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Back-to-school shopping: Clean out your closet for rewards

The solution to paying for back-to-school expenses is hiding in your closet.
/ Source: TODAY

Believe it or not, you already own the smartest way to save on back-to-school shopping.

No, it's not that crumpled up coupon you just threw away. Garment recycling is the ultimate way to reap rewards while doing good.

More than 40 retailers now offer new ways to exchange old clothing, shoes, accessories and even empty cosmetics containers for big discounts.

Here are 12 of our favorites that will reward you for giving back what you no longer need.

1. H&M

Take old clothing and home items, like bedding or towels, to the nearest H&M location and drop it in one of their in-store collection boxes for a sweet coupon that will save you 15 percent off a future purchase. Until Aug. 23, H&M sweetens the deal even further by offering double vouchers.

2. Kenneth Cole

Bring a bag of clothing, shoes, or other household goods you no longer need into any Kenneth Cole store and recieve 20 percent off a new pair of shoes.

3. Amazon

For everything else your kiddos need for back to school, ship old goods from Amazon back to the company and they'll send you back Amazon gift cards.

4. Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher pays you $5 for every item you've bought, worn, loved and now returned.

5. Madewell

Stop second-guessing that old pair of jeans sitting in your closet collecting dust. Instead, bring them to any Madewell store and receive 20 dollars off a new pair.

You'll be proud you did — Blue Jeans Go Green turns that old denim into housing insulation for communities around the country.

6. The North Face

It might not be a huge difference, but we'll take anything we can get when it comes to discounts on a cozy North Face jacket. If you've got old clothes and shoes to get rid of, bring them to any North Face retail or outlet store for 10 dollars off your next purchase if it's 100 dollars or more.

7. Levi's

You don't even have to go to a store to reap these benefits. Simply pack up old jeans or other clothing items and bring them to your nearest post office using this ever-so-convenient pre-paid shipping label. Fact: These clothes will be headed to a nearby Goodwill.

In return, Levi's will reward you with 20 percent off a future item with a $5 donation in Levi Strauss' name to Goodwill. File this under things we like to hear.

8. Kiehl's

If you simply cannot get enough of Kiel's products (we can't either), then make it a habit to bring every empty, full-size bottle into the store to rack up stamps on a rewards card. When you earn 10 stamps, you'll be eligible to redeem one free travel-sized product.

9. MAC

If you love MAC products (who doesn't?) and have at least six packaging containers lying around, take them to the closest counter immediately to trade them in for a free lipstick!

10. Lush

Want a free Lush face mask? Now we've got your attention.

If you're an avid Lush fan and have accumulated five or more plastic pots that had originally housed a liquid product, bring them to your local Lush retailer and they'll reward you with a free mask.

11. Apple

Rewards work for tech, too! Apple offers store credit when you bring in an old device.

12. Best Buy

Bring back an old printer to your nearest Best Buy and they will take it off your hands and give you 15 percent off a new HP Inkjet system. They'll even give you $2 off fresh ink for every empty cartridge you bring along.

Parts of this story were originally published on April 18, 2017.