When the closet becomes so full that you can’t shift the coat hangers, you know it’s time to do a little purging. Cleaning out your closet is a great way to de-stress, re-organize, and spend less time deciding what to wear every morning.
However, as a culture, we tend to make clothing choices that aren’t so kind to the planet. The average American spends a whopping $1,800 on clothing every year, and worldwide, landfills pile hundreds of thousands of pounds of old clothing among the other rubbish.
With a little planning and effort, you can clean out your closet while minimally contributing to clothing and textile waste. For a clean closet and a clean conscious, try the following four eco-friendly ways for getting rid of old clothes:
1. Donate Gently-Used Items
Support the environment and your favorite local charity by donating your gently used items. Many thrift stores will accept almost any item of clothing. Alternatively, you can try donating items to crisis shelters or children’s organizations to more directly help those in need.
2. Host a Clothing Swap
If you have a few friends who wear similar sizes and also care about the environment, host a get-together to exchange old clothes! If your items are in good condition, your friends will love swapping gently used pieces to get a new (and free) wardrobe upgrade. For a more organized clothing swap, separate dresses, pants, shirts, and accessories. Donate whatever is left over after the party.
3. Head to A Textile Recycling Plant
Do some research to learn the location of your nearest textile recycling center. Though a bit less common than the typical recycling plant, these organizations break clothing down into textile fibers to be reused in new garments or carpet padding. This option is best for clothes past the point of return, such as heavily ripped, stained, or burned items.
4. Repair or Repurpose
If recycling isn’t an option, but your items are too damaged to donate, consider repairing or repurposing the garments at home. A fresh hem, re-stitched button, or new zipper can quickly and cheaply mend a “useless” article of clothing. Old shirts can also be torn into rags for cleaning, and old jeans make sturdy aprons when sewn together. When it comes to repurposing old clothes, the only limit is your imagination.
To help save money and the planet, try any of these methods to clean out your closet in a sustainable way. With a little effort and creativity, you can ensure your garments avoid the landfill for as long as humanly possible.