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When looking for where to donate clothing this summer, I struggled to find up-to-date information on charities and other organizations accepting donations this summer of COVID. Most articles are from March or April, but since then organizations have improved their donation collection processes, have opened and then had to close, and various states have moved to different phases of reopening allowing for charities and stores to open and accept clothing donations. Below I share some of the places where you can donate clothes this summer despite COVID, as well as tips on where you can sell your clothing.
Where to Donate Clothes This Summer of COVID
I went through many of the popular lists, went to the websites of the charities and their social media to ensure they are open now, the beginning of August 2020. This is the list I gathered. This list is not exhaustive; I focused on charitable organizations that support more than one state or metropolitan area. Because we are in a pandemic and many charities aren't available, I am not focusing on the organizations' history or finances. If you have a charity in your area you wish to support, call them to find out if they are accepting donations or making donation pickups.
AmVets schedules donation pickups in Maryland, DC, NoVA, Delaware, Texas, and Oklahoma. Visit their site to see if they are continuing donation pickups in your area.
GreenDrop works with the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia to raise funds. Items donated to GreenDrop are converted into funding for these organizations. GreenDrop is a Philadelphia-based company and has drop-off locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. Some drop-off locations have closed because of COVID; visit their site to find currently open locations before planning to make a donation.
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America accepts clothing donations in parts of Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Again, it’s best to visit their site to see if your area is covered and contact the donation location directly to ensure it is open.
The Salvation Army has some of their locations across the country available for donations and is still performing pickups of clothes as well as books and other items in select areas. Use this link to see if they are still accepting donations in your area.
Vietnam Veterans of America
The Vietnam Veterans of America are still performing donation pickups across the country of clothing, shoes, kitchenwares, baby items, small electronics, and more in select areas. To see if they are performing pickups in your area and to schedule your pickup, visit this link.
If there is an organization I missed, please share in the comments and I will update this list to ensure it is a useful resource to all!
Where to Sell Clothes During COVID
If you think you have clothing that is worth money and would benefit more from selling it, there are a lot of in-person and online options still available during COVID. Clothing resale sites have only become more popular during the pandemic as customers are looking to get the look for less and know the selection has improved after pandemic-based closet cleanouts and spring cleanings. Some clothing resale boutiques have also opened with modified policies like scheduling appointments and limiting donations. Below are some of the options available to sell your clothing online and in person; if you know of another company that offers this do share in the comments!
Buffalo Exchange has brick and mortar shops across the country, but they also have a Sell By Mail program. Click this link to learn about the Sell By Mail program and to order a prepaid postage bag to mail in your clothing. This link provides additional F.A.Q.s on their Sell By Mail program.
Crossroads Trading, which resells clothing, has reopened its stores in Texas, Colorado, Oregon, California, Washington, Illinois, and New York. You need to schedule an appointment to bring your items. Click here to see the locations and find out more information. If you're unsure what to take to Crossroads, they offer a guide on what sort of merchandise they're looking for.
eBay continues to be a great place to resell clothing as well as most anything in your home. With most items you list, eBay will take 10% of what you make. eBay offers easy ways to print labels for USPS and plenty of tips for success with getting started selling on their platform. I haven't sold on eBay in over a decade; if you are a current eBay seller and have any tips for newbies wishing to sell clothing there, please share your tips in the comments!
Mercari is an online reselling destination. Unlike Poshmark which is mentioned below, Mercari allows you to sell most anything currently in your home. As soon as you sign up (you will need to offer your email address as well as your phone number), you will be sent to the page to sell a product. The interface is very clean and simple and guides you with what to include in a listing. Mercari will take 10% off whatever you make off a listing. Between Mercari and Poshmark, you may find you can sell items faster on Mercari, but you will be likely to make more money on an item at Poshmark. If you've used both of these platforms, do share your experience and tips in the comments.
Poshmark is a resource I have used for years to sell my like-new clothing from a variety of brands. It requires a bit of work and Poshmark takes a 20% cut from the sale, but I find it worth the time for the payoff. I appreciate that Poshmark provides the mailing label, which can be used on Priority Mail boxes (which you can get free from the USPS and delivered right to your home) or most any packaging. Success with Poshmark is determined by your photos, descriptions, and communication. This link offers tips from a professional reseller on how to make money on Poshmark. If you haven't yet used Poshmark, if you use my personal referral link and promo code WARDROBEOXYGEN you'll get $10 off your first purchase.
The RealReal is a luxury consignment website. Accepting clothing, jewelry, footwear, accessories, and even fine art and home decor, you can work with The RealReal by scheduling a free virtual consignment appointment to video chat with a Luxury Manager, or ship the items directly with their free UPS pickup service. The Real Real will authenticate, photograph, price and sell your items and pay you by direct deposit, paper check, or store credit. Please note The RealReal is for high-end designers (we're talking Kenneth Jay Lane not Kendra Scott, Chanel not Coach); if unsure if your item is appropriate they have a full list of designers they accept.
ThreadUP sells itself as a way to make money from clothes you no longer want, but most who have used the platform know ThreadUP is not a way to make good money on your clothing. However, it is a way to get that stuff gone without having to drive to a donation center and you know the items won’t go to a landfill. ThreadUP asks for clothing in good condition from any brand, but even then only about 40% of what they receive they find sellable. The rest they add to Rescue Boxes or work with textile recyclers. Click here to learn more about how to get a Clean Out Kit to mail your clothing to them via USPS or FedEx.
An alternative to The RealReal is Vestaire Collective, which also desires designer as well as pristine vintage pieces. Vestaire Collective is like a RealReal/Poshmark hybrid. You photograph and list your own products, Vestaire Collective will work to optimize your listing. When your item sells, you don't send it to the buyer but Vestaire Collective directly so they can authenticate the item. Once the item is shipped to the customer, you receive payment via direct deposit. For any item up to $170, Vestaire Collective will take a $17 commission. After that, they take a 15-25% commission (you can see the chart at this link).
Upcycling Worn Clothing and Where to Offload Clothes That Don't Sell
We as a family upcycle a lot of worn clothing. T-shirts, flannel shirts and pajamas, knit leggings, cotton and linen button-downs… most anything non-synthetic we cut into squares and rectangles and use them as cleaning rags. We snip off the buttons and keep them in a jar for future clothing repairs and craft projects, and use the scraps to tie up plants in the garden and even toss into the compost. I also stuff my handbags to keep their shape when in storage with old clothing I no longer want and isn’t in decent enough condition to sell or donate.
If you get to the point where you're considering a landfill for clothing, shoes, and other accessories, take a pause. Reach out on your neighborhood Facebook and NextDoor pages and see if anyone would like to do a contactless pickup. I've had a lot of success offering bags of a general size of clothing and/or shoes on Freecycle, which is also contactless. I've offered a contractor bag of business and business casual clothing in sizes 14/16, children's clothing and shoes in sizes 2T-4T, men's shoes size 14, that sort of thing. If you haven't used Freecycle, you don't offer your address until after you find someone interested and you've scheduled a pickup date and you can leave the item at the end of your driveway or the lobby of your building so you don't need someone at your door. Unless an item is beyond wear, there is someone who can benefit from your discarded clothing. It may take a bit more time, but it's worth it.