What do you think happens to the clothes you wear once you’ve tired of them? And, more importantly, how much clothing do you think you throw away?
On average, each Australian does away with 30 kilograms of clothing each year. That’s 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes going straight to landfill. And for materials like polyester, it can take hundreds of years to break down, releasing toxic chemicals in the process.
So don’t just chuck out clothing or dump it mindlessly. There’s a reason you bought something in the first place, so give it the send-off it deserves.
Here are some simple ways to discard for your pre-loved clothing mindfully.
Care for clothing properly
If you take proper care of your clothes before discarding them, then you’ll be passing along clothes that aren’t going to end up either being used as rags or dumped straight into landfill.
Read the care instructions so you can avoid shrinking shirts or mixing colours. If in doubt, opt for a cold water wash as it helps the garment retain its size, shape and colour.
Upcycle or swap your clothing with friends
You might be tired of seeing that pinstripe linen shirtdress you wore all summer, but your friend or sibling might have their eye on it. Before you throw away, suggest a swap with friends or giving away a few key pieces to a friend with the same style as you.
Another fun way to get rid of old clothes is to have a clothes swap party. Invite your friends and each bring a certain number of clothing to swap between you.
If you’ve watched #GirlBoss you might be a little inspired to try your hand at selling clothing on eBay. This is a great option for those higher-end, more expensive pieces. Take clear photos on a human body to give customers the best insight into the quality of the garment.
Selling on Instagram or a Facebook group is another great option. There are a lot of local Buy Swap Sell groups on Facebook.
Have a market stall
Grab a friend and spend the day selling unwanted items at a stall. You’d be surprised what will sell. But the trick is ‘letting go’ before the stall. It can be pretty heart breaking when someone is bargaining you down to the last cent for a garment you spent $350 on. But, hey, at least you’re getting something for it! (Even if it is only $14.50.)
Be organised and either price everything individually, or have sections, like $5, $10, $15. The cheaper you price things, the more you will sell.
Donate to a charity like the Red Cross, Salvos or Vinnies
Taking your clothing to a charity store is a great way to give back. They can on-sell your old clothes to make money for their services or give clothing to people in need.
But don’t take advantage of their goodwill by giving them clothes better repurposed as a cleaning rag or doggy chew-toy. Charities spend millions each year discarding of junk ‘donated’ to them. Be considerate when donating.
Make the most out of your donation by doing the following:
Take good care of your clothing while you have it.
Give it a wash before you donate.
Try to make it to the store during opening hours to avoid them getting wet or ruined outside.
Ripped, torn or stained items probably won’t make it to the store floor or get donated to those in need.