Closet Cleanup: NYC Guide to Donating Clothes

donating clothes in New York

We are getting ready to move to a new apartment, and wardrobe clean-up has been on top of our to-do list. We figured that if donating clothes happens first, we will have fewer things to move and organize at the new place. I received tons of questions on social media on where to donate or consign clothes in New York. This post is to help those who are interested in where to donate clothes and are planning on decluttering their wardrobe.

The Process: Separate Your Items

After decluttering my wardrobe, I divided all the items into four categories: designer, brand names, and no-name items.


Anything that has a higher resale value. While sorting out the pieces, I referred to The RealReal‘s list of accepted brands. In my experience, it’s the most comprehensive list of designer brands that are accepted not only at other consignment stores like Vestiaire Collective, Rebag, and What Goes Around Comes Around. So the items in perfect condition from this category went on a consignment journey.


Under this category, I put aside some of the branded items that are not accepted by The RealReal but are still considered a high-end brand. For instance, my favorite brands like Rebecca Taylor and Ted Baker, for some reason, are not accepted, but there is a high demand for them on the consignment market. I also included some of the higher-end fast fashion items from the brands like Zara, Other Stories, Anthropologie, and COS.


Finally, I separated the rest of the items still in great condition for donation. It took the longest time to work on this category as I wanted to make sure that the right donation would hit the right charitable organization.

goodwill new york

How to Consign Your Clothes?

Perhaps, consigning clothes was the easiest part of the decluttering process.


I already did a big wardrobe clean-up before the pandemic and had my account representative at The RealReal. All it took was to book an online appointment and schedule an at-home pickup.

My account representative arrived with her own bags, quickly photographed all the consigning items, and picked them up for a review. The entire process took maybe half an hour – so efficient!


The same happens with branded items: I emailed my Crossroads Trading representative, and she quickly stopped by to pick up the items. She didn’t take any photos and accepted all the items I prepared. According to their terms, you can opt-in for donating the unwanted items to charitable organizations on their own. So once the company picks up your items, they will separate the ones they can consign and donate the rest.


I didn’t expect any monetary gains from this consignment project; I just needed to get rid of the stuff before a big move. But if you want to make some money from your gently used clothes, perhaps eBay or Poshmark would be better options for you.

You can also consider sending your goodies to the Thredup. But considering that you only receive a few bucks (or even cents!) on each piece of clothing, I’d rather consider this platform as a donation resource, not consignment. Thredup offers a very convenient way to send your items – they will mail you a pre-labeled bag where you drop all of your items and schedule a pickup. But price point-wise, you’ll get a better deal if consigning through the above-mentioned platforms.

where to donate clothes in NY

Donating Clothes in NY – Where to Go?

Over the course of the last two closet clean-ups, I donated items to a few different places. I specifically wanted to donate to a few causes, so these organizations split the items evenly. Also, I kept in mind some recommendations on what each company usually sells or wants to get more of.


They sell many men’s clothes, Housing Works is where I sent most of my boyfriend’s clothes. I also had one vintage fur coat that I never wore. Considering that they are selling some of the more luxurious items, I figured that would be the best place to bring that item. Also, some of my handbags went to Housing Works. I did purchase some of my bags there, so I thought it was a great way to give back to the community.

If you are looking to stop by Housing Works, in addition to donating clothing and accessories, you can also bring in furniture and home goods. Keep in mind that you have to call in advance if you plan to bring bigger-sized items. If you have books you want to bring, keep in mind that they only accept two boxes of books per donation.


Perhaps, from all the places out there, I donate to Goodwill the most. This time around, I brought over many fitness stuff – outfits, sneakers, lightweight equipment. I also donated all of my and my boyfriend’s Halloween costumes – I know many people are looking for such items at Goodwill, so it was a good place to bring it too.

Also, some home goods went there: unused pillows, clear shelves for makeup, even some never used makeup bags. I also brought over some books, but usually, all the books I donate to my local library instead.


Honestly, I can’t even remember what items went to Salvation Army because we packed the car and just split the bags between these two organizations. They are located one block away from each other. But, basically, some of my dresses, shoes, and jewelry went there – as well as my boyfriend’s.

I want to say about Salvation Army that they offer at-home pickup, so it’s a great way to donate many things at once. Keep in mind though they are booked at least one month in advance. So if you are planning on moving soon, I recommend booking your pickup date in advance.

* * * * *

Finally, a few words on why I decided to do a closet cleanup. A few reasons. I spent the last year and a half in the Hamptons, far away from my NYC closet. When I moved back, most of the items from my wardrobe felt irrelevant and not fitting to my current lifestyle.

I also suddenly realized how many dresses I had in my wardrobe. 80-90% – I’m not even joking! A dress is an easy item to style, but my closet was far from functional considering the percentages. So I decided to try on a more rational approach to dressing.

Let me know in the comments if you want to learn more about my current dressing philosophy!


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