What To Do With Your Old Clothes
What to do with your old clothes is an important question for at least 3 reasons: 1) Most people have loads of clothes they no longer use. A study made in the UK in 2012 showed that 30% of all the clothes lying around in UK closets have not been used for at least 12 months. 2) Unused clothes are a valuable resource that can be either reused by somebody else or recycled to new garments or even completely different products. And 3) it is just annoying to have heaps of clothes taking up space and collection dust in your closet.
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to pass on the clothes that you no longer use. But before diving into these, let me just clarify that RULE NO 1 is to NEVER (as in never ever) throw out your old clothes. Not even underwear or socks. Even if you think that these items are useless, they can be recycled to for example insulation material in the construction industry.
There are several ways of cleaning out your closet in a sustainable way:
1. Give it to a charity: The classic and easy way of prolonging the life of your clothes. I use Red Cross that will either sell the clothes in one of their stores, sell it to the textile industry, or donate it to the regions of the world that need it the most.
2. www: Sell you best things online. It takes some time, but if you have good things of high quality, it is most often worth the effort!
3. Flea market: If you don’t want to spend time selling online, the easier version will be to get a stand on a market, and spend one afternoon selling it all at once.
3. Clothes swapping: This is a true win win solution! Invite your girls over for a evening of clothes swapping and ask them to bring the clothes they no longer use. Everyone has a great evening and gets new clothes while getting rid of the things they didn’t use anyways.
4. I:CO: The new and smart solution. Gather all the clothes you no longer use (including old socks, outworn shoes, bags and belts), go to H&M, and drop it in one of their garment containers. Depending on the weight of your donation, you get a voucher to H&M for which you can happily go shopping (and you will of course choose their Conscious Collection!). The clothes will then be picked up by I:CO, a company that provides the infrastructure to ensure that the valuable raw materials from these old textiles are recycled and put to a new use.
On the picture you see a tiny slice of my recent wardrobe clean out. Some of it has now got a new life in the wardrobe of my friends, and some of it is donated to my local Red Cross store, which happily accepted a couple of (or more correctly 5!) cardboard boxes of clothes that I no longer used.