What Happens to the Clothing You Donate to Goodwill?

You may already know that Goodwill is the place to go when you want to offload any clothes that you no longer want or need. But have you ever wondered what happens to the clothing that you donate to Goodwill?

Goodwill's cycle of success logo

Goodwill’s Cycle of Success

Here’s a look at the amazing journey your clothes take after you donate them to Goodwill:

Goodwill Retail Stores

It’s quick and easy to drop donated items off at your nearest Ohio Valley Goodwill donation center. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes after you donate! Your donated items enter a massive processing center, where they are sorted by Goodwill employees who determine what can be sellable at our network of 19 retail stores.

Clothing racks at Goodwill Oxford Store

Clothing racks at Goodwill Oxford Store

Because our retail stores offer gently-used goods at everyday low prices, the items that you no longer want or need could end up being someone else’s treasure! Our innovative donation-resale model generates revenue for job skills training and employment services for individuals with disabilities, our nation’s veterans, and others facing challenges to finding employment right here in the Greater Cincinnati community.

Goodwill Outlet Store

Bin at Goodwill outlet with children's toys inside

Goodwill outlet bins

Ohio Valley Goodwill receives a constant flow of donated goods, so when merchandise doesn’t sell in one of our retail stores after a few weeks, we make room for fresh donations! We move unsold merchandise to our Goodwill outlet store, where items are priced by the pound. This gives savvy thrift shoppers a significant discount! The merchandise at Goodwill outlet stores is rotated every few hours, so you’re guaranteed to find something new every time you shop!

As-Is Auction

Anything that doesn’t sell at an outlet store is put up for auction at one of our live auctions. At Ohio Valley Goodwill, we feature thousands of items up for auction on a bi-weekly basis to provide shoppers the best value possible. We also hold a weekly auto auction of donated vehicles on Saturday mornings. Just like our retail operations, Goodwill’s auctions help generate revenue for life-changing programs and services.

Row of 5 Cars at Goodwill Auto Auction in Cincinnati

Goodwill Auto Auction

Recycle and Salvage

Finally, if donated items are still not sold (or if they don’t meet Goodwill’s quality standards in the first place), we find ways to recycle or salvage them and give them a new life. As part of our commitment to environmental sustainability, Goodwill organizations work with recycling partners to divert millions of pounds of reusable materials from landfills each year! So, even if you have clothing items that are slightly damaged, don’t throw them in the trash. You can still donate them to Goodwill and contribute to a more sustainable community.

Donate to Goodwill today!

Donation box with clothes

Get ready to donate to Goodwill!

When you donate to Goodwill, you’re doing more than cleaning out your closet; you’re creating jobs in your community! Your donation and shopping support make it possible for Ohio Valley Goodwill to continue our mission to change lives through the power of work. We love to share the Success Stories of individuals we’ve served, thanks to the support of community members like you!

Ohio Valley Goodwill has multiple convenient donation centers, making it simple to donate in Cincinnati! Find out more about the benefits of donating to Goodwill here.