3 Simple Tips to lowering your clothing impact:

August 6th, 2012

Follow these simple tips to help clean up our collective clothing impact :

1. Buy less. Simple as that, right? not always, but making smart purchasing decisions and exorcising that purchasing power muscle is crucial. Try to buy used / vintage whenever possible, you would be very surprised what you can find at your local thrift or vintage store.  When you feel the need for something new, ask yourself a few questions:

- How long will you get wear out of the item (how many seasons can you transition into with it; how long do you see your self wearing this style?) this ties into the quality or durability factor.

- Do you know where it was manufactured? Not saying that made oversees effects the quality as a rule, but it does feel good to invest in local production and local economies when buying new.

2. Wash Less. Yes, you have heard the benefits of holding off from washing your jeans to get that subtle soft denim quality.  This isn’t the best decision for most fabrics.  But the facts point to water as having the greatest impact in the clothing life-cycle.  Always wash in cold water and pick the shortest cycle (its better for longevity of the fabrics), using low impact detergents. If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor space, or system for line-drying your clothing  (remember that authentic fresh smell when your were a kid and your clothes hung outside to dry?) this substantially cuts back on the energy impact, and there are many solutions to apartment line-drying, as this method of laundering is still pretty prevalent in Europe.

3. Consign/ Donate/ Recycle.  I am a recent  to the consignment world, and am excited to see the process through (I will report back), I have been assured it is the way to go to make a quick buck.  When I have asked friends what they do with old or unused, unworn clothing I am usually surprised by their answer.  Not only do many people just throw out old clothing items (!), they are unaware of the options available to them beyond donating to a charity like goodwill or sally ann.  Below is a quick list of options depending on the sate of the clothing you are trying to offload:

For Consignment:

Condition: New; Used – gently worn (better with higher end labels and brand names):

http://www.buffaloexchange.com

http://www.secondtimearound.net

http://www.tokio7.net

For Recycling:

Condition: Old worn-in; broken down, practically a rag, other textile items such as curtains, bedding, etc:

http://wearablecollections.com

 

For Donation:

Condition: gently worn, washed and clean at time of donation

http://www.goodwillny.org

http://housingworks.org

http://www.valuevillage.com (In Canada)