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Dana Evann Sorge

Closet Purging 101

Image: blommablonde

Everyone is closet purging. It’s become the thing to do while we homeschool or quarantine-camp our kids, in a way that is oddly chic. Those popular organizing gurus might give us inspo, but they leave out the most crucial step: recycling, upcycling, and reloving all that unnecessary stuff. They miss the opportunity to contribute this “waste” towards a circular economy. Instead, we are advised to send them straight to the trash. This year alone, households in the US will recycle or donate only 15 percent of their used clothing, and the rest—about 10.5 million tons a year—goes into landfills. Our goal is to contribute to the elite 15% and purge in a way that’s sustainable
Girls standing closet
Image: Etsy
Here are our Top 10 Tips for Savy Closet-Purging that spark joy for mammas and the planet.

◦Get organized. The first step is assessing your goods. Sort the apparel you’re letting go of into three different piles: Clothing of value, clothing of no resale value but in good condition (outdated or not brand-name), and clothing with little value (stains, holes, wear & tear).

◦Pass it forward. Clothing with value should be reloved. First, check to see if any of your family members or friends can make use of them. Who doesn’t love hand-me-downs?

◦Trade it up. Focusing in on the value pile, trade in your apparel on Shop Tomorrows, or sell it online or locally at other secondhand sites. This option is best for in-style items in great condition.

◦Donate responsibly. Clothing in good condition but that’s a bit outdated or not brand-name should be given a second life, but won’t be accepted at many second hand stores. Donate it responsibly by choosing a specific organization you know will distribute the apparel properly without contributing to the excess amount of textile waste. Further information can be found on our latest blogpost.

◦Put it on stage. If you come across any statement pieces, vintage clothes or costumes check in with your local school or community theatre to see if they’re accepting donations.

◦Upcycle. Clothing or textiles should never be thrown in the trash. Upcycle them to their fullest potential. Stained hoody? Tie dye it! Beat-up jeans? Make ‘em into cut-offs. Jean jacket needs an upgrade? Patch and paint it. Too many tshirt? Quilt them!

◦Take it to the animal shelter. For towels, sheets, or blankets, donate them to your local animal shelter. Furry friends will be forever grateful.

◦Recycle your textiles. For additional places to donate worn textiles, here are a few options:

-For old sneakers of any brand, bring them to Nike for Reuse-A-Shoe

-Other retailers that accept apparel to be recycled are H&M: Don’t Let Fashion Go to Waste  (any brand), Eileen Fisher: Green Eileen (their brand only), and Patagonia: Closing the Loop (their brand only).

GrowNYC: a great place to drop off worn clothing to be recycled. Locations are throughout New York City.

Bay State Textiles: drop off locations are placed throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.

-Here is the complete list of organizations and sites for apparel recycling programs

◦Don’t scrap it, Fab-scrap it. Fashion or interior designer in the Tristate area? Donate surplus fabrics to @FabScrap or @MaterialsForTheArts, which “collects surplus materials and redistributes them, free of charge, to NYC public schools & nonprofits with arts programming.”

◦Toss it in the bin. Not all curbside donation/recycling bins are equal (some are for-profit, others just create landfill), so read-up before you recycle. We love @WearableCollections, which has bins in buildings and schools across NYC, and @baystatetextiles in CT and MA.

Closet-purging is one silver lining to this difficult time. The other is purging our old values of buy-wear-toss. We bet those heaps of unloved stuff will make more conscious consumers out of all of us, and that’s one tiny thing to be grateful for.

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