What to do with your unwanted clothes: where and how to donate them?

donate unwanted clothes @Amberoot

Fashion, like any love affair, has its highs and lows. No matter how infatuated you were with that dress when you first met, it might be time to move on – you’ve changed and so must your outfit.

Not surprisingly, 92% of us have clothing in our wardrobes that we don’t wear. So what can you do with that heaving cluster of clothes taking up your entire drawer? There may be a better place for your unwanted garments, a place with dinners out and sunshine and love… Ok, so maybe you’ve worn it to death and your bedraggled shirt is unfit for anybody, there’s still somewhere good it can go, and it’s not the landfill.

Donate

Give a little, gain a lot. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing your unwanted clothes are going somewhere they are truly needed. £140 million pounds worth of unwanted clothes are lost to the landfill every year, which really needn’t be the case.

Charities

You have a so many options when it comes to donating your clothes to charity. There are charities that take reusable clothes and sell them on, as well as charities that take clothes for recycling – make sure you check first. You also have a myriad of options when it comes to how you donate:

In store

Charity shops such as The Salvation Army and Oxfam will take your donated clothes in store. TK Maxx also gives out bags for you to fill and return in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Find your nearest charity shop and chosen cause

Book a bulk collection from home

If you don’t have the time, it’s still better to donate than not, so you can always fill a clothing bag and leave it outside your door for collection. Below is a list of some of the charities offering this service.

The Christie, YMCA, Scope, The Fire Fighters Charity, British Red Cross, Tree of Hope, The Salvation Army, Kidney Research UK, Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK, Against Breast Cancer, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, British Heart Foundation, NSPCC, Age UK , Macmillan or Clothes Aid (does collection for several charities).

The Uber of textile donation apps. Gone for Good aims to ‘turn your clutter into something good for the environment and for people in need’, with the goal to redirect 6% of clothes that currently end up in landfill. You simply download the app, take a snap of the item you wish to donate, so that they know what to expect – 15% of charity bags left outside doors are lost or stolen – and they come to collect it for you. The donations go to participating charities including: Mind, British Heart Foundation and Shelter.

Some local councils offer a textile recycling bag to include with your weekly home recycling, so it’s worth enquiring with them to see if this is available too. Furthermore many charities, especially smaller ones, operate home collection independently through retail stores, so it’s worth calling your local charity shop to see if this service is provided too.

Always check the collectors are registered charities and even members of Textile Recycling Association, to ensure funds are being paid to the charities they claim to collect for. For more information on donating charity bags safely, the Fundraising Standards Board is a helpful resource.

Help Refugee Crisis

Textiles are also urgently needed to support humanitarian efforts surrounding the refugee crisis. This is a useful map to find your local, grassroots associations who can tell you where your nearest donation drop off point is, as well as arrange collections. It’s very important to find out what items are needed before donating. The Calaid site features a list of items in need, and so will other charities working to support refugees.

Sharing is Caring

You can, quite simply, give your clothes away for free on sites such as Freecycle and Freegle. Many communities also have a ‘Free your stuff’ type Facebook page, which is always a good thing to lend a contribution; you’ll probably take advantage of something free yourself at some point.

Be happy and donate your unwanted clothes @Amberoot

It’s natural to acquire a seasonable or even colossal amount of baggage from life but it doesn’t have to be a burden, and there are so many ways to unload, whilst doing some good in the world.

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This article is part of series “What to do with your unwanted clothes”. What to do with your unwanted clothes: donate, What to do with your unwanted clothes: recycle (will be posted shortly!), What to do with your unwanted clothes: swap (will be posted shortly!), What to do with your unwanted clothes: earn rewards for your clothing (will be posted shortly!).

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