In my last blog post, #ootd [canadian tuxedo], I touched on the importance of being a mindful consumer, especially in how we “consume” clothing. I work on the merchandise-processing team at H&M, so I get to see all the products before they hit the floor. It’s especially difficult to resist the urge to buy when I process new merchandise; I can own a cute shirt or dress before any of our customers. I’ve succumbed to the temptation numerous times and don’t see myself breaking this habit any time soon. However, I have gotten better at forcing myself to return items because I’ve realized I’d rather have an extra $15 or $20 in my checking account than a new shirt.
Anyway, my last post inspired today’s topic–how to recycle your closet! There are a variety of nearly effortless ways to recycle your wardrobe, from reorganizing your closet to donating to Goodwill. Being an only child, I was very possessive of my “stuff.” As an adult, that’s translated into being very mindful (and still possessive) about my belongings. I try to take good care of everything I buy because it is important to me to maximize the life of my belongings. As a result, I love figuring out new ways to reuse and recycle what I own because it makes me feel like less of a mindless/wasteful consumer.
So, here are just a few ideas of how you can recycle your wardrobe!
Donate to Goodwill
I recently discovered the #31daysofkindness challenge created by Ryan Avery through his wife Chelsea’s website, The New Wifestyle. (I highly recommend you take a look at her site. She’s got a great writing “voice” and offers great insight to marriage, relationships, and life.) The challenge for day 13 (July 27) was “donate at least one piece of clothing.” I’ve had a bag of clothes sitting in my bedroom for MONTHS that I’ve refused to do anything with. But, inspired by this challenge, I finally got off my butt and donated to Goodwill! I actually went through my wardrobe before my trip and found a few new pieces to add to my donation. And donating couldn’t have been easier. All you do is go to a donation site and drop of your bag of clothes (or other household items) with a Goodwill employee. For more info on donating, please visit Goodwill’s “Donate Stuff” page.
There are so many good reasons to donate to Goodwill! (All these bullet points are described in more detail on the aforementioned “Donate Stuff” page.)
1. You help keep clothes (and other items) out of landfills.
2. You help individuals in your community who need jobs. A large percentage of the money raised through items purchased goes toward professional developing and career counseling for Goodwill employees. To see what impact your donation could make on a Goodwill emlpoyee check out Goodwill’s “Locator” tool.
3. You help individuals and families in your community purchase clothes and household goods at affordable prices.
4. You can deduct your donations on your taxes. The “donation attendant” will give you a receipt for your purchases. You can then use Goodwill’s donation valuation guide to determine the approximate values of each item you donated. The figure you come up with can be deducted from your taxes. I recommended making a list of every item you plan to donate beforehand. That way you can value your items at a later date, if you want.
Host a Clothing-Swap Party
You love your friends’ style, why not trade clothes with them?
This idea comes from my friend Shannon, who hosted a clothing-swap party a few months ago. I couldn’t attend since I’m over 500 miles away but, I’m so proud of her for helping others see the value in their unwanted clothing. If you decide to host your own party Shannon recommends encouraging guests to bring other unused items, like “purses, shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, and even home accessories, like picture frames and mirrors.” In addition to clothes and accessories, Shannon had guests bring snacks, food, and wine. I love how a clothing-swap party combines the casual atmosphere of a garage sale with the intimacy of a night in with a group of girlfriends. I think I’d like to host one myself!
Donate Your Clothes to H&M
I couldn’t write about recycling your closet without mentioning my own company’s clothing recycling initiative. “In all we do, sustainability is a natural part” is one of H&M’s core values. From recycling plastic hangers to reusing metal hangers, the company asks its employees to do everything with sustainability in mind. The H&M Conscious program has grown in scope and significance since I began working for the company over six years ago. Throughout the year, you can donate any “unwanted garments from any brand” (wording from the back of our receipts) to any H&M store and receive a coupon for 15% off one item. And, usually during the beginning of the summer season, we offer various garments with an “H&M Conscious” label. This means that part of the piece your buying is made out of recycled cotton/materials. If these sustainability initiatives aren’t enough to convince you to support H&M, the company has also been working on improving wages for its factory workers and they have strict guidelines about the animal products they use. H&M isn’t perfect but they try to be socially responsible in all they do, and it’s a company I’m proud to work for.
Ask the Audience
Have you ever donated clothing? How do you practice being a mindful consumer? What stores do you like to shop at that emphasize sustainable practices?
Song of the Day
3 Things by Jason Mraz
I’m so happy that this talented man is still making music. It’s weird thinking about all the musicians who originally made it big when I was a preteen/teenager who are still relevant. Jason Mraz is one of those (see, also, Gavin Degraw and John Mayer). A high school friend actually got his autograph for me at a meet-and-greet. He wrote “somebody loves you.” I loved the simplicity and optimism of that. I’m feeling a little down today, and this song is the pick-me-up I needed. I think you’ll find that you needed it, too!