How to declutter sustainably

Decluttering can be an important step to live more consciously and give your life a more minimalistic approach. But sorting out clothes can sometimes do more harm to the environment than good if done in the wrong way. We have collected for you some tips on how to declutter sustainably.

Why it is important to declutter sustainably?

Let’s start with the “why”. Why is it so important to declutter sustainably?

80% of discarded clothes end up in landfills. This equals worldwide to approx. 92 million tons of clothes. (Source: remake.world)

This is a massive number. 

And that is why it is so important in the first place to think twice before buying something. Especially when it comes to garments made of synthetic materials such as polyester. 

Synthetic materials can take up to 200 years to fully biodegrade! (Source: remake.world)

Which might seem like an eternity and fully out of proportion for an item just worn once.

Why it is important where you bring the decluttered items?

But of course, keeping all garments in your wardrobe forever is also not the best solution.

Especially when you are on a path to free yourself from materialistic goods and start to get into topics like Minimalism

But just bringing your items to the closest “yellow box” around your corner might also not be the best solution.

24% of the items donated are getting shipped abroad and resold in countries like Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America. A lot of these clothes are anyway ending up in landfills in the end. (Source: remake.world)

This is why it is important to figure out where to best donate them, so you can make sure it might have a positive impact on someone’s life and get reused.

Where to bring your decluttered items for the best impact?

Info: before sorting out something, you need to ask yourself: Can I finish it? Or can I repurpose it?

Just because you want to turn your household into plastic-free doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of all plastic items in a rush. Try to finish your products.

In the frame of becoming more sustainable, single-use items such as paper kitchen towels can easily be replaced with textile cloths. For this, you can easily repurpose old bedsheets, towels, or even t-shirts. If you have some skill set, maybe you can also repurpose some old clothes like Kate.

Coats and Warm Clothes

Garments like these are always welcomed at Charities. Check especially for local charity organizations like the church, which can give it directly to those in need, also in your local area.

Dresses, Shirts, Pants, etc.

You can try selling them online, or maybe also organize a swap party with your friends. Alternatively, you can try to give them to vintage shops, maybe you can even make a bit of money out of it, but also opt for giving it for free if the company donates its revenues. You could even find some recycling stations close to where you live, where you can bring them and the materials can be recycled and have a second life.

Shoes

When the shoes are still in fine quality (and maybe also without 10 cm heels) you can donate them to local charities. In case you are trying to get rid of a pair of high heels, try selling them online.

Bags

Bags are something easy to be sold online, even if you don’t have a fancy designer bag, there are plenty of websites online where you can resell your used bags.

Towels and other textiles

These things are good to upcycle, but they are also easy to be donated for a good cause. Either you can check for local charities, especially those welcoming refugees, but also animal shelters are a good destination for old textiles.

Toiletries

These items fall into the category to be “finished” but, in specific cases, it can also make sense to pass them onwards. If you already used the item and it is already opened (but e.g. you got some skin irritations), you can give it to your friends. In case it is unopened you also give it to a local women’s shelter. (You can check if they would also be interested in some of your old clothes).

Books

A lot of bars or restaurants collect free books, where you could bring your own books. Otherwise, check for local bookshops who resell used books.

We hope this article can help you understand how important it is for the items you are already having to opt for a thought-through option when decluttering. The impact of our clothes is not just the environmental impact during production, but also what happens after we have no longer use them.

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