Although scoring deals on clothes can be fun, did you know there are ways to get free clothes?
We all need clothes. For many people, buying clothes is a huge part of their budget. Wearing clothes is a pretty important part of being human, and wearing clothes that you like plays a huge role in how you feel and is a big part of expressing who you are. Fashion is not merely about covering ourselves with garments but is a way to express who we are and how we want to be perceived. Dress codes and appropriate clothing are some of the many ways we signal to the world our personality and how we want to be treated.
All this is to say that the clothes that we wear represent a big part of our lives and it can be hard to cut down on our spending in that area.
Those of us with kids also know how important having the right clothes is to our children. Constantly buying clothes that fit, are appropriate for the weather, and that our kids will agree to wear can get very expensive!
You may know about all the best ways to get deals on clothes or how to shop the clearance racks like a pro, but did you know that you can get free clothes? Yep! Imagine what that would do to your budget? A little creativity and know-how can help you score free clothes for yourself and your children!
The Eco Aspect of Buying New Clothes
In today's world of fast fashion, it can be tempting to buy super cheap clothing on sites like AliExpress or Shein (or even Children's Place and Old Navy), but did you know that you can harm the environment by purchasing clothes from these places?
According to academic estimates, as much as 20% to 35% of all primary source microplastics in the marine environment are from synthetic clothing (Source). Forget plastic straws! The clothes that we buy are ruining the environment at a rapidly growing pace. More and more clothing is being produced, and more and more pollution is being dumped into our oceans. Take this fact: the clothing industry makes 400% more clothes now than 20 years ago (Source). That is partly because clothing manufacturers have convinced us that we should buy lots of clothes and get rid of them once we are finished with them. We must buy new clothes to wear, instead of using clothes that are used.
Purchasing fast fashion items directly contributes to the global polluting machine responsible for 8% of the world's carbon emissions (source). That is a pretty big number. That is one of the many problematic issues of the fast fashion industry, including child labor, slave labor, unsafe working conditions, and much more.
Not all these free clothes are ethically sourced or not from fast fashion, but most are! So you can save your budget and save the world at the same time- pretty cool, huh? Every time you buy a used clothing item or re-use something, you are doing your part to keep this planet safer for everyone – and you can pad your retirement account at the same time! That is what I call a win-win!
Read on to find out the best places to get some free clothes for you and your family.
10 Ways To Get Free Clothes
1. Clothing Exchanges
Did you know that most women wear at most 30% of the clothes in their wardrobes (source)? Because women's bodies change so often, many women have clothes that no longer fit them but are still in excellent condition. Add in all those social conventions that pressure women to buy different types of clothes for every single occasion, and many women have piles of clothes that they never wear.
Consider hosting a clothing exchange with some friends or neighbors. Everyone takes the clothes they no longer wear, and everyone exchanges clothes for the items they want. Do you have a bridesmaid dress that you will never wear again? Your party-going friend may find that perfect dress for her next night out. No longer wear suits to the office? Your newly-graduated niece may need those office clothes for her new job. You get to declutter your home and get some free clothes at the same time!
2. Swap Clothes Online
Want a clothing exchange but don't have anyone to swap with, or you don't want to leave your house? Well, head on over to RehashClothes. Rehashclothes.com is a great place to exchange your clothes online. So post what you no longer want and what you are looking for, and get swapping!
3. Hand Me Downs
I love hand-me-downs! Hand-me-downs are a great way to get free clothes, especially for children. Find family members or friends with older or younger kids than yours and pass on your clothes to each other! That is particularly great for baby clothes (babies often outgrow clothing before they have a chance to wear them out), school uniforms, or clothes for specific occasions (coats, dress clothes, etc.).
I find that regular play clothes often get worn out quickly, but even those can be repurposed as “messy clothes.” There is no reason why a faded t-shirt can't be worn when playing in the mud or paint, even if you wouldn't send your child to school in it.
4. Look on Facebook Groups
You may avoid Facebook to avoid your great-aunt's conspiracy theory posts, but Facebook can be a treasure trove of all things free, including free clothes. Join a Buy Nothing Group in your area or a Sell and Swap group and see who gives away some free clothes. You would be surprised at how much free stuff you can get. Since you don't always know who is giving away the items, make sure to always meet in a safe place and wash all clothing items well before wearing them. You can also do your part by posting about the clothes you're finished with and helping someone else get some free clothes as well.
5. Don't Forget to Check Craigslist
Don't overlook Craigslist! Many people use Craigslist to post about the stuff they are giving away, including free clothes! This can be very hit or miss, so you need a bit of patience (and a good washing machine!). As always, when picking up clothes from someone you don't know, follow the safety rules (pick up in a well-lit, public place and always tell someone where you are going).
6. Check Out Freecycle.org
Freecycle.org is a grassroots, non-profit website committed to helping people give and find items for free. Signing up is free, and you can check out what items people in your area are giving away for free. It's a great website to help you find anything you need for free; free clothes are one of the many types of items listed. Of course, you can list your items as well and help someone else!
7. Earn Rewards Points (and spend them on clothing)
Sometimes we have to buy clothes (you can't get everything for free!), and when you do, make sure you are signed up for every rewards program there is! Most rewards programs are free to join (they need your email address and phone number to sign you up), and you score rewards points on the purchases you make. So buy underwear, socks, and those jeans for your to fit teen, and then use the rewards points to get some free clothes as well!
8. Cash In Your Credit Card Reward Points
If you are spending money anyway (and who doesn't?), then you may as well get some free clothes out of it. Put purchases on a credit card that gives you rewards points (and pay it off immediately), and then use those rewards points to get some free clothes! This is particularly great when you get a credit card that gives you double points or 1.5 points per dollar spent, and then you can cash it in for a good deal on a gift card. Make sure you cash it on for a gift card for a store where you know you will go shopping. You don't want to have a gift card sitting around that you never use!
9. Get Free T-shirts and Other Swag
Need pajamas or clothes to wear around the house? If you don't mind walking around with a brand name on your shirt, then grab some free t-shirts or other items (sweatshirts, hats, pants, etc.) from companies who are eager to get their swag out there! You can sign up online to have companies send you t-shirts for free (these also make great pajamas!).
Companies often do this in exchange for your email address, so consider setting up a secondary email address to avoid having your primary email overwhelmed with emails. Another cool way to get some free t-shirts? If you or a friend frequents trade shows, you can score some serious swag there, so don't sit the next one out.
10. Enter Giveaways
This one takes a bit more patience and is unreliable, but you can enter giveaways to get some free clothes! When you have some free time, grab your phone and get on social media! Check out which brands are offering giveaways of free clothes or gift cards (which you can use to get clothes) and start entering!
There are many reasons why you may want to find free clothes for you and your family to wear. Whether you are concerned about the environment, whether you want to save some money, or hate clothes shopping (or all of the above!), finding free clothes can be a great way to reduce your consumption and save that hard-earned money for other important things!
Robyn is a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. She has her MBA and has been studying Personal Finance on her own for as long as she can remember.
She has always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start her blog after a period of extended unemployment. She says that experience really changed the way she viewed her relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education. Read more at A Dime Saved.