Years later, James and I met each other during undergrad at Dartmouth College.
After graduating from business school and working for a couple of years, we reconnected and played around with a couple of business ideas. Ultimately we decided that we wanted to help people get back the time and energy they spend taking care of their clothes. Hence, Rinse was born during a meeting at Caffe Union in San Francisco (it was actually called RinseNow at that time).
We did it - we got our first customer! James and I decided to go for a run before getting ready to collect our first order. While we on our run, we got a message from our first customer letting us know they actually needed us to stop by now. We stopped mid-run and went straight to their apartment to collect their clothes.
Speaking of our first customer, here is she is: Ilana Stern. She’s still with us today!
As our customer list grew and my apartment began to overflow with bags of laundry and dry cleaning, we realized we needed to get an office, and decided on 2525 Van Ness. Not too long after, we outgrew this place. It was good problem to have.
As our customers list grew, our team had to keep up. We started off with just a couple of people on the team. This is our team today.
With the early success we saw in our first locale, San Francisco, we knew we wanted to take Rinse to cities across the nation. We’re now live in 5 cities, with more on the horizon.
(picture of US map)
There’s so much more to come and we can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned for the rest of Rinse’s story!
Important things to keep in mind before you donate your used clothing.
Do you have old clothes starting to pile up or taking up space in your closet? Perhaps something doesn’t fit you anymore, or an outfit you received as a gift that isn’t your style. Instead of throwing away unwanted clothes, consider donating them!
Why donate old and unused clothes:
- Did you know that Americans, on average, throw away 81 pounds of clothes, per person, each year? That’s more than 15 million tons of used textile waste created each year in the US alone.
- The average lifespan of a garment is three years, but if that were extended by just three months, it’s water and carbon footprints would be reduced by 5-10%. Donating your clothing gives that garment a second life and reduces waste!
- Donating the clothes you no longer want supports those in need. Depending on where you donate, your clothes may go directly to the underprivileged or disaster victims in need of clothing, or it they might be resold to raise funds for local charities and projects.
- Culling through your closet regularly to remove clutter, will help you stay organized and save time when getting ready
- It’s easy to donate!
Hands down, clothing donation is the way to go, but before you start bagging up old clothes left and right, we’ve made a checklist to ensure your clothes are donation-ready!
Clothing Donation To Do’s
1. First things first, identify clothing to donate:
A quick rule of thumb for clothing donations: If an item is in good condition (no stains, holes or tears) and is clean, it’s probably perfect for clothing donation.
Ideal for clothing donation:
- Is anything collecting dust in your closet or at the bottom of your drawer? Consider donating clothes you simply don’t wear anymore.
- Too small or tight? It’s time to pass it down to someone else. No longer going through “that phase”? Get rid of anything that you doesn’t fit your style.
- Don’t be afraid to include high-end items like a suite or formal dress. Many donation centers will take those items aside for special programs and charities that help people in need look sharp for a job interview or for special event like prom.
Not acceptable for clothing donation:
- No undergarments. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Undies are items that need to be bought new -- no matter how cute your old ones are.
- Does your old favorite shirt have a hole in it? Then it’s time to repurpose, recycle, or throw it away. Only consider donating items that are like new/gently worn.
- Do your shorts still have a weird smell? That’s a no for us dawg.
- If any of your clothes have spots or stains on them, try to remove them yourself or take it to a professional. If the stain won’t budge, then sadly the item should not be donated and instead repurposed.
2. Make sure all items have been recently washed/dry cleaned:
You want your clothing donations to be fresh and clean for their new owner!
3. Get the clothes to the donation center/charity :
This one may seem pretty obvious but without a plan, chances are your bag of donations may end up sitting the the garage or closet for another 6 months. To make things simple, here are two options to get those items out the door!
- Option 1 - Rinse will pick up your clothing donations, free of charge with any Rinse order. You can check if you’re in our service area here.
- Option 2 - Drop your clothes off at a local charity. Here is a great list of national and local organizations that accept clothing donations, how to locate them, and the cause that your donations will go to support!
Clothing Donation Alternatives
If your clothes are too far past their prime to be donated, don’t despair, you can also repurpose or recycle them and minimize your environmental footprint.
Repurpose old clothes:
Some old clothes can become dust rags used for cleaning while other types of clothes like shirts can easily be turned into dog toys. (Here is a great how-to video for cutting up old shirts and braiding them into chew toys — It’s a fun project for kids and if you create too many, local animal shelters often welcome toys of any kind to keep their pups entertained.)
Recycle clothes, towels and bedsheets that aren't fit for donation:
If you can’t find any way to use your old clothes around the house you can always reach out to local nonprofits about helping you with textile recycling. Oftentimes, they may be able to facilitate taking your old clothes to textile recyclers. If you need a jumpstart looking into recycling options check out Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (“SMART”).
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Believe it or not, spring is here! Not spring-ready? Don’t sweat it. Here’s our official cheat sheet to help you say goodbye to winter, and hello to spring.
Transition your clothes! Clear the winter wear out of your closet and dresser, and refresh with spring appropriate pieces. A leaner wardrobe not only empowers you to live a tidier, happier life, but will also save you hours of time spent searching. And less time digging through your closet means more time enjoying the warmer weather!
Pro-tip: before packing away your winter clothes, clean them! Why? For starters, bugs are attracted to odors - even ones undetectable to us humans - and will find your dirty sweater irresistible. Those odors may also settle in over time, giving you an unpleasant surprise next fall when you pull that sweater out again. And pay special attention to stains - stains left on clothing can darken during storage and, like odors, attract bugs. Having your clothes washed, folded and dry-cleaned (especially important for winter coats) will ensure that your garments stay much safer and fresher for much longer.
- Store your seasonal stuff! Thanks to on-demand services like Clutter, making space in your home has never been easier. Clutter comes to you, packs your stuff, and then hauls it away to its secure storage facility. Need your stuff back? Go online to browse your photo inventory and schedule a delivery with the click of a button. Clutter is perfect for all those winter accessories you know you don’t need for awhile – from your holiday decorations and coats, to your skis and snowboards.
For $50 off Clutter, mention code RINSE50 when checking out.
- Anything left over? Being truly spring-ready also means spring cleaning. Open up your closets and use Post-It notes to label each item as “Keep,” “Store,” “Donate” or “Sell.” Rinse has several partnerships with local charity programs, including St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program, Out of the Closet, and Goodwill in San Francisco.