HOW TO DE-CLUTTER YOUR WARDROBE ETHICALLY

De-cluttering our home is good for our head, so my next weekend project is a good closet purge so that I can work towards building a more ethical wardrobe based around sustainably made basics, a few good quality core pieces and hopefully some beautiful vintage finds. I must admit my closet is not as impressive as Carrie’s. It's also highly unlikely I’ll be sipping on bubbles with my girlfriends in the purging process, but in any case I’m still determined to clean out my closet and de-clutter. It can be overwhelming tackling your wardrobe and deciding what to keep, sell, swap or donate especially when we come across those old pieces that bring back special memories. I’m also determined to de-clutter ethically given we have been discussing textile waste here at UG of late, I’m very mindful of the environmental impact of putting our clothing in the trash. In Australia, a massive one trillion tons of fibrous waste generated from the textile, clothing and footwear processing industries is buried in landfills each year. Also, textile waste represents approximately 4- 5% of the total contents of landfills in Australia. So I’ve done some of the groundwork on how to de-clutter ethically and what to do with those unwanted items to ensure minimal waste so that our clothing doesn’t just end up in landfill.  

Sell or consign your clothes. Via consignment stores, EBay, local markets or online boutiques such Recycle Boutique or Penny Lane.  I think this option tends to work better when your clothes are designer brands or still in very good condition, or even unworn (surely we are all guilty of this one?) and the items are still on trend or in season.

Try a clothing swap.  Either directly with your close friends or by organising a clothes swap party.  If you have leftover clothing to swap, check out SWOP Clothing Exchange or the The Clothing Exchange, which holds swapping events or you can create an online profile, upload images of your clothes and swap away!

Donate to a local charity. When sorting clothes to donate to a local charity ask yourself these questions:

·       Is the clothing damaged or stained?

·       Would I buy this item in this condition?

·       Would I give this clothing to a friend or family member?

Bear in mind that not all clothing donated to local charities is considered saleable. Clothing is often sorted into categories, with the remainder being sold and exported overseas to developing countries or sold via the ‘rag trade’ to produce items such as cleaning rags. While these clothes are not donated, the money raised is used by charities to continue funding community projects. Check with your local charity store whether they accept clothes you think are too worn or damaged to donate.

Recycle. Most of us have those worn out pieces of clothing we have no idea what to do with! If in doubt about donating to charity, try your best to recycle.  There are companies out there that recycle textile waste and turn it into new products! Check out some of these if you live in Victoria:

·       Victorian Clothing Recyclers

·       Textile Recyclers Australia

·       All Round Recycling

Once you’ve de-cluttered, remember to take care of the clothes you keep and purchase mindfully.

 

Amanda xx

 

Further reading:

The hidden trade in our second hand clothes given to charity

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/2015/feb/13/second-hand-clothes-charity-donations-africa

The rag trade: how charities transform the clothes we throw away

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/september/1441029600/delia-falconer/rag-trade

Sources of textile waste in Australia

http://www.nacro.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/TEXTILE-WASTE-PAPER-March-2009-final.