Here’s What to Do with Your Old Summer Clothes

Story by Hannah Kraft
Photo by Anne Langan

As a new semester begins, we’re slowly transitioning our closets from summer to fall attire.

If it’s time for you to get rid of clothing items, try doing it the green way. By recycling your clothes, you’re decreasing the number of resources required to make new clothing.

Here are some options when it comes to recycling clothes.

1. Goodwill

Donations fund Goodwill’s mission of helping people who have barriers to employment, job training, education and placement services. With every dollar you spend at Goodwill, 89 cents goes back to the community.

If you decide to donate here, simply bring your items to the Goodwill store, follow the directions for drop off, and an attendant will help you unload your donations.

2. Salvation Army

Eighty-three percent of donations go straight to program funding to help people who need it the most. When you shop at a Salvation Army thrift store, you contribute to the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) that help people fight substance abuse.

3. Other Donation Options

A few major brands and retailers offer clothing or shoe recycling such as Nike, H&M, Patagonia, American Eagle Outfitters, Levi Strauss & Co. and Neiman Marcus. At most of these stores, they offer discounts for certain clothing items you bring in.

1. Poshmark

Poshmark is a free app that allows you to buy and sell clothes by just using your phone. All you have to do is take a picture of the item you want to sell, upload it to the app, add a description and price, and people looking to shop will start sending you offers for your item.

Once negotiated and concluded, 20 percent of your proceeds go to Poshmark if you sell your item for $15 or higher (if you list an item over $15, the app will automatically tell you how much you will earn). The buyer pays a nominal shipping fee and you receive a postage-paid label for packages under two pounds.

You can collect your payment via direct deposit or request a check. Once the buyer receives their item, your money is put into your account within three days.

2. Plato’s Closet

Sell items and receive cash on the spot. Just simply take your items into a nearby store and the buyer will make an offer according to the style, condition, brand and stock levels in the store.

The downside to selling your items here is that they are picky, so make sure to bring in stuff that is new or gently used!

1. Pillows and Quilts

Swap comfortable clothes for cute home decor! You can make pillows and quilts out of old sweaters, t-shirts, pajamas or button-up shirts. Use old clothing items for stuffing in the pillows.

GC Tip: Use the buttons in a creative way and add accents to your pieces.

2. Mittens, Scarfs and Hats

Michigan winters are bone chilling, so why not take that sweater that you haven’t worn in ages and make it into a cute pair of mittens, a scarf or a hat?

3. Cleaning Rag

We all have a few t-shirts stuck in our dressers and closets that we never wear. If you are like me and like to clean, you can use these old t-shirts as a cleaning rag.