Tips for Creating a Sustainable Wardrobe
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Making lifestyle changes to be more eco-friendly is fantastic. But if you’re already reducing plastic waste and repairing what you can instead of buying new, where do you go next? An excellent idea is to create a sustainable wardrobe for yourself.
This can dramatically improve your environmental impact, happiness, closet organization, and style. Here are some tips for creating a sustainable wardrobe.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Wear
The first step is to go through the clothes you already own. After all, there’s nothing more sustainable than using what you already have! It’s better for the planet if you keep wearing that same fast-fashion top rather than go out and buy a new top that was sustainably made.
Clean out any clothes that you don’t wear or don’t like. This may seem obvious, but many of us hang on to clothes that have sentimental value, a loved one bought for us, used to fit but don’t anymore, or just aren’t our style—no matter how much we wish it were.
I like to use the time rule: if I haven’t worn a piece of clothing within six months (weather permitting), it goes away. Thank your clothing for its time with you, and pass it along to someone else who will cherish it.
What To Do With the Clothes
So, you’ve created a giant pile of clothes to get rid of; what do you do now? Well, you have a couple of options.
- Donate: This is an excellent option if you have lots of clothes and want to get rid of them with minimal effort. Drop them off at your local donation center and call it a day; other people who need them will appreciate it!
- Trade: Swapping clothes with a friend is one of my favorite sustainable wardrobe hacks. Simply clean out your closets at the same time, get together with a bottle of wine, and try on each other’s clothes. Anything that you love from your friend’s donation pile keep! You’ll both get some new pieces (for free!) and get rid of some old ones.
- Sell: If you have valuable or expensive items, you can always sell them in consignment shops or online. This is a bit more labor-intensive, but you’ll get some money back to put towards buying clothes you love.
Repair What You Can
You can do quite a few repairs if you have a small sewing kit. Sewing on a button or closing a hole is easier than you’d think. With a bit of effort and the right materials, you can even fix tears in boot leather.
If you don’t have the time, energy, or skills to do it yourself, you can always bring your clothing to a tailor for repairs.
Of course, there is a whole community of amateur seamstresses repairing and altering thrifted clothes—and that’s awesome! But you don’t have to have that skill set to be able to make simple repairs.
Buy Sustainably—Within Reason
Now that you’ve cleaned out your closet, donated your clothes, and repaired what you could, it’s time to buy new items. Shop sustainably where you can but remember—not everyone is financially or physically able to shop only from eco-friendly brands. Know that it’s okay sometimes to need to buy from fast fashion brands.
Now, where to shop sustainably? Many brands produce “eco-friendly” lines made with more environmentally conscious methods—these are usually good options. Some retailers and many small businesses use eco-friendly production methods; these are great to shop at but tend to cost more money, so be aware of that.
Thrifting is an excellent option that is accessible to many. You are saving money and preventing clothes from ending up in landfills. Plus, garments aren’t made like they used to be—many vintage clothes last longer than modern, cheaply made items.
Making your wardrobe more sustainable isn’t about perfection—it’s about effort! Get out there and take it one eco-friendly choice at a time.
Keeping Up Your Closets With A Sustainable Wardrobe
One of the things I love about minimalism is that I don't have a lot of clutter in my closets. I have a clear section for pants, dresses, sweaters and jackets, and shirts. I regularly go through my clothing and try to reduce it to a capsule wardrobe with only my favorite things. I don't keep anything with stains, tears, or doesn't fit the way that makes me feel good wearing it.
Take a look at your space, and decide if you are storing your items in the best way. Rethink your space if you need to. Maybe you prefer to fold your clothes, then add shelves or drawers. Do you need more storage for shoes, make sure you are actually wearing the shoes you store and consider purging the rest.
When you have a clean closet, you will use the items you have spend your money on, instead of hiding them away behind clutter.
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