I don’t know about you, but I have a real shopping problem – especially around Black Friday. I also have a hard time letting go of clothes because you never know when you’re going to need them. This, of course, leads to an excessive amount of clothing. My closet is so full it needed extra supports. Four vacuum-sealed Ziploc bags later, I decided it was time to part with the clothes I haven’t missed + those I always look at but never wear. I set up a Poshmark account to sell some of the more formal/pricey pieces like old bridesmaids dresses + expensive heels I never wore, but the rest I wanted to give away. This begged the question, where to donate clothes?
While Goodwill is an obvious answer, I wanted to donate my clothes somewhere I could make a real impact on the person who received them. I know first hand how hard it can be to find cute clothes when you’re not straight-sized. I really wanted these clothes to go directly to girls + women who could use them. Not into a warehouse to be sold to any joe-schmo (myself included because I love a thrifting adventure). Thanks to a little crowdsourcing + googling, I found great resources telling me where to donate clothes both locally in Memphis + programs that serve the entire US. Whether you’re looking to donate clothing in Tennessee or elsewhere, check out these resources to make a direct impact with your donation.
Where to Donate Clothes in Memphis
- Friends of Friends – Crowdsource to find a friend of a friend is in need of your donation. Maybe they experienced a natural disaster or a single parent struggling to get by. I was connected to a friend working in a Florida middle school heavily affected by this season’s hurricanes.
- Room in the Inn – This organization provides emergency shelter + food to the homeless population during the coldest months of the year. Local churches volunteer their space to help these community members.
- Memphis Union Mission – This organization serves men, women, and families who are homeless, dealing, with addiction, or facing other crisis. They have several locations in the area to help serve others.
- Memphis Suit Project – If you have any gently used suits, this is a great place to donate them. They provide business clothing for men + women looking to “improve their lives by furthering their education, or by gaining employment.” They also offer mentoring + interview training.
Where to Donate Clothes Nationally
- Dress for Success – This organization has chapters all over the US to help empower women into economic independence by helping them enter the workforce. They provide training, a strong network, and interview/work clothes to help women get the jobs they want + need.
- Catholic Charities – First + foremost, this non-profit is a separate entity than the Catholic Church. Any donates to them help those they serve + are not part of the church’s ministry. They serve communities in a variety of ways from disaster relief to refugee services.
- Brides Across America – While these donations do go into a store, they are not given to just anyone. This organization provides free weddings to military members & first responders. Make room in your closet by donating your wedding dress + bridal accessories.
- Local Women’s Shelters – Women across the US (+ abroad) find their way to women’s shelter’s every year. Whether they are fleeing abuse, dealing with substance abuse, or just going through a hard time, they often have only the clothes on their back. A donate to these shelters helps these women start a new life.
While it wasn’t my path, there is nothing wrong with donating to organizations that put items in thrift stores. These stores employ those in need of jobs + often use the funds to fuel other parts of their mission. If this is the direction you choose to go, check out NAMI, the Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or Goodwill. No matter where you choose to donate your clothing you are doing good. Be sure to check the website of whichever organization you choose to see what their criteria are for accepting donations.
If you’re looking for more information about where to donate or volunteer in the Memphis area, check out Volunteer Odyssey. They help match volunteers with organizations based on your interests + skills.