How to Responsibly Get Rid of Your Old Clothes

So you’re ready to clean out your closet. You know the Kondo folding method, you have lots of clothes you don’t wear anymore, and you’re ready for your capsule wardrobe. Amazing! Good for you! However, while you’re doing that, you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do with all the old clothes. What happens to our unwanted garments?

From production to disposal, our clothes have significant environmental and social costs. In the UK alone, the value of unused clothing inside our wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion and over 1 million tonnes of textile waste is sent to landfill or incinerated every year, resulting in threatening amounts of waste and carbon emissions. Most of these clothes can be reused, repurposed or recycled.

Fortunately, there are many ways to declutter your wardrobe without harming the planet. There are a number of things you can do with your unwanted clothing instead of simply throwing it away and I hope these tips will help you along the way.

It’s 2019, take advantage of technology and sell your trendy pieces online.

If your unwanted clothing is in great condition and you could use the money, selling your clothing is always an option! In the age of the smartphone, it doesn’t make sense you’d actually have to leave your house to get rid of clothing. Instead of schlepping everything to your car, download an app that makes buying and selling secondhand clothing easy.

eBay is well known for it’s vast pre-loved marketplace and has a very reliable system that secures both sellers and buyers, so your chances of getting a good deal are high. You can also use apps such as Depop and Vinted to sell your goodies.

Pro tip: Shoot your items in soft natural light to give the photos a flattering cast. Your items will look more professional.

Swap with equally stylish friends.

Host a clothes-swapping party with your friends and family. Clothing exchanges are a great way to socialise while replacing your unwanted goods with new, exciting clothes. Everyone gets something new to wear that weekend, and you get to splurge on a few extra glasses of wine at the bar. I call that a win-win situation.

Pro tip: Invite friends with similar aesthetics. No one wants to feel as if his or her clothing isn’t wanted.

Another option is to look out for clothes swapping events in your area. It would be a much more organised affair, where you usually swap your unwanted clothes for tokens which can be used to “purchase” other pieces.

Donate

We live in a throwaway culture, especially when it comes to fashion but even though you don’t want your old clothes anymore, it’s almost guaranteed that someone else will so before you throw them in the trash, consider donating them. Donating unwanted clothes or household items to charity shops is an easy way to help out your local community. 

Five things to think about when giving to charity shops

  1. Charity shops work because they can sell items with a second life. Please check your donations are both clean and functional e.g. tears or broken zips on clothes – missing chapters in books!
  2. If you have more specialist items, for example, electrical goods or furniture, it is best to check that the charity shop can accept these items for re-sale before donating.
  3. If you are not sure whether your clothes can be re-sold – donate them anyway – whatever clothes a charity shop can’t sell they can send off for further re-use or recycling!

Pro-tip: Don’t stress, donate via pick-up service! The real trick to giving away clothing is finding the easiest way to do it. Luckily, we have companies like Re-fashion, that has caught onto our need for convenience and will send you bags to be filled with your donations and pay for the postage back to them. They are an online fashion store that raises money for charity by selling, quality used clothes. All donated by women like you.

Dispose of Them

Many people don’t realise this, but many materials are compostable or recyclable. For example, you can compost 100% cotton clothing. If it’s underwear, make sure to cut off the elasticated part before throwing it in the compost.

Not all fibres are biodegradable, but most of your clothes and accessories can be recycled and repurposed. Check to see if your local council collects clothes and textiles to be recycled – the details are normally on their website. The nationwide campaign Recycle Now says you can normally drop these off at recycling points or clothing and textile banks in supermarkets and local car parks. Find your nearest one using the Recycling Locator tool.

I’d love to know why you’ve decide to get rid of things to begin with? Was it because your closet is a mess and you want it to be more aesthetically pleasing? Was it because you feel guilty about owning too many clothes and you want to donate to those less fortunate?

Whatever the reason, think about the end result of getting rid of things. Think about how clean your space will be! Think about how much easier it will be to look for an outfit you really want to wear and how great it will feel to donate things! Hope this post motivates you x

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Welcome! I’m Beatrice and I created The Fair Edit from a mutual love of lifestyle, and of life. Combining my devotion to ethical and sustainable practices with fashion and style.

Seeking out fashion that supports sustainability and fair trade, philanthropy, green travel and cruelty free beauty, The Fair Edit is a paragon of meaningful lifestyle tips.

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