Super Sustainable Wardrobe Clean-out!
OK, I did it. And you would not BELIEVE the size of the discard pile!
Many of you know that I have made a promise to myself, and to you, that I would not purchase any items this year that are not made of 95%(difficult to find elastin-free items)-100% natural fibre. That means: Cotton (the top at this moment because I can wash it), Alpaca, Wool, Cashmere, Silk, Bamboo, Cupro, leather, fur or linen. This has been anything but easy!
I got super frustrated searching the labels of everything I put on and made a drastic decision: Fill the wardrobe with only your natural fibre clothing. Then sort out the rest and get rid of most of it since you aren’t really wearing it at this point anyway.
I have a male friend who decided one New Year’s to get rid of everything in his closet. Read: EVERYTHING. Then he was to go out and purchase items that he really loved. When he ran out of money (as he didn’t have a fortune to begin with) he was done, and would only then add needed pieces as the need arose. Although this is an extreme measure to take, I was sooooo tempted to do the same. But alas, that would be quite wasteful and that is counter-intuitive to my task. So I did not.
When I did the closet clean-out, it was such a mammoth task that I didn’t really want to even start it. I knew that there would be no breaks from start to finish, since everything I currently own was piled on my bed.
I did the initial checking and separating, and then I went through several more times to get it to the point it is now. The initial checking had nothing to do with whether or not I actually liked the garment, it went purely by the fabric.
So here’s what I did:
- I took EVERYTHING hanging in my wardrobe, and hanging or folded in my closet – out.
- I laid it all in a pile (hangers and everything) on the bed. I was a mountain of stuff.
- I went through, piece by piece, and checked the fabric content tags.
- If it was 95-100% natural fiber, it was hung back into the wardrobe.
- Items were hung to only 1 piece per hanger. (I formerly had entire outfits on the hanger, but I wanted to be able to SEE what I have)
- All items that were made of artificial fabrics went into a pile elsewhere.
- Once I had completely gone through and separated out my natural fabric clothing, I got a (new, clean) big trash bag to use as a ‘going out’ pile.
- I contacted several of my girlfriends to see who might be interested in sorting through some of my stuff, so I knew the types of items (and fit) that my girlfriends might snag. This is really a great thing if you have a closet full of 2-sizes too small designer items that you spent a fortune for and can’t bear to get rid of, but you know you will never be that size again.
- The calls were a success, and now that discard pile didn’t look so big. I went through the discard pile and made several smaller piles for each friend, her taste and her size. Now I had my friends set, and didn’t have to feel bad about sharing basically new, very nice items of clothing.
- There wasn’t actually too much left. A few faves, which I had worn the life out of over the course of several years. Must of these were no longer in nice shape, so donating was out of the question. But I didn’t exactly want to toss them in the rubbish pile either. So…I started looking into what my possibilities were. Turns out, H&M has a recycle programme for polyester.
- I went back through the discard pile and looked at the fabric tags again. Anything that was polyester, I put in a bag to donate to H&M’s recycle programme.
- And then, there were like 3 grubby items that I really just had to discard. So I did, and it wasn’t easy. I felt like a hoarder. I no longer wear it, but because I loved it for so long, I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it out. Holes and all. But I did.
- Then, I sat back and looked at my nice, clean, extremely well organized wardrobe and smiled. The feature pic shows my view.
- Turns out my love of all things cashmere and linen has really helped me out as I had enough tops to wear for 2 weeks before repeating. Jeans, linen pants, 1 pair wool pants, leather pants, 1 pair cotton suit pants & 2 leather skirts help me to be able to dress for any occasion. 3 summer silk shirts and one gold special occasion blouse mix and match perfectly with my selection of pants and skirts. And 2 leather jackets, 1 matching cotton blazer & a denim jacket to complete the looks. I was all set and much better off in the versatility department than I have ever expected!
I have to tell you that I feel like a huge weight has been taken off me. Not only do I no longer have to dig my through my clothes to find the few things that fit my self-challenge for this year of only wearing/buying sustainable clothing and made from natural fabric clothing, but choosing my daily outfits is SO MUCH EASIER!
To anyone who is standing in front of a packed wardrobe saying you have nothing to wear, or that wants to go cold-turkey onto a sustainable or capsule wardrobe, I strongly suggest sorting out your closet using these methods. And doing it step by step, as just tossing items out can be overwhelming and might easily result in a mosh-mash of items that don’t really go together.
How did your last closet clean-out go?