7 Tips: What To Do With Old Clothing

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I often get asked: how do you donate or discard clothing responsibly? And it's a great question! I've put together a list of my 7 favorite things to do when you rip, outgrow, or fall out of love with your closet.

REPAIR 

The best thing about investing in quality things is that they’re repairable – and worth repairing. When something tragic happens to your favorite dress or jacket, I recommend first contacting the designer to see about any potential warranties or mending programs. And if you don’t have a warranty and don’t have a sewing machine, don’t fret, local tailors and cobblers are also widely available to fix clothing and shoes and everything in between, and some cobblers can even repair leather and vegan leather items such belts, jackets, and bags.

RECYCLE

An estimated 3.8 billion pounds of textiles end up landfills every year, however recycling isn't just for plastic, paper, and glass - textiles can be recycled too. Blue Jeans Go Green will turn your old jeans into insulation for Habitat for Humanity, and Recycle Now will help you find where and how to recycle just about anything else in your closet (or home!), making it easy to skip the trash can.

UP-CYCLE

There are endless ways to create something new from your old fashion. Get inspired by the Refashionista - who takes styles that don’t fit or aren’t flattered and alters them into chic new pieces - or join me on Pinterest for DIY ideas on how to give new life to your old clothes.

COMPOST

That’s right, instead of adding just food scraps to your compost pile you can toss in any clothing that is made from natural fibers. These include cotton, wool, silk, linen, or hemp. Skip the synthetic fabrics, blends, or anything that has been chemically treated to maintain a healthy compost bin. I recommend this great guide with further instructions for you green thumbs.

SELL

One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Now with second hand entering the digital era, it’s really never been easier to sell your gently used clothes. Use apps and websites include PoshMarkThredUp, or TheRealReal right from home to clear out your closet and fluff up your bank account.

DONATE 

When you no longer need, love, or want something, there are many people in need who could use your gently used clothing. One quick caution is to research where you’re giving your generous donation because not all non-profits are created equal (or, are even really non-profits!). If you can’t give to the individual directly, make sure that the charity you choose is distributing your clothing donation in a manner that meets with your ethics. A few organizations I recommend are the Downtown Women’s CenterDress for Success, and Out of the Closet, where the proceeds go to AIDS research and treatment. You can always check out Charity Watch to find out more about an organization.

ART & CRAFT

San Francisco based artist, Julia Goodman, makes beautiful rag-sorters from used textiles. While maybe this isn’t your aesthetic or skill set, you may be able to gain some inspiration by daring to look at your textiles as a starting place for something new way before you decide to discard.