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  • Kristen Gilbride

Sustainable Wardrobe Step 2: Sort it out

The first step to shopping more consciously is to stop all together. "Luckily" for consumers around the world we've been forced to stop shopping because of COVID-19. So whether you planned on trying to become more sustainable or have been forced to stop consuming, congrats! You've completed the first step. If you're looking for the next step, keep reading.

During my time in isolation, I started to go through a few piles of clothes that I've been neglecting to look through. Since adapting more sustainable shopping habits, I've noticed that I've started to hoard clothes. It's probably because I know I can't go to the store and buy something sustainable quick, or maybe because I don't want the clothes I'm getting rid of to somehow end up in a landfill. But both are a lose-lose situation.

Once I started to go through my clothes, I started seeing double. I have so many T-Shirts from college, high school, middle school, sports teams, birthdays, etc. I found all these jeans I didn't know about, and all these shirts I was going to sew (even though I barely know how to sew). Going through your belongings is a good way to see what you have, want, and need. It was nice to stumble upon pieces that I had totally forgotten about. I found these pants that I loved years ago. After doing some research on the brand, Hard Tail, I found out they were made in the USA!!

Found my favorite (forgotten about) pants!

Sorting out what I had gave me a better understanding of what I was lacking or overrun with (*cough* big cotton t-shirts). Overall it helped me make more informed decisions for when I went shopping.

When I got a pile of clothes together I wasn't sure how to best recycle them. Every way of donating/selling/throwing away clothes as a pro and con. But here are a few ways for you to sustainably get rid of your clothes!

1. Ask a friend if they want them! Giving clothes to a friend is one of the best ways to be sustainable. You know it is ending up in someones hands that actually likes the piece and will get wear out of it.

2. Donate to a local secondhand shop! Donating to a local stores is a great way to help smaller stores get a good inventory. If you have any designer goods, consigning is a nice way to get a portion of the sale once the piece is sold. Not every local shop will accept clothes, but it's worth asking them if they do.

3. Donate to a big secondhand shop! These are probably the most convenient way to drop off a load of clothes. There aren't many qualifications except the clothes have to be clean and in good shape. Goodwill and Salvation Army are some of my favorites!

4. Properly recycle them! If some clothing or accessories are beyond repair and can't be resold, there are some recycling places that will recycle them for you. Be prepared, these can be a little pricey, tho. TerraCycle has a lot of free recycling programs for random things like Vans shoes to Bic pens. It's interesting to checkout!

5. Start an online closet! I recently started to get into sites like Poshmark, ThreadUp, Depop, Mercari, and eBay. I not-so-secretly think eBay is the most underrated online shopping site!


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