Out with the old, in with the new! New year is a great time to declutter and make space for what comes next. Even if your new year’s resolution is to consume more consciously, or to buy less, clearing away items that you do not need reduces clutter and will enable you to feel more organised and help you be more efficient - your home is a living space, not a storage space after all. Here are a few decluttering and fashion organizing tips from the culthread team to help you get through the process.
Set aside a few hours
... because this might take a while! Be prepared to take time to go through each item for three objectives (or less): donate, alter/fix or give away.
Ask yourself questions
When was the last time you wore it? When will you wear it again? What would you wear it with? If you’re struggling to answer these questions your best off donating it or giving it away.
How will it look with other pieces you have in your wardrobe?
When debating whether to keep a piece of clothing or not, it may be useful to brainstorm a few outfits ideas you could add it into. If the piece doesn’t quite go with your general outfits, maybe it’s time to let it go.
What is the state of the clothing?
Has it stood the test of time? Or did it suffer from a stain that never really came out? For any slight discolouration or missing component, a minor alteration is all it takes to get it back to its prime state.
Learn from it
Once you sort through the pile, notice anything in common or interesting: are you removing items from your wardrobe that are of a similar style, or are the items most in need of resizing or alterations? Use the process to inform yourself of future purchases.
So now that you’ve sorted your items into piles for alteration or donation and giveaway, what’s next?
Giving away to charities
You’ve probably ended up with a few bags of clothing that you haven’t worn in at least 6 months (or a year), and you’re ready to bring them to the charity shop around the corner. In an ideal world, your donated pieces get sorted through, shopkeepers will put it on the shop floor and they get bought and goes to a new owner, or your donation goes to those in need… Simple, right? Turns out, the process might not actually be that straightforward at all. In fact, charity shops are inundated with donations, and since the quality two thirds of clothing donated doesn’t fit the standards to be resold, that clothing ends up being exported overseas.
Eight in ten Londoners¹ donate their clothes to charity after a clear-out. So how do we make sure our intention is reflected? Make sure your donated items are fully functional and wearable. Missing zip, stained or even slightly torn? Apply this rule of thumb: If it’s not fit for sale, don’t donate it.
Any such items not fit for donation can be recycled by bringing them to textile banks where the pieces will be broken down and made into new items such as padding or industrial blankets. TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away, and they have great resources such as an interactive local textile bank finder, accessible here.
If you’re clearing out your wardrobe, chances are you’re not alone, and that your friends are probably thinking the same too. Instead of a brunch date out with your friends, encourage your friends to bring items that they do not wear but still wearable to yours to swap and refresh each other wardrobe - it can be a social event. If you’d like some more ideas on how to make sustainable living social and fun, head over to our recent blog post.
Pre-owned fashion is IN! According to Vestiaire Collective², the global resale market is anticipated to be worth €35bn (£30bn) by 2021. Digital platforms like Vestiaire Collective, Poshmark, The Realreal and Depop allow you to list items and connect you with potential buyers. All you need to do is submit a listing with detailed photos of your items, a description including any details such as ‘lightly worn’ or ‘never been worn’ and name a price! This is a guaranteed way that your clothing will have a prolonged life cycle with a new owner.
For any pieces that are treasured and staying in your wardrobe, look after them with great care to make it last (we have some awesome tips here if you would like to find out more!) and if you have more time, take a look at our blog post where we looked into the impact of fast fashion is on our environment!
¹ TRAID, Recycling clothes, London (2018), p.22
² Drapers Online (Link)