Consumer Reports

Should You Sell, Donate or Recycle Old Clothes?

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Maybe this is the year you’ll finally clean out your closets to see what fits, what doesn’t, and what fashion items you never want to see again. Instead of tossing those threads in the trash, why not sell, donate or recycle them? Consumer Reports has some tips.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 9 million tons of clothes end up in landfills in a year. That’s bad for the planet and maybe a lost opportunity to make some money. Consumer Reports says it’s easier than ever to turn your unwanted clothing into cash.

Facebook Marketplace and eBay used to be the only game in town. But now there’s a growing number of digital stores and phone apps tailored to sell anything you want to get rid of.

On sites like Poshmark and Vinted, you list your item at a price you choose and then ship it directly to the buyer with a prepaid shipping label.

With ThredUp and The RealReal, you send your unwanted clothing, bags, and accessories off to be sorted, priced, and listed for sale.

Whether they’re online or a walk-in store, vintage and consignment shops won’t take everything. Often it’s because of the condition of the item or because it’s out of style. If you can’t sell something but it’s still usable, donate it.

Goodwill, for example, collects and sells donated items to support education and job-placement programs, and you might get a tax deduction.

For a local option for old prom dresses, check high schools. They often want donated dresses for students who can’t afford to buy one.

You can also share your stuff with people in your community by using the Freecycle Network or BuyNothing Facebook groups, where members give and get free items.

And if there’s really no hope for your old items, recycle. You can check out to find a textile recycling location near you.

Before you buy new clothing, be aware that some brands, like Madewell, Levi’s, North Face, Patagonia, and REI, have programs to take back and resell items at a discount.

Consumer Reports has more recommendations on how you can declutter your home.

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