So you’ve decided to clean out your closet and get rid of some old clothes. Why?
- Because I dislike many of them, or they no longer fit.
- Many of my pieces are torn, broken, or ripped.
- I want to minimalize my life and clear out clutter.
No matter your reason, making a little more space in the closet can make you feel a little freer. After all, you probably spend the beginning of each day enveloped in this space, deciding what to wear. Your closet therefore sets the tone for your day.
As you begin to clear out your closet, keep this in mind: 85% of clothing and textiles ends up in landfills. 85%! At the same time, 95% of all clothing and textiles can be reused or recycled. Most of the stuff in your closet can therefore be repurposed… and it’s easy to do!
Firstly, always remember that textiles in any condition (worn, torn, or stained) can be donated to be recycled if they’re clean. One popular mantra when it comes to clothing donation is “Don’t Judge, Just Donate”. Chances are nearly 100% of the clothing in your closet can be donated.
The easiest way to do so is to bring it to a collection bin in your town, to a thrift store, or to a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. Some towns will do curbside pickups for clothing (if it’s separated from other recyclables), and some clothing stores will also collect used garments. These places seek out the maximum value for each item, meaning they 1) put it up for sale first if it’s in good condition, and then 2) send the item to be recycled into something new. Old clothing can be recycled into new clothing, insulation, carpet padding, wiping rags, cushioning for car seats, rubberized playgrounds, and a whole lot more!
Why recycle? Yes, these items therefore don’t end up in landfills, but there are so many more benefits. Donations can provide used clothing to low income households around the world. From the environmental standpoint, donating and recycling clothing decreases the resources needed to create new clothes, and believe us – creating clothing uses a lot of resources. Cotton, found in most pieces, is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world, infusing our soil with chemicals. Polyester, another fiber used in a lot of clothing, is made from petroleum using a high-energy process that emits harmful gases into the air. Creating clothing also uses gallons upon gallons of precious water.
Benefit the planet, others, and even yourself by cleaning out your closet and successfully donating used clothing. Remember that even damaged clothing can be recycled – so there’s hardly ever a case when items should be thrown in the trash.