5 Ethical Ways to Get Rid of Old Clothes

Having too many clothes can cause the “I’ve got nothing to wear” effect, or make doing the laundry an Olympic sport. It clutters not just the room around you but also the mental space in you. But I’ve got good news for those having a closet all to themselves: you can take your own decisions on what to do with the stuff in it!

Here you can find a guide to decluttering. Take a look if you want to free up some space in your closet but don’t know where to start and how to remain sane.

And in this blog post I explain how to get rid of clothes you don’t like anymore (aka no pile) in 5 environment-friendly ways.

SWAP

Clothing swap parties are great. It’s 2 in 1: quality time with friends and a wardrobe update. If you are not into attending or hosting these parties, you can still do it as long as you have the internet.

Apps and websites:

  • Rehash - apart from trading items, you can also post in forums, join groups, get sustainable living advices, and attend live clothing swap events.

  • Swishing - you don’t have to hunt around for items to swap: the website offers their own money credits for the items you send them; these credits can be immediately used to order anything you like from the website.

  • Depop lets you swap items, did you know? Here is explained how.

  • Vinted is for clothes to last longer than a social media post.

Clothing swaps near you:

On Meetup you can find clothing swaps worldwide! And clothingswaps.com runs events since 1995 for those of you in California.

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RESELL

Goes hand in hand with swapping. In fact, most of the websites and apps listed previously can be used to resell your clothes. This form of recycling is also budget-friendly. Who doesn’t want some extra cash along with a decluttered closet?

Apps and websites:

  • Swap.com established six years ago by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union, they found new homes for 2 million+ pre-loved items.

  • Poshmark - I wish I could sell on Poshmark but I’m in the EU. I’ve heard excellent reviews from my friends in the States. Poshmark is a well-known company, and people trust it.

  • Etsy was established in 2005 and gave crafters all over the world a chance to display their work. Apart from handmade items, you can sell vintage.

  • eBay is the world's leading e-commerce company. There you can sell anything. Like, literally. People list their grandmothers, a ghost in a jar, and unwanted brussel sprouts.

  • Tradesy lets you ship without leaving your home. They send you a free shipping kit and also handle the returns.

The last two are known for reselling premium and luxury items.

  • ASOS Marketplace is a cool digital platform where new and independent businesses can sell their clothes and accessories. Perfect for those aiming at a slow fashion market. Could be a good start before opening your own shop, you know?

You can also ask your followers on social media if they would like to purchase from you. On Instagram you could save pictures of the clothes you are reselling to Story Highlights, and Facebook offers its own Marketplace for this matter.

Ask local second-hand and vintage shops if they accept pre-loved clothes. Maybe you’ll even make friends with them and they notify you about restocking beforehand (my dream!).

Also I would like to mention garage sales and flea markets. It’s like a big clothes swap! What can be more atmospheric than this?

Donate

If you want to give your clothing a second chance but don’t want to get involved into reselling, donate your clothes! I guess Goodwill and Salvation Army are first two things that come in mind for the Americans. In most of the European cities I see special containers for old clothes. For Moscow, where I am from, I can make an entire list of places where you can leave your pre-loved items. You know much better what to do in your own town.

There’s just one thing I want to highlight: please make sure the clothes you donate are wearable. Means no map-sized stains, damage, odour. Please wash and iron it. It’s always good to contact a charity organisation you give your clothes to and ask for a list of what they need. Otherwise your good intention might end up in landfills together with your old clothes.

Upcycle

Look what I made 10 years ago out of my skirt and pants. I swear it used to look better!

Look what I made 10 years ago out of my skirt and pants. I swear it used to look better!

Clothes are made of fabric, which has tons of possible uses. The easiest one is to make cleaning cloths for tidying up your lair.

And for those of you with arms growing from the right places, I’ve come up with these creative ideas:

  • Make grocery shopping bags out of old tank tops and tees.

  • Sew cute reusable produce bags.

  • Turn your pants into shorts, or a dress into a skirt.

  • Unknit old sweaters and use the yarn for new projects.

  • Create a napkin set.

  • Make custom gift wrap.

  • Sew pillowcases or cushion covers.

  • Cut your clothes in long stripes and crochet rag rugs.

  • Make a dog bed cover (I lost my shawl to this idea)

  • Or make cute monsters like I used to do!

Recycle

Every country has its own recycling policy. In some places it’s a mandatory, in others a choice. Recycling is super important for the environment but also it has become a trend.

Many fashion brands incorporate recycling programs because they know it’s good for their image. Also they offer discounts to the customers that use the shop’s garment drop off boxes. But what’s the point to get rid of one bag of clothes if you immediately buy two more?

Even though the intention behind collecting old clothes is not always sincere, we appreciate it! More companies include recycling programs in their business - less textile waste we will have.

Make a little research to know what organisations recycle in your city, locate drop-offs and ask for a list of items that are accepted for recycling.

See? There are plenty of creative ways to repurpose your old clothes! All what it takes is to think twice before tossing a stretched t-shirt or a moth-eaten sweater. Recycling saves our planet and your wallet, and since we have access to all this information, it has never been easier.