Do you ever just look at your wardrobe and think I’ve got too many clothes?
Well, recently that happened to me.
I wouldn’t describe my wardrobe as fit to burst, however, it was starting to get a little bit bloated and I knew I had clothes that hadn’t seen the light of day for quite a while. I needed to do a ‘me’ on my own wardrobe. Once I’d decided which pieces to get rid of I faced a bit of a dilemma.
What do I do with the clothes I no longer want?
What do you tend to do with your clothes when you’re having a clear-out?
Donate them to charity?
Throw them out?
I knew I didn’t want them to end up on landfill, so throwing them in the bin wasn’t an option. I also had a few reservations about donating them to charity, which I’ll get into a little bit later in the post. So I decided to explore the other options available for my unwanted clothes.
There’s no doubt many of you will be clearing out your wardrobe at some point each year. I bet it happens more and more frequently nowadays given the nature of how quickly trends move and also how fast people go through cheap fashion.
So I want to share the options available for your unwanted clothes, post clear out, that are more sustainable than simply chucking them in the bin.
01 | Charity – Donating clothes to charity when they’re no longer wanted is pretty common. But, where do they end up?
Sometimes they’re sold in the shop. If they’re not wearable they may be sold on to a ragman. But a lot get sold on and end up in West Africa (Fun fact: Nigeria has actually banned the importing of our cast offs). They’re graded based on quality and brand then sold in cities and villages.
While this creates work and allows local people to make money from the clothes we don’t want, it has quite an impact on local textiles and traditional garments. Our clothes are often cheaper, so everyone wants to rock those M&S garms.
So it’s great to explore other options before always defaulting to charity shops
02 | Sell – If some of your pieces are branded and still wearable then sell them on places like eBay or Depop. You know where they’re going and you also get a bit of money to reinvest in your wardrobe.
03 | Clothing and textile recycling points – Anything that’s way past its best or unwearable can be taken to a clothes recycle point. You can just drop your clothes off and the fabrics will get recycled rather than ending up on landfill.
04 | Vintage stores – If any clothes are decent and potentially branded some vintage stores will take them off your hands.
05 | Clothes exchange/swap – Clothes exchanges and swaps are a great opportunity to get rid of decent unwanted clothes and get something new in return. If you have items you no longer wear and don’t have much of a budget to reinvest in your wardrobe or what to take a more sustainable approach, clothes swaps are for you. If you can’t find a local clothes swap, why not organise one with your friends or family? You could even just give away items to them if you’re feeling nice.
06 | Reuse/repurpose it e.g. turn a dress to a top – It was only this morning I was showing a client how she could take a cheap charity shop find that she was unsure about and turn it into something that was exactly what her wardrobe needed.
Repurposing items you were planning on chucking out is an often overlooked option when it comes to recycling your clothes. Let’s say you have a dress you no longer wear because it has a stain on the skirt. Take it to a seamstress and turn it into a top. This is great for pieces you love but may no longer fit into.
In my last post, I talked about building a sustainable wardrobe on a budget. But most wardrobe refreshes start with some sort of clear out. I wanted to highlight the wide sustainable ways you can get rid of your clothes. So if you’re looking to build a sustainable wardrobe you know how to add clothes but you also know how to recycle them when you decide they’re no longer right for you.
Let me know what you usually do with your unwanted clothes in the comments below?