Wardrobe Cleanout: What to Do When You Can't Donate

What to do with old clothes you can't donate

Heard of Marie Kondo? She is the Japanese organising consultant who coined the term ‘spark joy’ as the deciding factor when sorting and decluttering your space. How about Thread Together? What about that? Thread Together’s mission is to drive social and environmental change by helping those in need through new clothes by managing fashion excess. Okay, now let's talk facts. Did you know that globally, 87% of all disposed textiles are sent to landfill or incinerated; 12% is mechanically recycled by cutting it or shredding it into the fibre, insulation material or rags; and less than 1% is chemically recycled back to reusable raw materials. 

While a wardrobe clean out is great. A clear-out should be done with a clean conscience. Clearing out your wardrobe requires considered thought. During your clear out, know that at that moment, you (yes you!) have the power to decide whether or not the items you’re getting rid of are going to have a second life or if they're going to landfill. 

So, here is our guide to clearing out your closet with a clean conscience.

  1. Consider repairing them

Hold on a second… Before you even think about what to do with that old t-shirt or pair of jeans you wouldn’t consider ever wearing again, are you sure they are beyond repair? Figuring out how to remove stains from clothes or how to fix a zipper on jeans is not too hard.Try different stain removers and washing techniques to get rid of stubborn stains. Test out your sewing skills or take your torn clothes to a seamstress to make adjustments or add patches.

If your clothing is definitely beyond repair, why not get creative with it? Perhaps there’s a print or design on your shirt or dress that you’re particularly fond of – why not cut out the fabric and frame it? Or perhaps you could sew an assortment of fabrics together from various old clothing to create an eclectic blanket. It would make a thoughtful gift, too!

  1. Give them to a fabric recycler

Another option to dispose of unwanted clothing is to donate them to a textile recycler. There are many charitable recycling organisations that specialise in clothing recycling – you can find the nearest one to you. Many organisations will most probably only be interested in commercial amounts of fabrics, but it’s worth giving it a shot. Find your nearest donation bin!

  1. Upcycle the fabric yourself

As touched on earlier, there are plenty of creative things you can do to upcycle your old unwanted clothing. Upcycling fashion is a prominent trend at the moment, so finding some upcycling clothes ideas are not hard to come by. Here are some more: turn them into old rags for cleaning, sew them to cushion covers, use them for pet bedding, donate them to a mechanic for them to use as rags or to an animal shelter. It doesn’t matter if the clothing is in poor condition, someone or something will always find a use for an old rag.

  1. ​​Clothing Swap Party

Swapping clothes is an excellent way to socialise ‘around’ your old clothes. In the process, you can make sustainable additions to your closet. Is it complicated? Not at all. Call five friends and have each bring at least five garments they no longer wear. Then, get the party started!

Clear out tip: Cleaning out your wardrobe is also an opportunity to assess what you currently have. Take note and assess what you really need and use. 

Moving Forward: Mindful Choices 

Obviously, it’s great that there are a range of ways to dispose of old clothing and textiles that are not in good condition. Whether you reuse or recycle them, take them to a collection bin or contact the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations to figure out where to drop off old clothes, there are many ways you can ensure your old clothing avoids the landfill. 

That said, the best method of all is to change your shopping habits in the first place. From opting for natural fibres that are compostable to choosing slow fashion always, here are some handy ways to cut down on clothing waste.

Choose natural fibres

One of the best ways to cut down on clothing waste in the first place is to ensure you pick items made of natural materials. This is because once you are done with the item (if you ever are!) you can try composting it. Although it requires a lot of patience, the environmental benefits of composting old clothing are not to be underestimated. Here’s a guide to composting fabrics.

Sharing is caring, right? If you’re someone that gets bored of your own clothes quickly, why not share or swap your clothing with close friends and family members? Not only is this better for the planet, but it’s better for your bank balance too. Double win!

An essential component of cutting down on clothing waste is building a capsule wardrobe of timeless essentials. Capsule clothing includes items like basic tops for him and her to socks and undies for him and her. A capsule  wardrobe will keep you covered and minimise unnecessary purchases.

Join the slow fashion movement

Continuing on from the last point, it’s vital to ditch fast fashion once and for all and become part of the slow fashion movement. By aligning with ethical and sustainable clothing brands such as Boody, you’ll actively be doing great things for the planet and for yourself. Start cutting down clothing waste today by becoming part of the ever-growing slow, sustainable fashion movement!

Speaking of slow fashion… Creating sustainable alternatives to everyday basics, only practising eco-friendly processes and caring for the people that make our clothes will always be our top priority. We’re on a slower, more mindful schedule. 

So when you say slow, what do you mean?

  • We are passionate about having the lowest possible environmental footprint for both our garments and supply chain and are tirelessly re-assessing our processes. 
  • We use ocean freight instead of air freight. 
  • Every air-mile saved saves CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 
  • With slower production schedules, small-batch collections, and zero-waste designs, we aim to reduce textile waste clogging our landfills. 

 For more sustainable tips, follow @boody #EveryBoody 

You may also like

Read more

How to Support your Skin and Body through your Period

Read more

We're Turning Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Read more

The History of International Women’s Day

Read more

The History of Sydney's Mardi Gras Parade

Read more

What to Look for When Buying Activewear