How to get rid of old clothing responsibly

There comes a time when each item in our closets have reached the end of their life cycle. At least for us anyway.

Whether it’s ripped, stained, damaged or just too small or out of style, we never really know what to do with our old clothes.

According to Newsweek 84% of unwanted clothes end up in landfills. Making for a huge textile waste and pollution problem.

People either just throw their unwanted clothing into the trash or donate them to a thrift store, where only 10-15% of donated clothes actually make it onto the shelves.

It’s like we’re literally swimming in a sea of unwanted clothing. So you may be wondering, how can you dispose of them properly?

Here is a list of 9 ways to responsibly get rid of your unwanted clothing.

how to responsibly get rid of clothing

If they’re still in good condition:

1. Give them to a younger sibling/cousin/friend. 

A lot of my clothes growing up came from my cool older cousins. When they out grew their clothes I could look forward to a whole bag of them! This is a great way to bless others in your life as well.

2. Hold a clothing swap.

Gather your friends and the wine and tel them to bring any unwanted clothing. Then hold an at home shopping spree! This would make for a super fun girls night.

3. Donate them to a women’s/homeless shelter.

Look for a local shelter that accepts clothing donations and bring your clothes there. This is a great way to make sure your clothes are being put to good use.

4. Sell your clothes.

There’s no reason you can’t make a little cash from your old clothes. And there are countless ways to do it too. Such as eBay, depop, poshmark or even the new Facebook market that lets you sell things locally! You can even check out Thredup (the worlds largest online thrift store) who will actually buy your clothes off of you. Win win!

5. Donate to a thrift store.

I always save this as a last resort because as I stated above only 10-15% of clothing donated actually makes it onto the shelves. But it is still a better option than just throwing the pieces out.

6. Alter them.

You can always up-cycle your clothing to make brand new things. Such as cropping a shirt or sweater. There are countless ways to make a piece of clothing brand new again.

If they’re damaged:

1. Alter them.

If you can work around a stain or a rip, do it! You can also turn articles of clothing into pet clothes, baby bibs or reusable shopping bags. Get creative!

2. Turn them into rags.

This works especially well with soft, cotton shirts. Cut them up and turn them int reusable house cleaning rags.

3. Make them into a quilt.

Or get someone who know how to make a quilt to make you a quilt.

4. Find a local textile recycling plant.

There are lots of textile recycling plants all over, we just rarely know about them. Do your research and find one close to you to dump your unwanted pieces.

Even H&M has a clothing recycling program. While I think that H&M could do a great deal more when it comes to ethics and sustainability, I have to applaud their recycling efforts. They accept clothing of any condition and brand to be up-cycled.

So, as you can see! There are lot’s of options when disposing of clothes that don’t involve throwing them into the trash.

Have you tried any of these ways before? Or which one are you most interested in trying? Let me know down below!

And as always, please don’t forget to pin this post and follow me on Instagram for daily inspiration!

how to responsibly get rid of unwanted clothing


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