What to Do with Your Old Clothes

Did you know the fashion and textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world, comparable with oil and coal? Climate change and fast fashion are not a good look, and we can’t afford to continue adding garments to the heavily increasing amount of fashion waste.

There’s no need to throw your old clothes in the garbage. Try one of these eco-friendly alternatives instead.

Donate

Many places in the city will take gently worn clothing off your hands, and they make it easy to do. You can drop clothes off directly at thrift stores or, if you happen to be near one, place bags inside specially marked clothing donation bins. If you’re bringing items in person, keep in mind that thrift stores have their own policies in place regarding acceptable articles of clothing.

In addition to traditional outlets, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army, various for-profit organizations, like Levi’s and H&M, encourage customers to bring back their old clothes—from any brand—to be reused or recycled. 

Consign

The city and the GTA are home to local consignment shops interested in reselling your garments. Alongside brick and mortar shops are designer resale websites, like Poshmark and The Real Real, who make it easy to sell your previously loved clothes while giving you the chance to cash in on the side.

Similar to thrift store policies, consignment shops have their list of clothes, shoes, and accessories for resale. Not every consignment shop is a “general” one accepting any and all types of clothing. The store may cater to a niche market, such as menswear, luxury goods, or kids’ items. Designer Swap, a high end consignment shop, is one example of this kind of shop. We specialize in reselling discount designer clothing!

Repurpose

Those jeans you’ve worn through can be cropped into a cute pair of jean shorts. Your old t-shirts make for great workout tops. Cleaning rags are former shirts cut up and set them aside for this purpose.

You can even get really crafty, repurposing sweaters into coffee cozies and flannel shirts into scarves. From button-up pillowcases to sweater hats, there’s no shortage of ideas for turning old clothes into something new. All you need to do is channel your inner seamstress.

Swap

One gal’s old dress is another gal’s new dress, or so the saying goes. Host a clothing swap with your girlfriends, asking everyone to bring preloved garments they no longer wear.

This girls’ night in can be as casual or formal as you like, depending on the number of invitees and location of the swap. All you really need is your clothes, your friends, and yourself. Communicate with guests ahead of time so they know what to bring, providing a “guideline” of acceptable items if necessary and, if a lot of friends are invited, a limit as to how many items each person can take.

Set up shop with clothing racks and hangers, and if you have the space, a table for everyone to peruse the items. You never know what you’ll find, and anything left over can be recycled or donated.

Recycle

We’ve mentioned you can recycle old clothes—a seemingly impossible thought—for those truly ratty items that can’t be given new life. Holey socks and stained shirts with nowhere else to go can be recycled! Places like Bra Recycling, Canadian Textile Recycling, TerraCycle, and Soles 4 Souls are just a few examples of stores who accept items that have nowhere else to go.

Be sure to review recycling clothing companies ahead of time to confirm your old clothes are going where the company says they do, and that the items you’re dropping off will be accepted.

What do you with your old clothes? Let us know in the comments!

Designer Swap is Canada’s online luxury consignment shop and Toronto-based fashion blog. Find gently-used and pre-loved authentic designer pieces to purchase and read about the newest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Make sure to check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

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