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Free Store

The Free Store is a community-based resource dedicated to helping UT students, faculty, and staff reduce their environmental impact and save money.


Our permanent location is now open! 

Visit us at 915 22nd St at the “22nd St Duplex”


To get our updates as soon as we post them, follow our Instagram page @freestore_utk.


What is the Free Store?

The Free Store is a community share space that allows UT students to shop for free, high-quality, lightly-used clothing, kitchenware, accessories, and small appliances at regularly scheduled Free Store Pop-Up events, as well as its new permanent location at 915 22nd St.  The items at the Free Store are donated by UT students and members of the community as an alternative option to throwing old clothes and other items in the landfill.

The first two tenets of the waste hierarchy are to reduce the amount of new items created and to reuse items while they are still functional. Many items that are still in good condition head to recycling or landfills instead of to others who could use them. The Free Store aims to address the “too little” problem by providing those items, free of charge, to those in need in our campus community.


When can I visit the Free Store?

The Free Store is open at its permanent location – 915 22nd St “22nd St Duplex”!  We will still have pop-ups throughout the school year. Each semester the hours will differ as our student workers keep the doors open around their school schedules.  We will also be open by appointment to meet your needs.

Fall 2022 Free Store Open Hours: 

M: 10-3

T: 9-5

W: 10-1

Th: 1-5

F: 10-3

How do I volunteer?

Volunteer days for Fall 2022 are on Thursdays, 11am-2pm. Sign up HERE.

How can I donate to the Free Store?

If you want to make a donation outside of our end-of-semester donation drives, we are accepting donations at 915 22nd St and 2121 Stephenson Drive, dock 24 (the Public Recycling Drop-off location).

At 915 22nd St – bring donations inside during our open hours.

Starting 10/7/22, we will have have donation bins ON THE WEEKENDS at 2121 Stephenson drive, dock 24 .

– email to request dates to visit the Free Store and/or drop off donations if our open times do not work with your schedule – 

What can I donate to the Free Store?

Acceptable Items:

  • Clothing (clean and unstained)
  • Shoes (clean or gently used)
  • Accessories (clean/gently used bags, jewelry, gloves, belts, hats, scarves)
  • Toys and games (gently used)
  • Unopened cosmetic items
  • Unopened First Aid items (bandages, ointments, medicine packets/bottles)
  • Craft and art supplies
  • Hangers
  • Working electronics
  • Household items (lamps, rugs, bookends, etc.)
  • Clean Kitchenware (plates, cups, bowls, blenders, silverware, etc.)
  • School Supplies

Unacceptable Items:

  • Soiled / stained clothing, shoes, or accessories
  • Bedding of any kind
  • Broken toys / games
  • Opened or used cosmetic items
  • Broken hangers
  • Furniture or mattresses
  • Broken electronics (can be recycled at
    2121 Stephenson Dr. Dock 26)
  • Undergarments
  • Opened first aid items
  • Open school supplies


Why does the Free Store matter?

It reduces the environmental impact of UT students.

Buying new clothes is one of the single most harmful things an individual can do to the environment in terms of energy and resource consumption. Extracting raw materials from the environment to make household items consumes natural resources and produces greenhouse gases. Purchasing a clothing item online, for example, might seem like a minor purchase, but once you take into account all the water that was used to grow the cotton to make the shirt, the physical space required to grow the cotton, all the oil needed to harvest, manufacture, and transport the shirt, and the cardboard box it came in, your new shirt actually has a massive carbon footprint.

For clothing and other textiles, water is also a key issue. The table below lists how much water it takes to make everyday clothing items.

How much water are you wearing?
Leather Shoes 3,626 gallons
Cotton Jeans 2,108 gallons
Cotton T-Shirt 659 gallons


When you choose to buy used clothing instead of new, you reduce the number of resources required to make new clothing and keep old clothes out of the landfill. According to a 2016 survey detailed in the Washington Post, the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing every year.

Read More: 

How to stop 13 million tons of clothing from getting trashed each year

It’s an inclusive, cost-free resource to reduce financial strain on students.

Free Store Pop-Ups are open to all members of the campus community.

By offering students an equal chance to take items for free, the Free Store is removing the stigma that surrounds financial insecurity. The cost of college can leave many students on a tight budget or going without necessities.

In a survey conducted by the Office of Sustainability in 2018, students reported that the monetary and convenience aspects of the Free Store were the most important to them. That is shifting in 2019, with more students answering that reusing items is important to them.