Volunteers sorting out clothing donations during COVID pandemic

My mom had a lot of customers from her work as a seamstress. Often, these ladies had clothes that they could no longer use because they gained or lost weight or retired from work. Mom hated for these items to go to waste, so she always passed them along to my sister and me. We got so many shirts, coats, blazers, and even shoes from her customers. A lot of the items we still use now!

Following in Mom’s footsteps, I’ve often found new homes for my friends’ things so that they don’t wind up in a landfill. But it’s gotten harder since the pandemic started. Places I could drop off clothing donations — the Dress for Success at the end of my block and the Salvation Army that had been in the same spot for decades — closed their doors for good. Another local establishment, Bottomless Closets, now accepts only mail-in donations. For me, the shipping costs make it impractical to donate clothes that way.

Even leaving clothing donations for the seniors in the building where Mom used to live is no longer possible because of COVID restrictions.

So when my friend gave me five bags of suits she no longer needed, I wasn’t sure where to take them. I kept them in my hallway until I could research the best option. Finally, I took them to the USAgain bin in my supermarket parking lot. This company still accepts donations and they are one of my favorite go-to places for donations.

Also, in the building where I work, there is a collection bin for RewearAble. This local program employs adults with disabilities to sort and launder clothes that they then donate to residents of group homes. I like this program and am glad that they are still accepting clothing donations and employing people.

I don’t think that we need to get rid of items the moment that we decide to donate them. With a little patience and some research, we can still find local, convenient places to donate unwanted clothes — even during this pandemic. Your persistence helps keep usable items out of the landfill and extends their useful life, benefitting the recipient and the environment.


By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.