What to Do with Old Clothes?

Updated on April 08, 2010
L.H. asks from West Jordan, UT
11 answers

With five people in our family, four of them male, we've worn out lots of clothes. I don't want to throw them away. A lot of what we have has a few holes in it or a stain or two, but the rest is still good quality cloth. I don't want to take holey clothes to good will, but the only other option seems to be to throw them away. It seems wasteful to throw away good material.

I've heard of recycling clothes, but all I can find online is stuff about giving clothes to people in third world countries. I don't want to give anyone holey, worn out clothes. Does anyone know anything about clothes recycling or what I can do with these worn out clothes??


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answers from Denver on

I have been wondering the same thing! I have jeans with holes in the knees that I don't want to just throw away. When I have a chance, I think I will call Goodwill and the Salvation Army and ask what they do with this kind of thing. I remember hearing once that stuff that won't sell is sent to Mexico, but I don't remember the details.

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answers from Casper on

Another option is to find out with low income housing. I live in such an establish, and I sometimes put old clothes in the laundry room with a take me sign. They disappear fast and I sometimes see them on kids that are bigger than mine. You can search online or email HUD for a list of low income apartments in your area, then call or email the managers to see if they know of some families that have a need.



answers from Mansfield on

donate them to Haiti- even before the earthquakes they were in desperate need. Many little boys (probably much younger than yours) have to fend for themselves and could use those stained, holey clothes. My sons teacher was a teacher in Haiti for 8 years (and this was along time ago) and she always shares pictures and her experiences (even more now that our country is much more aware that Haiti exsists) and those pictures show many young boys and men without clothes. Little boys often run around in a shirt long enough to cover them and nothing else.
Find a church or another organization that is sending aid to Haiti and Donate!
Or you could get creative and sew them! My MIL made really cute cargo shorts for her 9 year old son out of a pair of pants that had holes in the knees. She cut them off, hemmed them sewed a camo dinosaur patch on the back pocket where it was ripping and voila brand new shorts that another boy wanted soooooooooo bad he begged his mom to find out where they bought them. This mom told my MIL she was desperate and willing to pay "anything" to get them!
BTW- maybe not in UT but here in OH - Goodwill and Salvation Army does take holey and stained stuff. I know because I bought a shirt full of holes for a halloween costume for my son this past October. See there is always another use for stuff!
Hope this helps :)



answers from Chicago on

Believe it or not, Goodwill will NOT take torn or worn out clothes. They will throw them out or give to a school that needs rags. That is an option, give to an art school or class that will use them as rags. I use soft t-shirts as rags to dry my car.



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi L.,

You might just want to box them up and give them to a fire station. Or watch the news for people who have lost everything in a house fire. We have a situation here in my town right now where 3 little boys are fighting for their life and the family has lost everything they had. People are asking for donations of clothes and all kinds of household things. That would be an awesome way to get "rid" of old anything.

Have an awesome day and good luck.



answers from Nashville on

I still say goodwill also. You never know what people might need or be able to use. My husband has a job that gets him completely filthy and his clothes get torn and ruined easily. I buy his work jeans at Goodwill. I can't afford to buy new jeans that often. And I always try to take the stained, holey ones because they will get that way in a few days anyway. That leaves the things in nicer shape for other people who need to buy presentable clothes at goodwill.

Edit: I guess you could always check with your Goodwill about what they will accept and what you should do with them. I have definitely bought clothes that are stained (like someone wore them while staining furniture, not just little stains) and holes in the knees. So maybe they are all different.



answers from Denver on

We give our clothes to missionaries in Mexico. The people they work with are so excited to get such nice things, and can't believe we think they're not good enough to work with. Ironically, they live less than a mile from El Paso. The people there usually have one or two pairs of clothes that they wear everyday. The last time we visited, one of the ladies was wearing one of my husbands old painting t-shirts, holes and all, to church. She was so excited to have something so nice that she felt dressed up enough to come to church. I could go on and on. We truly are spoiled in America! Please pass the clothes on. They really are usable, especially in 3rd world countries. I prefer to pass it on through the missionaries, though, after talking to them. Many times the "folds", as they are called in some parts of the world, are sold for more than what we pay for new clothes here. I know some missionaries who know places that charge a week's salary for some clothes. The missionaries pass them on for free, or sometimes for very little in a market booth.



answers from Boise on

I would still suggest some place like Goodwill. They go through the clothes and, I would think, have the resources to correctly retire clothes that should be recycled.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with Itsacrazylifewith4, if the clothes are too worn for you to use, Goodwill cannot sell them...two thoughts came to mind...list on craigs list and be honest about the condition...you may find people who will still be thrilled to get them, or donate to a man's shelter in your area.



answers from New York on

I too did not feel people would want clothes that had a small hole or a stain. However, after visiting a third world country (not as a tourist), many people have so very little that they truly need and want your used clothing. If they don't use it as clothing, the cloth is still valuable.