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Photograph: Jennifer KathrynJayna Cooke of Closet Angels

Five organizations that will help you donate used clothing

Cleaning out your closet? Let your used goods help others in need.


The Ark Thrift Shop The Ark is a community-funded health and human services nonprofit that cares for Jewish people in the Chicago area. The organization’s Wicker Park thrift shop accepts gently used clothing, furniture, appliances and other household items. Drop-offs can also be made the first Sunday of every month at its Northbrook location (3100 Dundee Rd, Northbrook), and you can call the shop to arrange a furniture and appliance pick-up. 1302 N Milwaukee Ave (773-862-5011).

Brown Elephant This local thrift-store chain has three locations in the Chicago area and accepts men and women’s clothing, as well as furniture and miscellaneous housewares. Proceeds from the stores fund services for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who are uninsured or underinsured. 3651 N Halsted St (773-549-5943); 5404 N Clark St (773-271-9382); 217 Harrison St, Oak Park (708-445-0612).

Closet Angels A former Groupon exec is behind this new organization that sells donated designer men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry on sites like eBay and then donates the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The process is simple: Closet Angels send you prepaid postage and an empty box, and once it receives your goods (in like-new condition and worth $50 or more), you’ll get a tax-donation receipt.

Dress for Success Getting back into the workforce can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t have the right interview outfit. This organization takes donated suits, dress jackets, slacks, skirts and blouses as well as new or gently used accessories and passes them along to disadvantaged women. Plus-size clothing is especially needed. 435 N LaSalle Lower Level 1 (773-221-1791,

2nd Chance Shop In addition to reselling donated vintage jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, designer clothes and other goods, this Oak Park shop also doubles as an animal shelter. Sales from the store benefit the Animal Care League shelter, a nonprofit that takes in homeless cats and dogs and provides them with food, shelter and medical attention until they’re adopted. 808 Harrison St, Oak Park (708-383-9660).

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