What to Do with Your Old Clothes?
It’s almost time for spring cleaning. Every few years I review my closet to make sure the items I have are still being worn and if there’s anything that needs to be retired. For years I’ve been shopping very little and trying to stick to the things I wear over the things I want. This helps to keep a relatively lean closet with few items to retire before they’ve worn out. Other times, it’s our life events that call for a wardrobe update and getting rid of irrelevant items.
Spring cleaning of our wardrobes is not like cleaning a house or a storage space. A lot of garments nowadays are made of fibers that are not landfill-friendly. They take decades, if not centuries, to be decomposed in landfills. They could also be difficult to recycle, especially when they are made of a blend of more than one or two different fibers. It’s challenging to separate each fiber to be properly processed for recycling. Even donating clothes can be tricky. In the past years, a large portion of donated clothes ended up as waste in places like India and Haiti. So, donating clothes without knowing their destination or purpose sometimes becomes shipping waste.
What can we do with our old clothes then? Besides hosting or attending clothing swaps and selling second hand clothing online or through apps, Good Will, Salvation Army, or your local thrift stores are also viable places for old clothes. Here are five other resources that can help you donate or recycle your clothes (and accessories) responsibly:
Dress for Success: Take spring cleaning as an opportunity to join forces with Dress For Success, which empowers women to achieve economic independence. Your donation can help give women confidence when they’re working on establishing a new start. It takes away the pressure of building a fitting wardrobe, so they can focus on other skills and work towards self-sufficiency.
Blue Jeans Go Green: Jeans are a wardrobe staple for many people. Most of us have more than a couple of pairs that we don’t always wear. Once jeans are worn through, it’s not everyone’s ideal to patch them up with mismatching pieces. When you decide it’s the end of life of your favorite pair of jeans, you can recycle them with Blue Jeans Go Green.
There are a few ways to retire bras and avoid them from ending up in landfills:
The Bra Recyclers takes your extra gently-used bras that could benefit women and girls in desperate need of a bra. The Bra Recyclers is a leading bra recycling company that has partnered with Ambassadors around the world to recycle over one million pairs of bras and support over 80 non-profit organizations.
Free The Girls: Bras are a unique item that actually have the power to bring freedom and hope to sex trafficking survivors. The second-hand clothing market is a thriving industry in many countries around the world. Bras are a sought-after item in the countries Free The Girls works in, and command top dollar in the marketplace. By receiving a starting inventory from Free The Girls, the women are able to begin their business and become an entrepreneur in their own communities. This income allows them a safe economic opportunity, and for many of the women, provides not only for themselves, but their children as well!
Donate Your Bra in support of breast cancer survivors. This organization distributes your donation for breast cancer post-surgery to shelters, breast cancer survivor support groups, and charities.
Lastly, there are a lot of creative ways to repurpose old clothes. If you’re into DIY, crafting or sewing, we’ve also gathered some repurpose ideas in this Pinterest board. I also use scrap fabric, old clothes or worn towels as stuffing when making stuffed craft items instead of buying polyester stuffing. Give us a shoutout on social media with your creative ideas for recycling old clothes.