Thursday 7 March 2019

Declutter your clothes sustainably

This week is Paris Fashion Week and the latest run of shows that make up the whirlwind of events that make up the global fashion scene. As ever the catwalks will be full of elegant creations and wacky showstoppers but all will have one thing in mind – to make us buy more clothes.

Buying lots of new clothes is a huge environmental problem in itself but so is the is disposal of the clothes you no longer want. There are many reasons why you would need to get rid – children have grown out of their clothes, a change of job necessitates new clothes or the clothes have now become so worn and tatty they are beyond use. So what do we do with these clothes so they don't end up in landfill?

Donate to charity shops that sell a range of clothes – Many charity shops are now very fussy about the types of clothes they sell. If they don't think they are fairly new they won't sell them. The clothes they reject are then either sent to landfill, sold on for rags (despite being perfectly wearable) or shipped thousands of miles abroad. Before you hand over a bag of clothes have a look at the type of clothes they are selling and see if the ones you will be donating are likely to be sold.

Sell them yourself – There are plenty of online selling sites you can use. If you have some expensive items you might get more money selling them individually on national sites and posting them. Bundles of clothes will be easier to sell locally where people can come and pick them up.

Swap, swop, swish – I've seen these advertised under various different names but the idea is the same. You set up an event to bring your unwanted clothes to and invite friends and family to do the same. No money changes hand (unless you want to give something to charity) and people can choose the clothes they want to take home with them. You can hire a venue if you wish or hold it in your own home. If you work in a large office or workplace you could see if could arrange something there.

Clothes agency – Outfits for events such as weddings, horse race meetings, garden parties, evening functions are often only worn once for fear of being seen in the same outfit twice. If you have an outfit that fits the bill or accessories such as shoes, hats and bags then try selling them to a clothes agency that specialises in such clothes.

Rags to clean – If you have clothes that are completely beyond being used again then see what can be cut up and used around the house as cleaning clothes. Master JibberJabber's old school polo complete with paint and lunch stains are now used as dusters. I also used them to dry off the car after I had wash it the other week (which in turn saved gallons of water as I used two washing up bowls of water rather than a hosepipe or car wash!)

Recycle rags – If you can't find a use for your tatty clothes then find out what recycling schemes your council has for clothes. Many of them are able to shred them and recycle them for industrial use.

What do you do with your old clothes? Do you recycle them or throw them away?


  1. so true and we are probably all guilty of buying excess clothes (me certainly) - so important to find good ways to re-use such unwanted clothes :)

  2. I do most of these to recycle clothing. The only thing I do burn something that is completely worn out and I can not use as a rag. Otherwise I find some way of reusing or recycling.

  3. I give away old clothes to the locals in our area in Dubai. What they don't use they then either sell, reuse or ship abroad to their home countries #goinggreen

  4. This is absolutely what we do! Wear till it falls apart then reuse or recycle. #GoingGreenLinky

  5. This fits so well with my post on #GoingGreen this month! I wear my clothes into the ground and then use them as cleaning cloths etc. We pass on any of the clothes the boys have grown out of to other families. Oh and we don't buy too many in the first place!

  6. I try not to buy too many clothes in the first place, and we then wear them until they're thread bare. My kids' school organises a textile recycle twice a year as a fundraiser, and that's where most of our unwanted clothes go.


I appreciate your comments. If you have any tips, tricks or tweaks please pass them on!