re-fashionNYC: Making It Easy To Provide For The Needy

By HarlemGuy

A few years ago a few residents in my building organized a clothing collection drive.  It went well if I recall.  Which is why is was so pleased to receive a flier in the mail regarding re-fashionNYC, an innovate program making it easy for buildings to simplify the art of giving.  The one thing I would like even more is to see one of these in my building.  Or in any building.  Take our poll and let us know if you’ve seen any of these in Harlem and if so where.

Below are excerpts from’s web site.



Annually NYC residents throw away approximately 200,000 tons of clothes, towels, blankets, curtains, shoes, handbags, belts, and other textiles and apparel. Why New Yorkers sometimes choose to toss out rather than donate their unwanted clothes is believed to be a matter of convenience.

re-fashioNYC is a partnership between the City of New York and Housing Works to make clothing donation as easy as possible through convenient in-building drop-off service.

The partnership is unique because it provides any participating building of 10 units or more with convenient donation services at no cost to the building or taxpayers. The program is expected to grow slowly in response to participation requests and Housing Works ability to expand its services.

How the Program Works

If you’re a building owner or manager of a building with more than 10 units, you’ll be the one to sign up.

Step 1: fill out online inquiry form with basic information about your building or site. We will then send you a program application where you will need to include contact information for an on-site staff person (an on-site manager, custodian, porter, doorman, or other on-site employee) who we will train to call or email us when the bin is full, or if there are any questions or concerns about the program.

Step 2: We work with you to schedule a site visit. During the visit, we’ll discuss how many bins you want, what sizes are best for you, and where they should be placed. We’ll also answer any general questions you have about waste prevention, reuse, and recycling in your building.

Step 3: We provide you with re-fashioNYC Service Plan confirming all the details of your participation. After you’ve reviewed the plan, we’ll schedule the delivery of your donation bin on a first-come, first-served basis.  This may take up to three months.

After you receive your bins, simply call or email us when a pickup is needed. We guarantee collection within 5 business days. If your bin fills up on a regular basis, we can pre-schedule set pickups. If anything comes up, you can reach us right away.

Tax receipts are available. People who drop donations in the bin that are valued at less than $250 can use the tax receipt forms supplied with the bin itself. Donations over $250 must be brought to a Housing Works Thrift Shop location.

Frequently Asked Questions

What items can be deposited into the re-fashioNYC donation bins?
We encourage donations of any clean fabric or material, including clothing, towels, linens, curtains, or clean rags; as well as shoes and accessories such as belts and handbags.

What is the size of the re-fashioNYC donation bins and what do they look like?
re-fashioNYC donation bins are roughly six feet high and four feet wide. The larger size is approximately 3 1/2 feet deep and the smaller size is roughly 2 feet deep. Bins are assembled on site by our crews. The bins are heavy gauge metal and tamper-proof. They are white with attractive graphics and instructions telling people how to use the bin.

If I’m a tenant, how do I get my building signed up?
Use our online inquiry form to let us know where to send an invitation letter and brochure. We’ll contact your building manager and encourage them to sign up.

What are the responsibilities of the on-site staff person?
One or more staff agree to meet us for an initial site visit and be there when the donation bins are delivered. Then they just contact us when the bins are nearly full, or if other issues arise. That’s it!

How will we know when the re-fashioNYC donation bin is (nearly) full?
The donation bin we supply is designed so you can see into the top area. It will be clear to the responsible site person when it’s time to call for service.

What if someone throws garbage in the re-fashioNYC donation bin?
If this happens (which should be rare), we will collect the contents and work with you to resolve the issue through educational materials for your tenants.

Is it OK to deposit items in plastic bags?
Yes, you can deposit donations loose or in bags. Clear plastic bags are encouraged.

How do individuals get tax receipts for their donations?
The outside of the clothing bin contains a supply of forms that donors can use to list their donations. Donation receipt forms can also be printed out online. No validation is needed for tax purposes if donations are valued at $250 or under. Any donation valued at more than $250 can be validated by bringing the form, along with the donation, to any Housing Works Thrift Shop location.

What if we no longer want to participate in re-fashioNYC?
Simply contact us and we’ll arrange to have the donation bin(s) removed.

Is there a limit to how many buildings can participate in re-fashioNYC?
No, we want as many buildings to participate as possible! With nearly 200,000 tons of clothing, linens, and accessories going into the garbage every year, we need every donation we can get. However, because this is a new program, enrollment will take place on a first-come, first-served basis, with an initial waiting period of up to three months for bin placement.  Once your bin is installed, we’ll guarantee to respond to your calls for pickup within five business days.

What happens to clothes and other items deposited into the re-fashioNYC donation bins?
Your donations will be picked up and transported to Housing Works’ warehouse in Queens for sorting. Some donations will be sold in Housing Works’ shops throughout NYC or at one of their regular “all-you-can-stuff” warehouse sales. Some leftovers from these sales will be shipped to another nonprofit thrift shop in Haiti, while others will be made available to different nonprofit thrift shops for sale in their stores. The rest will be sold to a used textile merchant for recycling or export to overseas markets. In all cases, the profits generated from the sale of your donations will benefit low-income and homeless New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

How does re-fashioNYC differ from other clothing donation programs?
Unlike existing thrift shops and charitable operations that receive donations in their shops or pick up door to door, re-fashioNYC allows you to make donations from the convenience of your own building whenever you want. In contrast to for-profit used clothing companies that supply similar collection bins, re-fashioNYC is 100% nonprofit and charitable.

Does this program cost NYC any money?
No. NYC oversees the operations of the program but it is self-funded through the sale of your donations.

Why was Housing Works selected as the charitable partner for re-fashioNYC?
Of the many charitable organizations that answered New York City’s partnership offer, Housing Works proposed the best plan for getting the most value out of the donations and routing them back to help New Yorkers in need. According to this partnership, Housing Works is the sole and exclusive textile recycler operating on behalf of New York City.

What is the mission of Housing Works?
Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Their mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain their efforts.

Why can’t clothing be left at the curb for recycling collection?
If these materials get wet, their value is destroyed. Placing a free re-fashioNYC donation bin at your building allows people to bring clothing and linens to a convenient and dry location. This ensures that items remain valuable and can go to good use. It also offers a way for us to provide tax receipts for donations.”

Author: HarlemGuy

2 thoughts on “re-fashionNYC: Making It Easy To Provide For The Needy

  1. if you want one in your building, follow the link to the online inquiry form; the link is in the body of the blog post.

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