Closet and dresser cleanouts can be a cathartic experience. Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit or are no longer your style is a great way to whittle down your wardrobe to include only the pieces you love and really wear.
Taking tops and pants to a donation site or clothing drive is a fairly common practice, but women are often left with the question: what do I do with old bras? Whether you’ve outgrown them or they never quite fit right, donating these frees up space in your drawers to find a bra that fits you perfectly.
Luckily, there are many ways to reuse, recycle or donate bras instead of tossing them in the garbage. We share a few of those tips below:
You may have thought that donation sites only take brand new bras, but gently worn bras are also accepted at many clothing donation organizations. Organizations like I Support the Girls accept new and slightly used bras for people experiencing homelessness across the world.
Free the Girls is another great organization to donate gently used bras to. The organization helps women who have been rescued from sex trafficking to achieve financial freedom by offering them the opportunity to sell slightly used bras to their communities.
There are also many local donation organizations to look into in your area, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. However, whether Goodwill takes bras and other underwear depends on the need of your local Goodwill. It’s a good idea to call your local Goodwill to ask whether they take bras before bringing them in – otherwise, they may be tossed.
You could also try calling local schools or women’s shelters to see if they have a need for gently worn bras.
To help keep your used bras from contributing to that statistic, try mailing your old bras to an organization like The Bra Recyclers, which is a clothing recycling company dedicated to extending the lifespan of clothing items (such as bras) and cutting down on textile waste. No matter the condition of your bra, the organization will find a use for it.
Lastly, if your bra isn’t in a condition to be donated you can try a few different methods. Upcycling clothing is a common practice where you can take a bra and turn it into something new. A few ideas include:
- Use the padding for extra shoe support
- Repurpose your old bra into a new purse (Try this DIY tutorial)
- Sew the padding of your old bras into a backless dress or top to give you extra support
If your bras are made of natural fibers such as cotton, silk and wool, they can be composted. You’ll just want to remove any elastic and anything else that won’t biodegrade (including tags and any plastic) with scissors.
Next, cut the rest of the bra into small pieces so that it can compost more easily before putting the pieces into a compost bin or distributing them in soil. Easy peasy.
When you’re doing your next Marie Kondo sweep of your wardrobe, be sure to keep these tips in mind. And for additional tips, our friends at Tommy John have created a helpful infographic on how to use your old bras for good, including a donation checklist to ensure your bras are ready to go to a new home.