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I once found a heavenly soft, black, 100% cashmere sweater.  It featured a mock turtleneck, cable braids, and short sleeves- super cute.  But it was waaay too small for me, so I gifted it to my then 13-year old daughter.  “Oooh, it’s so soft,” she cooed, as she rubbed it over her face.  “Where’s it from?” she asked.

“The dumpster,” I replied. 

True story.  It was balled up in one of many bags filled with clothing that someone, in a haste to pack up and move out of our apartment complex, had tossed into the dumpster.  This gorgeous sweater looked brand new: no holes, rips, stains, or stink- no joke.  [Yes, I am a dumpster diver.  But that’s a separate article.]

Someone threw away a likely brand new cashmere sweater?  Yep.  In my dumpster diving excursions, I’ve perused many a bag of clothing- some brand new with tags, and plenty that should have gone into hazardous waste disposal instead.  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American landfills received 11.13 million tons of municipal solid waste textile (clothing) in 2018. That breaks down to each American tossing 81 pounds of clothing that same year.  About the same weight as my daughter when I found that sweater.   Isn’t there a better, more thoughtful way to offload clothing we don’t like, don’t wear, or that doesn’t fit?  

You bet.  Below is a short list of options for offloading clothing beyond the ubiquitous Goodwill and Salvation Army.  The first few are for my fellow San Diegans, and the rest is  for everybody.  Be sure to check websites for guidelines on how to donate, and maybe even make a little extra cash while you’re at it! 


  • Buffalo Exchange:  Locations in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. Buffalo Exchange pays 25% of their selling price in cash or PayPal, or 50% in a Digital Trade Card.  They also use environmentally conscious practices and make their own charitable contributions.
  • Flashbacks:  Another Hillcrest favorite. If you’ve got a lot of vintage clothing you’d like to offload, this is the place for you.
  • My Sister’s Closet:  Encinitas Village.   Consignment for upscale, designer  clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories.  


  • thredUP:  An online option for secondhand clothing and accessories, including designer labels. You can sell or donate items using their clean-out kit. (Donations are made to the charity of your choice). 
  • H&M:  They will recycle your clothing from any brand in any condition.  As a reward, you get a coupon for your next purchase.
  • The North Face:  They send your gently used clothing and shoes (any brand) to Soles4Souls, a non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing.  Earn a $10 reward toward your next purchase of $100 or more.

Not sure where to take a specific item for recycling?  Email a picture of your item to me at [email protected].  I’ll help you find a second home it.