Old clothes piling up? 4 eco-friendly ways to get rid of them

There is no secret that the environment has been greatly affected in the last decade and that we must take actions towards saving it. It is true this is an overwhelming task for a single person, and chances are change is better implemented when there is collective involvement, and you can start small.

How often have you had to declutter your wardrobe? Regardless of whether you shop for clothes often or are the kind of person who only buys the basics, you had to get rid of clothes at some point in your life. One of the most used options is donating them, but even then, there is no guarantee clothes are not thrown away.

So, we have made a list of what you can do to  tidy up your wardrobe in an eco-friendly way. ‌  There's also the option of repurposing, which has become a thriving action, appreciated by established designers and amateurs alike.

Without further ado, here are four sustainable ways to get rid of your clothes or give them a new life:


It is highly likely you had exchanged clothes between you and your friends when you were a teenager.

You can still do it regardless of your age and make a party out of this. Gather your friends and tell everyone to bring items of clothing that have gathered dust on the hanger.

It doesn't matter if you don't all wear the same size. You can still find something suitable for you, which perhaps needs only a few alterations. Swapping clothes can be a fun experience, and not only do you avoid buying many new clothes that would end up not being worn, but you also give a new life to an old item.

You can always choose to donate them, whether it is a known acquaintance or an organisation, or harity. You probably haven't realised, but you might have a friend or relative who knows someone in need of clothing, yet they have little financial means to afford such an expense. Indeed, in this case, you probably have to sort out your donation pile to match with their appearance, in case there is someone much younger than you.

Nevertheless, there are still options where you can safely donate to an organisation that has as part of its mission statement the promise to take care of your clothes in a sustainable way. Sometimes, smaller charities are a better option as they rarely get overloaded and can  donate or resell your clothes without affecting the environment. ‌ 

However, the upside of donating items of clothing is that not every item goes to someone in need or gets resold to raise money. This happens for two reasons:

  • Bad condition – when giving clothes away for charity, you have to take into consideration their possibilities of collecting, separating and delivering them. Most often than not, people tend to overload charities with unwearable clothes, which forces them to get rid of them in an unsustainable way, such as burning. So, make sure the clothes are not torn or too damaged to be worn again!
  • Limited resources for charities – whether they are big organisations or not, it is not unheard before that clothes reaching donation points end up in landfills or overcrowding thrift shops. These charities rarely have unlimited resources. When there are tons of clothes being received, it is quite difficult to responsibly separate them, without having enough financial capital or workforce. Therefore, it is essential you consider this before donating everything.


Giving clothes a new purpose has become more than just a trend, being the preferred choice among the young generation. It started as an option to decrease the amount of consumption within the fashion industry and avoid overfilling charities. Now, this has led to a successful  and highly creative way of designing clothes. ‌ 

Apart from big fashion houses which have used repurposing clothes as an idea of designing streetwear and a way of promoting sustainable strategies, you can do this from the comfort of your home too. There isn't much that you need, not even a sewing machine. At least not at the beginning, but who knows, you might discover a new passion.

For instance, denim is highly versatile, and you can play around with it in any way you want. From using old jeans to recreate a vest or jacket, the possibilities are endless. With the material remains you can even do patchworks or a bag. Another idea could be to apply certain accessories to your repurposed item of clothing to personalise it however you want. Being highly customisable, you could go for a glamorous twist and add  organza ribbon, ‌  colourful beads or sequins. Just let those creative juices flow and you might end up redesigning and repurposing items as more than just a hobby.


In case some of your garments are highly damaged to the point of being unwearable or even difficult to give them a repurpose,  recycling is a great option. ‌  Some fast-fashion companies have begun their fight towards leading a more sustainable living, and therefore offer this option by providing their shops with recycling bins. In an attempt to get people involved and increase awareness, there are even incentives offered, such as discounts.

Some charities, to also avoid clutter, turn to professional textile recyclers. However, not everyone has access to them, so there has been a growth in businesses providing recycling and upcycling services, and all from a digital app. This way, you allow fibres from an unusable piece of garment to be reused for clothing or turned into other products.

The more you become environmentally aware, the more you realise there are ways in which you can help without changing your life completely. By adapting to change, you have a positive impact on both the environment and perhaps someone you know as well. Word-of-mouth has remained an effective way of generating change, as people are more inclined to do a certain activity if it comes from a person from their inner social circle, whom they value as trustworthy. The smallest actions can help and, as it is difficult to change your life completely in order to become entirely eco-friendly, people can start with some aspects of their lives.

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