The Environmental Protection Agency reports more than 21 billion pounds (70 lbs. per person) of post-consumer textile waste ends up in landfills every year. Only 15 percent of all post-consumer textiles enter the recycling stream. [source]
I'll let that sink in for a minute.
Now, we can do better than that! If you have clothing, shoes, or bags that you no longer want, there are many places you can get rid of them and sometimes make a bit of money too. My closet is another part of my life I'm "minimalizing" and I'd like to pass on to you some of the best ways I've discovered to share, swap, or donate used and unwanted clothing.
In Person: Your city likely has a consignment shop or two where you can drop off your clothing, shoes, and accessories. If they sell, you'll make some cash or store credit and support a local business.
Online: I've written about online resale sites before and they are only getting more popular. My favorite resale site, Twice, now takes shoes and bags as well as clothing. Other sites, like Threadflip, even take jewelry.
Find all of the options in the Shop Vintage & Thrift section.
Host a Fashion Swap
This is a super fun way to trade clothing with your friends and family. Host a small gathering at your house, like my friend Christina did. Or plan a big public bash like the site Score! does in different cities. Any way you do it, you get rid of the clothes you no longer want and you might come away with a cool new item for you! Any leftover items can go to a local charity shop.
In fact, the Ethical Writers Co. are throwing one this weekend! If you are in NYC, RSVP and join us. We'll have swag bags, fair trade wine, and lots of cool women to meet and swap with. Get all of the details on the Ethical Writers Co. website.
Refashion or Upcycle
Turn a t shirt into a shopping bag. A sweater into mittens. Jeans into a lunch sack! You name it, Pinterest has done it. With some minimal sewing skills, you can refashion something you dislike into something you love.
Halloween is coming up too, and old clothes make the best costumes.
I've written about Yerdle before. Their aim is to reduce consumption by promoting a sharing community. List your clothing (or anything) on Yerdle from the mobile app and receive points which you can use to get other stuff. I've gotten two pairs of shoes myself, but Yerdle is a good option if you want something other than clothes for your clothes. The recipient pays the shipping, you print the label, and then send it off for them to enjoy.
Just like your unwanted books, if you just want the stuff out of your hair, donate it to your local charity or thrift shop. Bonus: get a receipt and write it off your taxes.
Clothes that are too degraded for donation can be recycled. Textiles are recycled into wiping rags, fiber for car door panels, and insulation.
I drop mine at my local NYC Greenmarket. They are then sorted and sold for reuse or recycling rather than going to the landfill. You can also apply to have a textile recycling box installed in your building!
Find nationwide textile recycling centers with this tool from the Council for Textile Recycling.
Any one of these ways is better than letting perfectly good textiles go to the landfill. How do you get rid of your unwanted clothes?
This page contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission (or credits) if you sign up or buy something through the link (it doesn't change the amount you pay). I will only include brands that I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you.
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