Confessions from a Clothes Hoarder: Where to Donate Old Clothing

After a solid 6 months of freedom, I am once again confined to my childhood bedroom. For some of us (me), college was a great opportunity to use the room you claimed at your parent’s house as an informal storage space. 

For me, self quarantine means sharing a three floor house with four working adults and two newly online students. The first and second floors are contaminated with conference calls, the third is struggling to outsmart an XBox, and the basement is reserved for laundry and television. So as it would appear, my room is now my living room, office, and entertainment center. 

The majority of this clutter in there is clothing collected from over the years. I am a sucker for a sale, an addict to Shein and a self proclaimed Maxxinisita. And when you stop growing after the sixth grade, there never seems to be a reason to throw anything away. 

As I write this I see the flawed thinking. 

During quarantine it’s especially important that we give ourselves little projects to occupy our time. My first one? Finding adequate places to sell and donate my old clothing so that I can start using my room as more than, as my parents so lovingly put it, a disgusting dump that they were “no longer tolerating.”

Every couple of months I donate a few articles of clothing to Goodwill. It’s super easy and really only takes a few minutes. My mom keeps the yellow pick up bags in our kitchen, and once one is filled, we call the number on it so they know to come pick it up. Pickup is very timely so you won’t have the bag waiting around in your doorway for more than a week or two.

One of my closest friends, Margaret, is using her quarantine time in the same way I am. Her donations go to the Salvation Army donation bins posted around town. If you don’t want to wait for the pickup, this is another suitable option. As long as the clothes are going to be put to good use, it doesn’t matter which organization you donate to.  

If neither of these options are possible for you, a quick google search will show the best places to drop off donations in your area. In Rutherford, there are bins on almost every busy street and a few at the local field, but every hometown is different. 

Margaret is also what we call a “Poshmark Queen.” Poshmark is a reliable website used to buy/sell used clothing, bags, shoes and more. Selling couldn’t be easier and is explained in detail once you go online or use the app. This is more of a personalized approach as you have to decide how much you want to sell your items for, and deal with buyers by yourself. As a result, you get more of a percentage of the payout than on other selling sites. Poshmark also has the option of listing something as “NWT” (New With Tags). When buying/shopping, some customers feel more comfortable only looking through NWT to ensure quality and cleanliness. This is great for the things you find in the back of your closet with the price tag still on. 

ThredUp is one of my favorite online thrift stores. I just ordered my first “selling kit,” which basically includes a bag and a shipping label. ThredUp typically only takes an average of the clothes sent to them in the kit and has a free option of recycling the unwanted clothes for free. If you want them to ship your other clothes back to you, there is a $10 charge. The rest is up to them. They take professional photos of the clothing, set a price (anywhere from 5-80% of the retail price), and send you a portion of the money it earns. 

Old Sporting equipment (cleats, uniforms, practice attire) can be donated online to children in need. Sports are essential to a child’s development, and everyone deserves the chance to find out if they want to pursue it. By donating your old supplies you can be sponsoring the next Alex Morgan or Serena Williams. PickUpPlease.com will collect your old sporting goods and donate them to people in need. The pick up is free and within 24 hours. 

I’ve also accumulated an abundance of prom and formal dresses during my high school career. It’s safe to say that I probably won’t be needing 4 gowns any time soon, and even if I did, I’d refuse to wear one that’s already been photographed. I know your first instinct is to try and sell these dresses for money, but it may be more beneficial and rewarding to have a charitable mind during prom season. Local high schools and some online sites request old prom dress donations to distribute to students who cannot afford expensive gowns for the big night. Look into local high school drives near you or donate to Catherine’s Closet or Cinderella’s Closet. Their mission is to make Prom more affordable for girls who otherwise would not attend because of the expense. Think of how fun it was picking out your dress, and how important it is to give everyone the opportunity to find the perfect fit. 

Whatever way you choose to declutter, getting rid of clothes is - for whatever reason - a sentimental process. Going through my own closet I found myself thinking, “do you really want to get rid of these jeans from freshman year? You were wearing them the first time you met ____,``''This is the t-shirt you wore at the practice when you got called up to Varsity...and you’re just gonna get rid of it?” and “This is the outfit you wore the first day of Senior year. You never wore it again, but why get rid of a memory?”

Take a picture of the memory. You probably already have one. Then get rid of the memory. Accumulating clothing only creates unneeded clutter in our rooms and our lives. Make room for more retail purchases - it’s fun and it helps the economy.