There will often be a corner in our wardrobe where we can find clothes we no longer find exciting or don’t really need. I must admit, the bottom of my drawers have t-shirts I have not worn in years, along with a stack of purchased new clothes that have not been touched! I understand how easy it is to be allured to purchase a bargain shirt, or to buy something on the whim because you must have it. Due to fast fashion it’s easier to frequently purchase cheaper, meaningless items and throw them away as easily. These are habits that we need to move away from, as it is not sustainable. Evidently, when we purchase consciously we get quality along with a story; we develop an attachment with these clothes, which eventually becomes hard to detach from.

So, if you have started to follow a conscious consumer journey, here are a few sustainable ideas on how to spring clean your wardrobe. Before you start to donate or pass on your unwanted clothing, make sure they are good enough to be worn again; freshly washed, amended poor conditions such as tears, missing buttons or broken zips.

Swap with friends & family

We all know that selection of clothes in our friend’s wardrobe that we really like. Or when you are out shopping and you both end up wanting the same items, but only one of you end up purchasing. Next time you and your friends hold a dinner party or hang out at your place, try organising a SWAP; this is when you and your friends exchange clothing items each of you personally do not find exciting anymore, but the others will. This can result in a fun evening of dressing up, a couple glasses of wine, to sharing stories about particular garments that are exchanged.

You can also look into attending or hosting clothes SWAP events near you. For example, Fashion Revolution Portugal will be hosting a SWAP in Lisboa during Fashion Revolution Week in April. Here, you will be able to get rid of clothes you no longer need, and give others an opportunity to own in. And, who knows you might find some incredible items. Moreover, you can always hand down clothes you no longer want to family members, such as siblings, cousins, nephews or even your grandparents! Let them choose what they want as they will appreciate the gesture.

Re-costumise or Re-purpose

With clothes that you’ve gotten tired of or has gained some wear and tear over time you can try to re-customise the garments. Such as adding or changing buttons, shortening hemlines, turning old t-shirts into cleaning cloths, removing sleeves to reconstruct old skirts into tote bags. Denim from unwanted jeans is a great material to up-cycle as it durable and hard-wearing, making fabulous tote or shopping bags. Look out for local up-cycling workshops, where you can take a selection of unwanted clothing items with you and be inspired to create something totally unique!

If you own a sewing machine, even better, as you can easily re-customise and re-purpose unwanted clothing, old bed sheets and curtains into fresh and useful items. It is a matter of a quick Google search to see where you can go to attend up-cycling or sewing workshops near you. There is also Pinterest where you can find many mind-blowing ideas to help you with re-customising and re-purposing your unwanted clothes and fabrics.

We would love to know which method you’ve chosen to sustainably handle your unwanted stack of clothing!