Donate or Sell: How Should I Get Rid of Unwanted Clothing & Accessories?

sorting baskets

Contributing Blogger Jordan Smith

We are all guilty of accumulating masses of unwanted clothing. Are your closets filled with racks of unworn outfits and giant tubs full of t-shirts from high school, college and all the 5Ks you participated in for charity?

According to, the average American home is filled with up to 300,000 personal belongings. If you are the average U.S. citizen, it is probably time to start clearing out the inevitable clutter in your home.

Now that you have decided to minimize, you may be uncertain about what next steps to take. You want your belongings to go to the best possible recipients. Is it better to donate or sell? And when you decide, what is the process? Let’s discuss the best fit for you.

Why Donate?

Helping someone in need is a great way to make a difference. You never know how you will touch someone’s life by donating an item you no longer need. Making a donation is not only beneficial to the receiver, but it is also a personally rewarding experience for you as the giver.

Giving to organizations that sort and resell your items has long-term effects on the community. Many thrift stores and donation centers provide jobs to those who work in their stores. Local non-profit stores are also using profits from their business to help people pay their electricity bills, find jobs, gain transportation to doctor appointments and provide meals to the needy. What a lasting impact!

When you find a new home for your excess, you are being wise with your resources. This is a positive decision for our planet’s environment because it lowers the amount of consumption per item. This is the same concept as recycling plastics and paper.

Where to Donate

First, look within your circle of influence. You may know of a big family with a little budget that could benefit from your generosity. Many large families depend on the kindness of others and strategic budgeting, so they can keep everyone fed and clothed.

Thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are always great options because almost every community has one within a reasonable distance. These organizations give back to the community with programs like job training, homeless services and aid during catastrophes.

Prom season can be a real struggle for some teenage girls. Consider donating your old prom dress or cocktail dresses, accessories and shoes to a local or national charity such as Becca’s Closet, and help create lifelong memories for a teenage girl.

Dress for Success is an organization that accepts business clothing for the homeless and needy. They connect women with professional attire for important job interviews. By 2016, their organization helped empower more than 925,000 women globally.

If you have a charity or thrift store that supports your local community, check into their donation policies. It’s a great way to give back to your community, and it can be an enlightening experience, because it makes you aware of the needs in your local area.

Why Sell?

Many of us remember being chastised by our parents for touching the thermostat or for leaving food on our plates. It is important that we do not waste our resources. Selling our unwanted items is not a selfish option. We are adding to our income while recycling our gently used clothing.  

With today’s technological advances, reselling your belongings can become an actual source of income. One particular college student was making upwards of $5,000 using sites like Poshmark to sell her stuff. This type of app has a social media feel because you can retain followers. Once you gain enough followers, you can sell items on a regular basis. This income can be dedicated to your child’s college fund, a deserving charity or your savings account.

There are plenty of businesses that depend on members of the community to sell their old items so they can operate. Resale stores welcome your business and usually even make more from what you donate. This is great for commerce. Not only are you getting rid of clutter and making some money back, but you are also becoming a vital member of a working economy.

There is a balance when it comes to selling and donating. Items that your child may have outgrown could potentially still have a great deal of value. When you choose to sell a more valuable brand of clothing at a marked-down rate, this is helpful to some families who could not have bought it at the original full price.

Where to Sell

Online forums are some of the easiest places to find out where to sell used clothes and accessories. Sites like eBay are better for specific, higher-priced pieces of clothing. Social media outlets like the marketplace on Facebook are better for bulk items. You are likely not interested in shipping a large tub of heavy belongings across the country, but you can always set up a meeting place if you sell locally.

Stores like Platos Closet or Once Upon a Child will accept clothes, shoes, accessories and sometimes other items, as long as they are in good condition. There are some steps you must take for certain stores. Some require that you have each item on hangers and others may ask you to only bring merchandise that fits the season. Do your research and establish a relationship with the store where you hope to sell your stuff.

If you are willing to put in the time, a garage sale keeps you from having to do a lot of the sorting and organization of your unwanted belongings. Some enjoy having everything individually priced and put in some type of order for local buyers, but you can typically just get everything out on tables and let the buyers dig through. Most sellers are willing to negotiate and sometimes have a set price per bag of stuff, so the prices can shift. At the end of the garage sale, load up what is left over and head to the donation center.

Sell and Donate

If you can’t decide which path to take, donating or selling your unwanted goods, maybe you should do both? By selling your clothing and accessories, you could use your profits to then buy wholesale clothing items to donate to community members who are less fortunate. It’s a win win!

Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog Luna! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.