Spring is upon us, which calls for a big spring clean of our wardrobes. However, the fresh feeling of decluttering is accompanied with the burden of “What do I do with my old clothes?!” Most of us would result in simply donating a bag of stuff to charity, or even putting clothes in the bin. But what many of us are unaware of, is that there are more consequences than simply donating clothes to charity shops ‘for a good cause’.
Many charity shops bin unsuitable items, with the excessive amount of donations received, they can afford to be picky and throw out your poor quality fast-fashion garments. Due to this, £140million worth of clothing goes to landfill each year. Also, the UK exports £342million worth of clothing abroad, mostly to Africa. You may be thinking, “my clothes are being exported to countries that need it most”, yet these nations are importing more clothes than they need – resulting in irresponsible disposal of unwanted clothing to landfill.
It can be difficult to decide on where to send our old clothes, especially if we are used to donating to charity or putting clothes in the bin. So here is a quick guide on what to do with your unwanted clothing in a responsible way.
- Clothing that doesn’t fit or is broken- if it is an item you would wear if it was fixed, go out and fix it! For small holes buy a needle and thread and repair the item, then start wearing and loving it again. Broken zip? Take the item to a tailors and get the zip replaced. Too long? Alter the item yourself or take it to a tailor. Got a stain on it from that pasta you spilled on it last year? Rework the item into something new – cut your jeans into shorts, make the t-shirt into a crop top, you can even use fabric dye to cover stains and make your item feel brand new. Another idea is to cut up the item into strips and make scrunchies, or use the scrap fabric to stuff a pillow. If an item is just downright ugly and useless, take it to your local recycling centre instead of just dumping it in a charity bag for someone else to deal with. Material recycling sends waste to be shredded and used for insulation or rags in other industries, rather than just sent to landfill. Take responsibility for your broken clothing and dispose of it properly.
- Clothing you have worn a lot but still has life left – Try selling your items on apps such as Depop or eBay. Yes, it can be time consuming, but you can earn some extra money on the side for very little effort. The downside to selling your clothes, is that you have to store them somewhere whilst you wait for someone to buy, alongside going to the post office to send the items. If your items aren’t selling, then consider going to a local clothing swap. Search on Facebook for nearby events and take your unwanted clothes to swap for different ones. This is a fun idea for refreshing your wardrobe whilst knowing that your clothes are going to someone new. Alternatively, ask your friends if they would like any of your old clothes. Your last resort should be donating to a charity shop. While there are risks in donating clothes to charity shops, some branches are in need of donations rather than in excess. Do your research in your local area and find a charity shop that has less donations and would value your clothing.
- Clothing you have never worn / holds monetary value – Brand new clothing (especially with the tags on) sells for a higher value on selling apps like Depop, so make the most of that! Clothing that is in really good condition is more likely to sell than older, worn out clothes. Take good pictures of your items and describe them as brand new! Designer brands, quality clothing and rare vintage pieces sell best on Depop and eBay and they sell for more. Identify any good quality items you are getting rid of and sell them. Why would you pass on an item that can make you a quick income?