How to Organize a Successful Clothing Drive

organizing a clothing driveMany times we don’t get around to getting rid of our used and unwanted clothing and housewares because of our busy lives. Community leaders can help make it easier for their town by organizing Clothing Drives seasonally.

Four times a year (one for the end of each season) citizens and volunteers dedicated to a greener community can organize a Community Clothing Drive – a one-stop drop off for everyone in the town to stop by and get rid their used clothing, linens, bags, stuffed toys, curtains, blankets, shoes, etc… See our list of what to collect.

Here is an easy guide for organizing a successful Community Clothing Drive. If you are in Florida, Charter will pick up your clothing, recycle it, and pay you on the spot for what you collect. Click here to download a flyer you can use, instructions and a contact form.

Be On Top of It.

Flyer-in-a-dry-cleanerGive plenty of advance notice and publicize well. Create a simple and easy to read flyer with the date, location and what is being accepted. Ask merchants and community hubs to post the flyer in their windows. Good places to post:

  • Drycleaners
  • Laundromats
  • Libraries
  • Churches
  • Grocery stores
  • Beauty parlors and Barber Shops
  • Real Estate Agencies
  • Faculty Lounges in Schools

Believe or not, one of the best places for flyers is on the back of the doors of bathroom stalls at the favorite cafes and restaurants in your town.

Word of mouth is also very powerful:  have announcements made at churches, mosques and synagogues on meeting days. It’s always a good idea to have one point person in every neighborhood who can spread the word.

Be Clear.

Have images on your flyer of what you want, and images with a cross out for what you DO NOT want. If people bring unwanted items, have a resource sheet there for where they can bring their electronics, used batteries, etc… Your state’s Environmental Protection Agency is a good resource for what can be recycled and the facilities that accept specific materials.


Make sure to include that stained clothing and textiles are acceptable, but that everything should be clean. A school, church or community center are good locations to host your drive, especially since it is beneficial to have a 2 day event so that everyone can participate.

Be Prepared.

Volunteers-for-Clothing-DriveHave lots of heavy plastic bags on hand. Thin kitchen bags often break, so sturdy ones are best. Have plenty of hands on deck to inspect and bag items as they come in, so you won’t be too overwhelmed at the end. Have rubber bands for pairing shoes. Don’t worry about bagging similar items. Just make sure there are no sharp objects that can poke through and harm handlers. Pair shoes with rubber bands, tie shoestrings together or put them in a small plastic bag and tie it. Roll matching socks together. Even if you only have one shoe, give it. The material will be re-used for road building. If anything comes in pairs (like curtain panels) tie them together. And have transportation (like volunteers with pick-up trucks) available for the end of the day or weekend.

Make it Fun.

This is most important for success and longevity. Have food and drinks available and music playing (live is always best). You can sell baked goods and have games for kids or face painting. Having a clothing drive in conjunction with a bazaar or fun fair will attract more people and make the day more enjoyable for everyone. You can even have a prize for the person who contributes the most for a little incentive.

Clothing-Drive-VolunteersWhen your items are all bagged, have them picked up and bring them to your local bins. It’s that easy. If you are in Florida, Charter will pick up your clothing, recycle it, and pay you on the spot for what you collect. Click here to download a flyer you can use, instructions and a contact form.

If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to your community, a clothing drive can be just the thing. It not only helps your neighbors clear out their basements and closets, it helps those in need…and that’s good for everyone.

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