We all have been at that point when we look at our wardrobes and feel overwhelmed. Not knowing what to do with the garments we have, since it is a mixture of clothes and styles that do not reflect our personal style at all.
Whether this is your case, or that you are moving from home, is always a good time to declutter your wardrobe.
But … how do we know what kind of clothes are in good condition to be donated and which things are better to repurpose at home?
If this is your case, keep reading this article as I will give you some simple steps to follow that will help you to make this process easier.
If you have not worn that dress in the last year, what makes you think you will wear it in the following year?
The simplest way to know if you should donate an item is by remembering when was the last time you wore it, if you can’t remember or can’t see yourself wearing it again, going out to have dinner or in a normal day, that means that item is just taking space in your wardrobe. Just keep the garments that reflect your personal style and you feel comfortable wearing, remember by donating you are giving to these items the chance to be wear and loved again, and you will make someone else happy.
Remember “Donation bins are not Trash bins”
Only donate things that are in good used condition. Think like if you were giving them to a friend or a family member, would you be embarrassed to give them these garments? If the answer is yes, then is not a good idea to donate them.
Because, ripped, broken, soiled or unusable garments/items can’t be sold and become a problem for your local op shop, as they have to dispose of these materials and pay expensive landfill fees, as you can see, rather than helping we are causing a costly problem.
Whether they have buttons or zippers, make sure they work well. Some of these items often are not sold since most of the people want to buy something that is ready to wear, not everybody is willing to mend and repair second-hand items before to wear them.
May I donate mended garments?
This is a tricky question, as quality levels may be different for everybody, but I think the easiest way to find out if it is in good condition, is asking yourself again if you would give it to a friend.
I bought these pants second hand a couple of years ago and they had a little hole. I mended and worn them many times, as you can see the little hole is almost unnoticeable, so in this case, they are in better condition than when I bought them because apart of that, the fabric still resistant, the zipper works well and has its button attached.
What do I do with the garments in bad condition for donating?
Well, you have two options and this depends on what sort of fabrics you need to dispose of, and your sewing skills and creativity.
Sometimes the fabric still in good condition but the garment has a hole. As I mentioned before, not all the people are willing to mend, these jeans are a perfect example of that, the denim still in great condition, is a beautiful colour but it has a big rip in the leg, something like that is the perfect DIY/Mendidng project.
Another great example of the items that we can Up-cycle or Recycle is the classic T-shirt, in this case, it does not have any hole, but you can see discoloration over the armpit area, but because this is about 90% cotton can be recycled as rugs for cleaning or even better, Upcycle as T-shirt yarn for crafts or even recycled jewelry (click in the following link for some Up-cycled Jewelry Inspiration).
Make sure the clothes and shoes are clean.
Remember that charity opshops don’t have the facilities to wash or clean donated items.
That means once you put them in their bins, volunteers and customers will handle them and even try them on, so make sure everything you are donating is freshly washed.
And finally fold all your items nice and tidy, put them in a resistant paper or plastic bag, anything that you are sure is not gonna get ripped, because once you put them in the bin, these items will be handled for many people and we want to make the process easier for all those volunteers.
Make sure you always deposit your goods into the donation bins, not over or around them, as quite often Charity Shops cannot use them, as they classify them as contaminated if they have been exposed to the rain for example. Remember they do not have laundry facilities.
Through this post I am not saying that we should continue with excessive consumption habits and donate clothes once when don’t want them anymore, what I’m aiming through this post, is encouraging you to know your personal style first, fall in love with the clothes that are already in your wardrobe, and guide you through the donation process in the most appropriate way.
Donating is a great way to make Fashion circular, by donating you are supporting people in need, as every charity supports different communities and causes, but most important and as always, next time you think about Upgrade your wardrobe I encourage you to opt for second-hand and Vintage garments, by doing this you are not only saving money, you are diverting all that waste from landfill, as 6,000 kilograms of textiles go to landfill every 10 minutes in Australia onl .