Best Ways to Donate, Upcycle or Recycle Old Clothing

We all know what it feels like to look into a closet full of old clothing you no longer wear. What are you supposed to do with it all? 

The truth is, hundreds of wearable items get thrown in the trash every year. Basically, textiles are overflowing out of landfills – making the fashion industry one of the biggest polluters on Earth. 

So before you throw your old clothing in the trash, take a second to consider what else you can do with it! Here are some helpful ways to deal with your old clothes that don’t leave a negative impact on nature. 

Upcycle Old Clothing into Something New

There are plenty of tutorials and new ideas on how to repurpose old clothing into something fun that you’ll want to wear! Have a pair of old pants? Try to bleach them for a fresh new look. Or if you’re feeling daring, try splattering bleach on your plants to give it a funky feel. You might consider throwing some paint around too for an extra edge! 

As for old t-shirts, find a tutorial on how to cut it up for a new style you’ll want to wear. Oversized men’s shirts make a great dress for girls. 

If you have clothes you can’t bear to part with but they have holes or tears, cut out the shape of your home state to make a patch. After all, who doesn’t like to represent their roots? 

Pro tip: Add lace to items of clothing that are too short. Not only does lace add length, it’s totally fashionable too!

Donate Your Things to Help Others in Need

The easiest way to deal with old clothing you no longer want is to donate it. Winter Garden has several thrift shops that will accept your unwanted stuff. Head on over to Edgewood Ranch Thrift Shop with your good quality items. They also offer pick-up services around Orange County so make sure to contact them if you can’t get to their store.

Upscale Apparel offers locations in both Winter Garden and Ocoee for your gently used clothing. Another great resource is Soles for Souls, who accepts old shoes and distributes them to over 100 countries to people in need.

Resell Gently Used Items for Cash

Not willing to part with your nice things because you spent so much on them? Luckily there are local stores that buy gently used clothing for cash. Head over to Plato’s Closet or Clothes Mentor in Ocoee and see what you can get for items you don’t wear anymore.

Or try reputable online buyers like Poshmark or Thredup. The only catch with this option? Most places will only buy brand name clothing that are in good condition.

Recycle Torn, Stained and Unwearable Old Clothing

Sometimes, clothing you love gets run through the wringer. Basically, that means they end up stained, torn or otherwise unwearable. 

Before you throw it in the trash though, it’d be better to recycle your old clothing. H&M and Northface both collect your old garments no matter the condition or brand. Then they recycle these materials to help us all build a sustainable future! 

Alternatively, Terra Cycle allows you to buy boxes that you can fill up and ship to them for recycling.


Overall, there are probably hundreds more donation and recycling options but we’ve listed a few of our favorites here. Help Clean Cans build a sustainable future and avoid throwing your textiles into our landfills. 

What are some of your favorite ways to deal with old clothing? Make sure to let us know in the comments!