Don't let the perfectly good clothing that you no longer wear go to waste! There are a lot of reasons and lot of resources available that make recycling your old pieces easy, economical, and environmentally friendly.
1. Get organized
Cleaning out my closet is something I typically do biannually; once in the summer and once in the winter. i find that purging the clothes I no longer wear can prove to be cathartic. Instead of opening your closet doors to a mess of overstuffed bins, untidy shelves, clothes falling off of their hangers, or strewn on the floor, removing things you haven't worn in 2-3 months allows you to move your hanging clothes with more ease, and have more visibility of your little inventory. If you really want to go crazy, you can take this as an opportunity to organize by color and garment type.
2. Make some cash
The best perk of recycling your unwanted clothes is getting money back out of them. This works best when you are trying to rid yourself of nicer items that maybe don't fit anymore or don't fall in line with your current style because used clothing stores (like the one I work for) are able to buy brand-name items for a higher price.
Clothing sold at our store is priced at 50-75% off retail, and in-turn we offer around a third of that for each respective item that we want to purchase. We, and most other retail consignment stores, however, don't take everything that is presented to us. We search for on-trend pieces with little wear. If you clean out your closest frequently, it's not hard to find an abundance of items that fit this description.
Take note that selling your clothes to stores like these is most profitable when you have a lot of clothing you no longer want. If you have more time or are focused on getting rid of just a few items, or particularly nice items- for example, a pair of Vans you wore once that hurt your feet, or a designer watch that you got for Christmas that's color your not thrilled about- can sell for more on sites like Poshmark, ThredUp, or even Facebook Marketplace.
3. Do your part for society and the environment
While it's not the most glamorous perk, it is arguably one of the most important benefit of recycling your old clothes. With that being said, DO NOT THROW CLOTHES IN THE GARBAGE.
Even if you are unable to get money for them, many charities exist that rely to clothing donations to provide low-cost, affordable clothing for low-income families, or to generate money for other charitable acts.
Now brace yourself for this statistic, but Newsweek estimates that the US alone sends around 14 million tons of textiles to landfills each year. To put that into perspective, that's around 82 pounds of clothing per American. By passing our clothing along, we can keep from increasing those numbers.
4. Look cute for less
While it's important to recycle your clothes, buying recycled clothing is just as beneficial. In doing so, you promote businesses that facilitate this process and discourage the overproduction of textiles by clothing corporations.
Plus, it's great for your wallet! As previously mentioned, consignment stores price like-new clothing for half or more than half of what it's priced in other retail stores. Shopping secondhand can also help you cultivate a more one of a kind look, due to the vast variety of styles that are sold in one location.
5. Discourage slave labor
Another crucial factor in deciding to recycle your clothes or shop secondhand is that it means there is one less customer to stores that exploit employees overseas by paying them very small amounts of money to work long hours in poor conditions.
When you buy cheaper clothing straight from its source, you are more likely to be supporting a company that does, in fact, use these labor tactics. When you buy cheap clothing for a secondhand store, instead, you are a small, but significant step in breaking the cycle.