It’s good to sort out your wardrobe from time to time. Whether your circumstances have changed, or just your taste, sometimes we’re all guilty of hanging on to clothes that we just don’t wear any more. But with sustainable fashion such a talking point at the moment, and some well-known brands under fire for selling things so cheaply there is no incentive to care for your clothes, we can all do our bit to reduce our carbon-footprint and help the environment.
Here’s my brain dump of ideas for how to get the most out of your clothes, even if you’re not wearing them anymore.
Donate to charity
OK, let’s start with the obvious one. Clothes that are clean and still wearable could go a long way to raising money for a good cause. Apparently, during the first lockdown, many charity shops were inundated with donations (much of it tatt, I gather). However, now we are getting back to a bit of normality, it seems as though many are accepting donations again, but it might be worth just checking with your preferred charity before you dump a bin bag on their doorstep! In Hampshire, our Air Ambulance will collect a minimum of three bin bags full if you can’t get to a shop: more details on their website.
Swap or exchange
If you have friends who are also ready for a clear-out, why not arrange a dress swap? Now we can meet in larger groups again, you might feel more comfortable doing this. Make a deal that everyone brings at least two items that are clean and ready to wear, so they can all take at least two away with them. From time to time, I have organised big exchange events (called ‘swishes’) for clients and friends so do let me know if you think the timing is right for another! Many high streets today also have ‘dress exchanges’ where more high-end clothes can be taken; “A Change of A Dress” in Romsey is my nearest and they will take quality pre-loved garments if you haven’t got friends who might want them.
Of course, there is a multitude of online platforms where you can also sell clothes you don’t want. Vinted is one I seem to see a lot of but there are others, like Depop and ThredUp. I gather you can even sell clothes on eBay if you want to. I can’t say I have used them personally so please check them out yourself before you commit to anything, but it strikes me they might be a way to earn a little something from your cast offs.
The dressing up box
If you don’t have children of your own, would any of your old clothes or accessories be suitable for friends, a local primary school, or even your local amateur dramatics group? This year’s bonfire night Guy could be the best dressed yet! Even items that are really large or interesting fabrics (I’m thinking of table-clothes that are out of fashion!) could be turned into a costume for the Leading Lady in the next show. It wouldn’t hurt to ask, at least.
Needle and thread
Could you give your clothes a new life with a little adaption? If something is – technically – still good enough to be worn in public, could you shorten it, crop the sleeves or add some decoration to give it a new look? If it’s not quite in such good condition, there may still be parts you can salvage. The ‘rag bag’ is an easy option but you could also have the most colourful jam pot covers or lavender bags!
Donate by weight
If what you are sorting out really doesn’t have the scope to ‘live again’, then there are organisations who will take clothes, fabric and textiles to recycle based on weight. Prices may vary slightly so worth checking out who does this in your area. (And, while I mention other fabric and textiles, I know some vet practices and animal shelters will take old blankets and bedding for their animals so why not ask your local one?)