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Can you donate clothes during the coronavirus pandemic? What you need to know

Thrift stores and consignment sites are rolling out new policies for clothing sales and donations during the coronavirus pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

Many people are cleaning out their closets during the coronavirus quarantine, but with the highly contagious virus still spreading, there are questions about whether it’s safe to donate or sell clothes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines warn that COVID-19 can live on surfaces made from various materials, including clothing, anywhere from a matter of hours to days.

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Stay at home orders are in effect across the United States, which means most thrift and consignment stores are closed. Here’s a look at who is still accepting items and what people should know before getting rid of their unwanted belongings.

Salvation Army

The thrift store isn’t doing donation pickups during the pandemic and is only accepting much-needed items, including nonperishable food, diapers, cleaning and hygiene products. Donations can be dropped off at Salvation Army service centers, although the organization said the way to make the biggest impact right now is through a financial donation.


Goodwill recommends people check with their local stores before bringing in donations. The thrift store’s website warns that some stores, including those in New York and New Jersey, are closed during the pandemic.

Housing Works

Housing Works is not accepting donations during the pandemic, but said on its website that it is working on an “alternative donation drop-off strategy” soon. While its retail stores are closed, its online shop is still open during the pandemic. People can also support the charity with a monetary donation or by purchasing a gift card to use at a later date.

The charity, which benefits veterans, isn’t taking clothing donations at this time.

“To our donors, unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our pickup services have been temporarily discontinued. We will be back to business once the restrictions are lifted,” said a message on its website.

Career Gear

Career Gear gives men re-entering the workforce professional attire to help them get started. The site is directing people to its PayPal page if they’d like to make a donation during the pandemic.

Dress for Success

All in-person activities are suspended during the pandemic. Dress for Success recommends people check in with their local affiliates for updates or to make a monetary donation to the organization.

Buffalo Exchange

While the retail stores are closed, Buffalo Exchange is still letting people sell by mail.


The online consignment shop is still allowing people to buy and sell clothing items, but made it clear it won’t tolerate price gouging.

"A big question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s safe to send and receive packages. Yes, you can continue to ship and receive packages, according to today’s guidance from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you updated,” the company said in an update.


Retail locations are closed, but the company is still letting people mail items.

“We are taking proactive steps within our warehouse facilities to train our staff on the CDC’s preventative guidelines as well as ensuring the continued availability of hand sanitizer, gloves, and hand washing facilities for our employees,” the company said in an update. “Based on the guidance we’ve received from health agencies, and our own stringent practices, we remain confident in the safety of our operations and our ability to deliver standout service to our customers.”

The RealReal

The RealReal is still letting people sell from home. They’re also offering to arrange free UPS pickup for anyone who wants to donate much-needed medical supplies to first responders, such as hand sanitizer and masks.