Spring is certainly in the air! For a fashion nerd like me, the change of seasons is something I always look forward to. It is the time when I purge and organize my closets—packing out one season and bringing out the next. Like music evokes memories for some, going through and organizing my clothes brings a bit of nostalgia to me. I look at items and can remember galas that I have attended or what I wore when I landed my first “real” job in Corporate America. So much fun reminiscing, but when is one ever really going to wear a tweed Ralph Lauren suit in Florida? Sometimes my organizing takes me to a “what was I thinking?” moment; going through some well intentioned fashion “dos and don’ts” (It was on sale! I’ll lose weight!) And before I know it, I have a pile as tall as Mount Everest on my bed and possibly a buried Chihuahua or two. What to do with it all?
Now, you could try and sell items on eBay, Poshmark or consign them—but just know that unless it is within the current season, in great shape and still in fashion—you are probably not going to get very much for them (if at ALL) versus the amount of work to takes to list and manage online items. You could give the items to friends or family—IF they are your size and have the same taste or you could simply just throw them away.
I definitely would not recommend the latter. According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubling over the last 20 years. I also found it interesting to note that according to their research, the average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of used clothing per person. On average, nationally, it costs cities $45 per ton to dispose of old clothing. On top of that, synthetic clothing may take hundreds of years to decompose. That is some definite mean girl behavior towards mother earth.
With Earth day just around the corner, I wanted to share with you some ways that you can offset your fashion footprint on the environment:
There are a lot of charities out there that finance their organizational programs by way of reselling in-kind donations via thrift shops. Many shops take household items and furniture in addition to clothing and it is a great way to give back to your charity of choice. Now keep in mind, it is A LOT easier for an organization to sell winter jackets in October than it is July, so be mindful of season and functionality of items when you donate, but every little bit does help. Some organizations are more targeted, like Dress for Success and will only accept business attire—so be sure to keep that in mind and do your homework as to what the organization of your choice does and does not accept. The greatest factor in all of this is that not only are you helping others and giving back, your donation helps keep items out of our landfills and oceans!
You could resell your items, which is still keeping it “green” and making you some in the process—but not everyone has time for that! For those of you that do—Poshmark, ThredUp and eBay are all very simple to use. For those not as technologically savvy, find a consignment shop near you—but remember, just because you paid a lot for it does not necessarily mean that you will be GETTING a lot for it. (Condition, designer, season, and trend will dictate your fair market value.) Most shops also charge a commission for selling your item on your behalf so be sure to know what those terms are and read the fine print!
We are all guilty of it. Scrolling mindlessly for hours looking at Pinterest project after Pinterest project thinking to yourself, “Oh, I could do that!” Famous last words in my house. But honestly—you can! I had this gorgeous bell-sleeved LBD back in the day. It was so chic—then bell-sleeves were no longer de rigueur. Instead of tossing the dress—I grabbed my mother’s seam ripper and separated the sleeves from the dress, a little fusible web and a few quick stitches and I had THE PERFECT little black dress for a night out on the town. Loved that dress to death and it only took me thirty minutes from start to finish. I also made the cutest bed for my dogs out of old sweaters—all ideas I found off the internet. (For anyone interested—leave me your email in the comments and I can send you how I did it!)
As you can see—there are several options out there to reduce your impact on the planet! So get out there, live your most beauty.full life and keep Mother Nature in mind not just on Earth Day—but every day! I would love to see some of your up-cycling projects so feel free to post those in the comments!