Decluttering our closet feels great. By getting rid of the clothes we don't wear anymore, we can gain more time, space, and money to invest in what matters the most to us. Donating and selling old clothes are excellent options to simplify our life.
To decide if it's better to donate or sell clothes, most of us look at what's more practical for us. Donating to charitable organizations is arguably easier than putting efforts into our listings to ensure our clothing will sell.
If you decided to declutter your home or to move to a new place, it might be time to organize your closet. But doing so responsibly is the better choice.
We have to consider the best ways to help people in need, protect the planet, reduce pollution and waste. Too many people throw away unwanted clothes in the trash. It's not the most environmentally friendly option.
80% of old clothes and other textile wastes end up in landfills to decompose or be incinerated globally. Only 20% of discarded textiles are reused or recycled. And up to 95% of annually deposited textiles could be recycled.
16.9 million tons of used textile wastes are generated each year in the United States. That amount has doubled over the last 20 years. The average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing every year.
Besides donating and selling clothes, there are other ways to prevent more waste. Follow my guide on 10 ways to keep your clothing out of landfills for more eco-conscious methods to throw away unwanted clothes.
Since the rise of fast fashion starting in the 1990s, we consider clothing as a disposable commodity. Buying new is now a regular event, weekly or even daily for most of us.
Shopping for new trends in high-street stores is easier, faster, and cheaper than ever before. The average high-street garment is only worn 7 times before becoming too old when its life expectancy could be more than 2 years.
Read up my article on how long do you keep clothes to learn more about the throwaway culture encouraged by fast fashion.
If you already know your fashion style, it's much easier to make every item in your wardrobe a winner. You can identify your essentials right away and aren't going to regret anything when decluttering.
You can then donate or sell the pieces of clothing you don't need anymore. Maybe your lifestyle has changed over the years or some clothes are too big or too small and don't fit anymore.
Let's compare donating old clothing to selling it.
Selling unwanted clothes
It's very common to be tired of an encumbered wardrobe. We often have too many items but nothing to wear. It's a sign that it's time to sell clothes to be able to pull better outfits from our closet.
For some guidance on where to start, read up my list of the 20 types of clothes to get rid of right now.
Selling clothes allows us to simplify our life, protect the environment, make extra cash, and someone else happy. We get a bigger clothing budget and an excuse to buy newer better pieces.
There are plenty of great places to sell used clothes. You can have an easy time at online resale shops or brick-and-mortar locations. Or you could host a yard sale.
You can even get cash upfront for your clothes in some instances. But most of the time, you get paid when your clothes have been sold.
Consignment shops store up your items and slipt the profits with you. Be sure to contact them beforehand to understand what kind of items they accept.
Selling pieces of clothing grants you more money than donating them. But It's generally more time-consuming. To sell clothes when you are short on time, using online resale shops is the best way to go.
But you will need some experience and know-how to make great listings in the right places at the perfect moment. You will have to study similar items that have sold in the past to understand how to price your clothes.
Follow my guide on how to get rid of unwanted clothes for money for a list of excellent places to sell your items.
Donating used clothing
It's liberating to get rid of what we don't need anymore. It makes a lot of sense to donate our clothes when we don't wear them and they are still in good condition.
Donating is an amazing way to justify new purchases. It's often easy enough to find similar or better products in stores. And it prevents us from ending up with too many clothes we don't wear.
I often keep the items I still care about but don't wear in a bag away from my closet. If I miss anything, it may come back to my wardrobe for a while. But when the bag gets full, it's time to donate.
If you are just starting with organizing your closet, follow my guide on how to decide what clothes to keep.
If you aren't short on cash, donating clothes to charities might be the better choice for you compared to selling them.
If you donate your items, you can even save money in some cases. You won't earn anything right away but your donations can be used as a deduction when you write your taxes. You could get a larger tax return.
Many nonprofit organizations offer social services to underserved communities with philanthropy and social well-being in mind. They are awesome places to donate clothes.
Most of us look for organizations that are the most convenient for us. We consider what services are provided such as pick up or assistance on site. For many people, however, the core mission of the organization matters much more.
Donating your extra clothes is a generous gesture. Someone else probably needs some of your items more than you do. Popular charities or nonprofit organizations to drop off clothes when you have too many of them are Goodwill and Salvation Army.
Read my comparison between Goodwill and the Salvation Army to better understand the difference between them and find some other places to donate clothes.
Donating unwanted garments often takes much less time and effort than selling them. If you are a hoarder like me, it's not easy to get rid of stuff. It's can be very stressful at times.
Apparel, footwear, accessories, and small items are the easiest to donate. Contributions are welcomed and can potentially do a lot of good. It's easier to get rid of things when you know that it improves the life of another person.
Our homes are often filled with things we don’t need. They can not only support people and causes in our community but also remove the anxiety and disorder in our daily life.
Do you prefer donating or selling clothes? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.