How to decide where to donate used clothes?

In the past when I’ve been in closet clear-out mode, I immediately want to get rid of the clothes I don’t want by throwing them away or dropping them off at Goodwill. There is something cleansing about immediately disposing of the things you don’t want and having those items out of your life. However, I am trying hard to change this attitude. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot my options for donating clothes. I want to ensure that my clothes will be used and that their lives continue after I get rid of them.

At work the other day (@Eileen Fisher), someone came in wanting to donate their old Eileen Fisher clothes to the Renew program. Our Renew program takes back old Eileen Fisher clothes and resells them at a lower price, like an Eileen Fisher thrift store. With the damaged pieces, Renew transforms them into new items to continue their lives as wearable clothes. The customer ended up deciding against donating their clothes to Renew, instead opting to donate them at a local women’s shelter, where she knew they needed and would use her clothes. I think it’s really important to consider what is important to you when you donate your clothes and who you want your pieces to go to. For this particular customer, donating clothes to people in need was more important to than eliminating clothing waste.

Here are some clothing donation topics to consider: clothing longevity, eliminating clothing waste, local stores, money, non-profits, women’s shelters. For example, do you want to receive money for your clothing donations? In this case, selling your clothes on an app like Depop or at a Buffalo Exchange would be a good option.

I’ve come to the conclusion that being ethical and sustainable is not always the easy option. For me, dropping off my old clothes at Goodwill, or even throwing out old clothes, is super easy, however I feel so much better donating my clothes to organizations that I connect with. Recently, I read that many of the clothes donated to Goodwill ends up being shipped to other countries where the clothes end up polluting environments and being a burden on local the local clothing economy. Because of this, I don’t like to donate things to Goodwill. So all in all, we should reflect on our own values to determine where we should donate our clothes.

Here are some possible places to donate clothes: