What To Do With Old Clothes

In December I went to visit some of my family members in Perth. It was during the festive season, so I eventually got sucked into shopping sprees and bought more clothes than I needed. I came back to South Africa with twice as many clothes as I left with.

Not very sustainable, I know, but bear with me.

When I arrived home and unpacked my bags I was overwhelmed. I had too many clothes. It all accumulated over four years. I left for Australia right after I completed my final exams in December and I did not have time to clean out my closet. I eventually made a plan to clear out the clutter and make room for my new clothes from Australia. It did not take much time. I managed to unpack my closet, sort and pack them again in less than an hour.

You might have more clothes than me so you would need more time, but the approach would be the same. You might be thinking to yourself ‘how difficult can it be to get rid of clothes?’ It’s actually quite difficult considering how much money you have spent on them and their sentimental value. But, if you follow these steps a below you’ll be done sorting your clothes in no time.

Take Your Clothes Out…

This is where you get everything out in the open. Take out every piece of clothing you have. You don’t have to unpack them neatly. When I did this my room looked like a mess, with clothes sprawled all over the floor, on my bed…and desk… and my chair…
You will be surprised with how many clothes you have!

Sort Your Clothes

Sorting your clothes is where the work comes in, because you have to decide what clothes you want to keep. First you will have two piles of clothing. One pile will be clothes that you will keep and the other will be clothes that you
will give away.
You need to ask yourself theses questions as you pack:

  1. How often do I wear this item?
  2. Can I still fit into it?
  3. Is it old faded/frayed/torn?

If something is old, small or if you barely wear it, put in the pile of clothes that are going. If you really love a piece of clothing and you wear it often, or if it is brand new then keep it.

Decide On What To Keep

Next thing you have to sort is pile of clothes you will keep. Consider the current season and what clothes you will need right now. It’s summer here in South Africa so I kept all my summer clothes and packed away my winter items. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of clothes you have then you can always sort for winter  closer to the start of the season and sort the summer clothes now. Although, with the odd weather patterns we have been having I had to keep 3 jerseys and coats out. Once you know what you’re keeping, fold and hang them away neatly.

Get Rid of Old Clothes

This step is about sorting the clothes you will not keep. Many people make the mistake of throwing away old clothes. This is completely unethical and harmful to the environment. Have you ever considered how long it takes for a t-shirt to decompose? Or if someone else might actually need clothes more than you?

So, more sorting needs to be done!

There are many charities in South Africa, such as the Salvation Army, that collects old clothes for the underprivileged. If your clothes are in a good enough condition for someone else to wear, then donate it. There are also sites where you can swap and sell your old clothes. I personally have not done it before but if you have or are willing to try it out then by all means, sell it! I ended up donating my old clothes.

Not to sound crazy, but my room actually feels lighter. Sorting your clothes is not only beneficial for you, but also for those who received the clothes you gave away and for the environment.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

-Kayla Shivana

Follow my cruelty-free and sustainable journey on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

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