There is something about the transitional seasons that make me want to rehab my life. Spring brings a newness and that rebirth feeling. Autumn still has that first-day-of-school, academia new-start feel to it. So for me, these two seasons are the seasons where I tend to redecorate, get rid of unwanted items, set new goals, etc. Which means I go through my closet about twice a year.
I will admit I own a lot more clothes than I think I should, and I definitely own more than I need. So I am often trying to downsize to combat my overspending. Typically, I throw the unwanted items into a charity bin and call it quits. They will take care of it, right?
But I got to thinking, what about the clothes I don’t want to give to charity because it has holes, stains, or other deformities? And I never really donate shoes because I wear them to scraps, and what about belts, bags, and other accessories? It’s 2017, there has to be a more sustainable solution than just tossing these “rags” and other unwanted items into the bin.
There are PLENTY of projects to upcycle your clothes. Just check out Pinterest. There are ways to make old or big t-shirts breathe new life into your closet. You can make t-shirt bags. Make leg warmers with your old sweater sleeves. The ideas don’t stop. If you are crafty and want to reuse some of the items you have, a DIY project is the perfect way to bring those old items back from the dead.
This is the option I personally tend to choose. There are plenty of ways to donate your clothes to charities, Good Will. I have read that some of these charities only use about 10 percent of the items they receive and the rest or unsold items wind up getting chucked anyway.
It would be wise to look into certain charities to see what they do with their clothes, so you can find one that isn’t as wasteful as others. Or maybe find particular disaster or other relief programs that will have a definite use for the items being donated.
Many textiles can be recycled and not a lot of people know that. I didn’t know items such as stuff animals and rugs were considered recyclable textiles either.
- Buy natural-fibered clothes to begin with
Synthetic fibers take way longer than natural fibers to break down because natural fibers were made by and can easily be decomposed by nature. Buying items like cotton or wool makes them more biodegradable and more sustainable in that sense.
There are websites like eBay or threadup where you can sell unwanted, but still fairly new items online. Or there are consignment shops if you have some higher-end items. This might not work if you buy a lot of fast-fashion dirt cheap like I do, but if you are the type of person who has super quality things, this might be a good option.
The point is to make sure less textile items find their way into landfills. We have limited space for trash and we should be using our materials intelligently. The textile industry uses a lot of water and engird to make clothes, so it is important to make sure the items we have are being used in beneficials ways to not only limit landfill space but to hopefully decrease the amount of energy used to produce these items by providing the recycled materials necessary.
For further information, please read the articles I used for this post:
Have any other ideas on what to use unwanted clothes for? Tell us in the comments, girl.