Do you want to donate your clothes for a good cause? When you donate, around 80 percent of clothes end up in a collection which is a container, a charity shop, or a recycling point. From there, these clothes begin their journey to the local homeless shelter, a regional sorting depot, and even the international second-hand textiles market. Donating clothes can serve social and environmental causes.
A few pointers to remember while donating clothes are
- Only donate clean and intact clothing
- Only bring what the organizations ask for (most of the times they require seasonal items since few of them have storage space. Tip: Men’s clothing is always in higher demand than women’s clothing)
- Don’t dump your donations in front of closed doors. Especially during the pandemic, it is highly advised that you call or email before to find out what and how to donate.
Clothes bins in Berlin
Have you seen some metal cube-like containers around your neighborhood? These are clothes donation bins. For people looking to dispose of garments with minimum effort, these containers are perfect: just throw in your clothes and forget about them.
Berlin has around 6000 donation bins sprawled all across Berlin that donate clothes to various causes. Careful! Some bins donate to private businesses, some donate to charities, and others to the red cross. If there is no name on the bin, you can assume that the bin is not for charity. While using the donation bins, the clothes must be in plastic bags to protect them. Shoes that you donate must be tied. It is also recommended to donate clothes for the current season so that people can make the maximum use of them.
Donating clothes to charity organizations
Many charities accept donated clothes. The charity clothes bins have the FairWertung logo on them. FairWertung e.V. is the umbrella organization of non-profit organizations that collects clothing. Before you decide to donate clothes, you need to be aware of who the operator of the container. A map of the donation bins in Berlin can be found here.
Some charities accepting clothes in Berlin are:
This foundation supports development projects in 27 countries. To finance its work, aktion hoffnung collects clothing and shoes in good condition and markets them according to the criteria established by FairWertung e.V. in a socially compatible, ecologically, and developmentally sensible manner. The donation bins of this organization nearest to you can be found here.
About 10 percent of the amount collected remains in the clothes and kilo shops and is passed on to socially disadvantaged people. The remaining 90 percent is sold to a recycling company. Wearable and well-preserved clothes, washed and packed in bags and shoes bundled in pairs are to be brought to the nearest Red cross or Rotkreuz used clothes container.
The Deutsche Kleiderstiftung or the Clothing Foundation accepts donations at containers in many cities in Germany and also in churches. You could also send it to them by post for free via DHL or Hermes. Find the nearest donation location here.
A non-profit organization that takes care of homeless people in Berlin. According to their principle, “helping is easy”. The current list of required items is requested to be looked at before donating. You can either send the clothes to them by post or visit them.
Their main program “the heavenly clothes closet” was able to provide 1444 people who are in need (especially homeless people and refugees) clothes in the last month. Their website says, “If you still have a pair of sneakers in good condition for us, then please think of us”. Head over to the Berlin Stadt Mission website to know how you can donate.
Many refugees still need baby diapers, clothing, and much more because the social benefits are often insufficient. The most important thing for them is that the distribution of clothes is the possibility to get in contact with people and to find out about the existing problems. Get in touch with them to donate.
Caritas Association is constantly looking for clothes, shoes, towels, and bed linen in good condition. Mostly young families who have to budget with very little money are the beneficiaries. Besides, the clothing donations benefit women and children in the women’s refuge home as well as the homeless and refugees.
An organization operating with various facilities, you can donate clothes, towels, bed linen, sleeping bags, or hygiene articles privately. All offers and facilities of the Berliner kältehilfe with the respective contact addresses can be found here. If you would like to donate a large number of duvets, clothing, food, etc. on a commercial basis, please contact the Berlin Cold Aid Coordination Office. You can find the contact details here.
Amongst various plans for homeless people like outpatient housing assistance, emergency overnight accommodation for homeless women, and daycare center for the homeless, they also accept clothes. Head over to their website to see what they currently accept and their working hours.
This organization stands “For a just world, without poverty”. With the money they earn in their second-hand shops, they support the social and development work of Oxfam Germany eV. They accept autumn and winter clothes from late summer and spring and summer clothes at the end of the winter. Manageable quantities of clothes like a bag or a box are to be brought to the store.
You can find the nearest Oxfam shop and donate your clothes.
Operated by non-profits, they have several projects for the mentally ill and homeless people. You can find information about how to donate your clothes here.
More places to donate your clothes
Besides all of the above, there are still many places in Berlin where you could donate your used clothes.