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Ask Chicagoist: Where Can I Donate My Used Clothing?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Nov 6, 2008 10:10PM

2008_11_askclothing.jpgHi Chicagoist (waves frantically)!

As a middle class American woman, I naturally own way, way, way too much stuff. So I'm working on getting rid of some. I'm on a purge trajectory!

Here's my problem. While I'm really good at pulling clothes out of my closet & putting them in a bag to be gotten rid of, I'm not so good at actually bringing the bags to charity. Mostly because I have no idea where to take them. I'd rather not have them picked up, because I'm in an apartment building, and it would be a pain to coordinate. I'm in Logan Square, & would like to find some place close to home.

So, where do Chicagoist readers take their clothing & other items they want to donate?

Many thanks! (tip of the hat)


Hello, Rocketslide!

We're hearing that the time for change is now, and that includes purging your life of too much stuff. We just recently moved, and managed to get rid of so many things we're a little confused as to where everything went. What's the opposite of a pack rat?

There are plenty of great places in Chicago to donate your things, and it's a nice sort of win-win situation in terms of giving to a charity and cleaning out your closets (and hopefully not buying too much more stuff once you browse around). Quite a few of those places will let you schedule appointments to have the stuff picked up at your place -- but we understand that's not what you're looking to do at all.

Specifically for Logan Square, your options seem pretty limited if you don't want to drive too far out of the neighborhood. We did find a resale shop that's attached to the Infant Welfare Society of America, the Infant Welfare Auxiliary at 3600 W. Fullerton (773-782-5041). They accept donations of clothing, small household items, and linens. The organization provides "community-based health care to uninsured and underserved children and women who would otherwise lack access to basic medical services." They provide dental, medical, gynecological, and mental health services as well as educational programs.

If you want to travel outside of Logan Square, here are some other ideas:

  • The Brown Elephant, (3651 N. Halsted, 773-549-5943; 5404 N. Clark, 773-271-9382; 217 Harrison in Oak Park, 708-445-0612), supporting Howard Brown Health Center, "one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) healthcare organizations."
  • Cornerstone Community Outreach (4628 N. Clifton, 773.303.0119) has a free store for the clients of its homeless shelter, job training programs, and other educational and social programs.
  • Sarah's Circle (4750 N. Sheridan, Suite 220, 773-728-1014) accepts donations of clothing for women and children to clothe the women at its women's social service agency.
  • White Elephant Resale Shop (2380 N. Lincoln Ave, 773-883-6184), which supports the non-profit Children's Memorial Hospital.

Wherever you drop off your goods, keep in mind that different places have different donation guidelines and things they will accept. Also, no one wants your old underwear, your stinky and dirty and completely ripped up clothes, and random objects you're just trying to get rid of that no one would possibly want. And keep anything explosive or dangerous out of that donation box while you're at it.

Also, in the effort to keep things out of the landfills, don't forget resources like Craigslist and Freecycle to give away things you can't donate (again, just toss the old underwear).

Where do you take your old clothes?

Image via thisvintagechica

Cleaning out the closets? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.