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Shop Green By Recycling Your Wardrobe

Peninsula thrift shops, consignment stores and vintage boutiques are more than just a bargain shopper’s paradise. They also keep clothing from ending up in the landfill, provide local jobs and support the local economy.

Do you love going on a treasure hunt at your favorite Peninsula thrift, searching for bargains on high-quality, gently used clothing and accessories?

Do you love the art and craft of re-making old clothing into new creations?

Or is the whole second-hand idea just not your cup of tea?

Wherever you fit in the mix, there’s a role for you in the ecosystem of wardrobe recycling.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 13 million tons of textiles are discarded every year, taking up more than 5 percent of our landfill space. Fewer than 15 percent of all used textiles get recycled, meaning they are re-used as the same clothing or taken apart and repurposed for new fashions or accessories.

So whether you donate your used clothing to an organization that will make sure it gets put to good use or shop ‘til you drop at local thrifts, vintage and consignment shops, you are doing your part to prevent waste and make a valuable resource available to others.

Many of the thrift shops run by nonprofits also provide job training programs, so your donations or dollars also have a social benefit. And most vintage and consignment shops are locally owned, keeping your dollars circulating here on the Peninsula.

Don’t Discard, Donate! 

Finding a good home for your lightly used clothing and accessories is easy on the Peninsula, with dozens of thrift or vintage shops, and a handful of consignment stores available.

If you have special items, such as children’s clothing or women’s business outfits, consider targeted programs like Samaritan House or the Career Closet. If you have more than you want to load into the car and deliver as a tax-deductible donation to any local shop, consider using Freecycle (it’s great for giving things to your neighbors, as well as finding items they offer for free). 

Finally, if you’re an avid crafter, look for the next Swap-o-rama in this area (or organize it yourself). It’s like a clothing swap party with your friends—an even easier event to organize)—but on a big scale and with projects you can make on-site. 

Savvy Shopping

If you love a good bargain on any style of clothing, you are likely to find it at one of these Peninsula shops: 

  • Menlo Park—Afterwards, American Cancer Society, Goodwill
  • El Granada—Alternative Thrift
  • Palo Alto—Bargain Box, Goodwill, Victoria’s Closet
  • Pacifica—Carla’s Clutter
  • San Mateo—Turnstyle Thrift, Goodwill, St. Vincent, Vintagefusions, Yellow Brick Road
  • Burlingame—E Scales, Norquist Salvage, Pick of the Litter Thrift
  • S. SF—Goodwill, Raf Factory, St. Vincent de Paul
  • San Bruno—, , 
  • Half Moon Bay—Next to New Thrift Shop
  • Redwood City—Savers, St. Vincent de Paul, Thrift Village
  • Daly City—Savers, St. Vincent, Thrift Village
  • San Carlos—St. Vincent de Paul, Thrift Center
Judi October 15, 2011 at 03:19 PM
There is a thrift store at the South end of Laurel that benefits community social programs. Can't remember the name.... something "tree" I think.
Vanessa Castañeda October 15, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Is that the Junior League's Gatehouse?
David Nakai October 15, 2011 at 06:27 PM
I believe it's called "Family Tree"
Ronica Smucker October 16, 2011 at 08:34 PM
The Shop in Menlo Park, operated by the Junior League. Merry-go Round also in Menlo Parked, owned by a SC resident--my personal favorite.
Margo McAuliffe December 11, 2011 at 04:37 AM
I'm sure there are agencies in East Palo Alto that would give your used clothing to people who have none. Anyone have any ideas?

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