These organizations help communities and the environment.

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Whether you're spring cleaning your closet or simply trying to be more mindful of textile waste, donating your old clothing is a great way to give back to the community and planet. Instead of throwing away garments you don't wear anymore, consider giving away any unwanted items to those who need it most. According to a 2020 Princeton University study, 57 percent of all discarded clothing ended up in the landfill.

Woman holding cardboard donation box full with folded clothes
Credit: Damian Lugowski / Getty Images

Helping your community and the environment are two worthy causes that the whole family can get involved in—simply bring your kids along when you drop off your haul and use the quality time together to explain the importance of giving back. "The process of donating clothes is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children two really valuable lessons," says Beth Amodio, president and CEO of One Warm Coat. "The first is the importance of taking care of other people who need help. And the second is the importance of taking care of the environment." After deciding what to give away, tap one—or all—of these places to donate clothes, and help make an impact on others' lives.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is one of the most well-known humanitarian organizations out there. They focus on providing disaster relief, health and safety courses, and much more. The organization has partnered with GreenDrop, where you can donate all kinds of gently used clothing by going to a drop-off center or scheduling an at-home pickup. Proceeds from clothing sales benefit the American Red Cross' relief programs.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a charity organization that operates homeless shelters and provides support for the elderly, veterans, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. If you want to donate, you can find a drop-off location at one of its many thrift stores or schedule a pick-up by giving them a call. Earnings from clothing donations go toward helping fund The Salvation Army's adult rehabilitation centers.

Dress for Success

Founded in 1997, Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that provides work attire to low-income women. The organization has expanded to nearly 25 countries and has helped more than 1.2 million women worldwide. "Dress for Success helps women who don't have the clothing they needed for job interviews," says Jeanette Duffy, chief program officer at Dress for Success. "Giving a woman the right clothing allows her to get past the first step of getting hired and puts her on track to achieve career milestones like getting promoted, getting a raise, and becoming financially independent."

To donate, go on the Dress for Success website to find a location near you. Just make sure to call in advance to schedule a time to drop off your items.

One Warm Coat

If you have any coats to donate, consider One Warm Coat, which is a non-profit that provides free coats to people in need. This organization typically hosts up to 5,000 coat drives across the U.S. in a given year and has also provided 6.6 million free coats since 1992. "One of our core values is to promote environmental sustainability. Every year, we keep over 1 million pounds of clothes out of the landfill through our coat drive program," says Amodio. "The cost of a warm coat can be a strain on a family's budget that is already stretched thin, so we exist to provide that warmth to people who need it most—and the people who participate in coat drives with us have this amazing experience and an opportunity to create an impact in their local community." To donate, you can find a local spot near you using the locator tool on One Warm Coat's website.

Big Brother Big Sister Foundation

The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation pairs at-risk kids with adult mentors to help give them the guidance and support they need. The organization accepts any type of clothing in good condition and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the charity. You can schedule a pickup online through the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation website or make a drop-off at an authorized location.

Planet Aid

Creating a sustainable environment while helping charities is Planet Aid's primary focus. The organization accepts clothing for men, women, and children. Planet Aid makes donations, partners with local sports teams, helps not-for-profit groups fundraise, and educates youth on the importance of protecting the environment. To donate, you can find a drop-off bin using the Planet Aid bin locator.

The Arc

The Arc is a community-based organization advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and serving them and their families. While the organization accepts many different forms of assistance—including monetary donations, donating your time, and much more—you can give your clothes to the Arc by finding a local chapter using the locator tool on its website or by calling and scheduling a pick-up.

Goodwill

Goodwill is another well-known organization that provides community outreach for low-income families and individuals. They're most known for their thrift stores throughout the U.S. Donate by finding a local donation center on the Goodwill website.

Savers

Savers is a thrift store that helps local nonprofit groups host clothing drives. The organization pays local charities that donate clothes to the organization and also pays nonprofits for dropping off items at a donation center. Savers accepts many items besides clothing, including books, DVDs, and small household items. Visit the Savers website to find a donation center in your area.

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