you up-cycle.