May 19, 2016

10 Tips For An Environmentally Friendly Closet

The closet is probably one area that you don't think much about the environmental impact you can have, however it is estimated that the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year! I have created this list of 10 ways to minimize the environmental impact of your closet on everything from getting the most out of the clothing you have, to better ways to obtain clothing, to how to make sure they are recycled when you are done with them.

zero waste closet

  1. Remix your closet. Remixing is where you wear items in different combinations to create more outfits. Audrey from Putting Me Together has a great tutorials on this. 
  2. Create a capsule wardrobe. This is a slightly different approach than remixing. With remixing you could have 1000 articles of clothing and thus have the possiblity for something like 8000 outfits. Capsule wardrobe is where you try to limit the number of items in the wardrobe and you can use principles of remixing to help you get the most number of outfits out of that limited number of clothing. One popular version of capsule wardrobes are 30 x 30 where select 30 articles of clothing to wear for the next 30 days. You can see examples from Kendi of Kendi Everyday here and Kelly from Modern Camelot here. Other people create capsule wardrobes to last a season (Summer and Fall examples). While others only have a capsule/minimalist wardrobe and live that way forever
  3. Repair clothing. Lose a button? Sew a new one on! Have a seam rip? Mend it back! Shoe soul get a whole? Take it to the cobbler. Get a whole in your shirt? Turn it into a work out shirt or a rag! By taking good care of our clothing we can extend their life.
  4. Skip the trends. Focus on obtaining classic clothing that you can wear for many years and won't look outdated. The clothing industry has increased the turnover of clothing so much that buying the hottest trend right now means that next year (or even just a few months from now), that item may seem very outdated. By sticking primarily to more classic clothing choices you will ensure that you will want to keep wearing your clothes rather then donating them. 
  5. Be smart about trends. Patterned patchwork is apparently in style right now. Maybe get a scarf or one shirt in the trend that compliments the rest of your wardrobe rather than replacing your entire wardrobe.
  6. Buy quality. Clothing stores, particularly those who primarly market to trendy items tend to create poorer quality items. The thought is that the neon tank top isn't going to be in season next summer, let alone 3 years from now, so why make it with sturdy enough fabric to last? Buying quality items means you can have it in your closet for longer, even if it costs a little more upfront. It also makes it easier to repair if you need to. 
  7. Buy used. Whether you buy from a thrift store, garage sale or consignment shop giving a second life to an article of clothing will help minimize impact on the environment.
  8. Swap with friends. It's easy to organize a clothing swap. Get a group of girlfriends together and bring clothing they are tired of. Then let everyone come 'shop' for what they want.  If you are worried about people leaving with more than they came with you can give each person a tag for each item they brought and make sure they only leave with that number of items. Don't have a bunch of friends who are the same size or general taste in clothing? Have a shoe swap, or accessories swap or a purse swap!
  9. Buy natural fibers. Cotton, wool, silk, cashmere, hemp and linen are all natural fibers. Nylon, rayon, polyester, spandex, and pretty much any other fiber are synthetic. It has been estimated that 19,000 microfibers are rinsed out of a single piece of synthetic clothing each time it is washed. Microfibers and micro beads are a huge source of pollution in our waterways.
  10. Donate clothing. Donating clothing helps provide a steady supply of clothing to buy used. I used to be worried that the clothing I was donating was slightly below the quality they would sell, but then I found out about Wear, Donate, Recycle. That company gets the clothing and textiles that thrift stores cannot sell, they then repurpose them further by either selling them overseas, repurposing them into things like rags, or recycling them into fiber for home insulation or carpet padding. It's estimated that 85% of textiles end up in the landfill, with this company I have no hesitation about donating my less than perfect items. It's far better than sending it to the landfill.
Which of these tips do you use to help minimize the environmental impact of your closet?

Shared on the Share The Wealth Sunday HopSimply Natural SaturdayHealthy Happy Green NaturalHomestead Blog HopHomesteader HopWaste Less WednesdayHome MattersPretty Pintastic

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8 comments:

  1. These are really great tips. I especially agree with the tip to avoid trends because it seems like probably one of the biggest contributors to an unsustainable closet. It causes you to buy cheap clothing, that is thrown away sooner rather than later, it also causes you to skip the thrift stores because those clothes don't fit the style your currently into. Avoiding fast fashion can really go a long way in making your closet more eco-friendly.

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    1. Thanks Kayla. I agree. I think buying items with an eye towards timeless pieces will help you more in the long run.

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  2. Very good article and great tips. I really like the idea of buying natural fabrics - that has such a big impact on the environment. I also like the idea of donating clothes which I do all the time and I buy used clothing myself. I like some of your ideas about the capsule wardrobe - very unique and purposeful. Shared on twitter & pinned. Have a healthy, happy & blessed Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the shares and thoughful comment. :) I hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!

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  3. Love your tips. I buy almost exclusively from thrift stores now, although I'm not much of a clothes horse. Natural fibers are the best at keeping your warm or cool, wear well, and are the easiest to care for.

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    1. Yep and best for the environment, so I'd say keep it up! :)

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  4. Visiting you from the HHGN blog party. Don't beleive I've ever read such an extensive post about organizing closet to be more eco-friendly. Have pinned it. Nancy Andres @ www.colors4health.com

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