With spring around the corner, warmer weather and the sun setting later, it’s the perfect time to clean our homes — and especially our closets. Whether that’s purging items you haven’t worn in a while, don’t fit your lifestyle or no longer spark joy for you, there are sustainable ways to declutter your closet than just tossing things in the trash!
Why spring clean sustainably? Some fast facts:
- Total textiles generated was 17 million tons.
- Textiles make up 7.7% of total municipal waste in landfills.
- Only 14.7% of clothing is recycled - equal to 2.5 million tons compared to the 17 million tons of clothing created each year.
- 95% of trashed clothing could be re-worn, recycled or reused.
Here’s how we’re consciously cleansing our closets this spring:
Tears and holes can be easily fixed with a needle and thread. Or treat stains with a simple paste made from baking soda and water or another natural stain remover. We love Remake’s tutorial on easy stitch fixes to mend your clothes.
Give new life to your clothing by giving them a new purpose. Turn them into rags to clean your home in order to use what we have instead of going out to buy more.
Change it up — turn an old pair of jeans into a pair of cutoff shorts or get crafty with natural dyes (flowers and spices) to make your own tie dyed sweatshirt. A Beautiful Mess has a fun guide on experimenting with natural dyes.
Find a new home for items that don’t fit into your lifestyle anymore or you’ve outgrown. Instead of tossing them into the trash, consider giving them to your friends or family. If you’re a bit wary about donating to a local charity — just make sure you are donating items that the organization is actually looking for (as to not pass on the responsibility of tossing the items into the trash). If you choose to resell your clothing, opt for a local consignment store rather than online resellers as to limit carbon emissions from shipping.
More intimate items like socks and underwear are a bit more difficult to responsibly dispose. Divert the clothing items that would otherwise end up in landfills to a textile recycling program instead where recycled textiles can get turned into thermal insulation or even furniture padding. Try out our Recycle Club, launching March 23! Sign up to our e-newsletter to be first to know when the club opens.
Shifting to a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean we need to toss it all out and start from zero. By making little adjustments to how we do things - like cleaning out our closets - we can better take care of our environment.