Being stuck in yet another lockdown, you might be trying to have a Spring Clean and clear out your wardrobe but then comes the question “what do I do with my unwanted clothes when the charity shops are closed”? First things first – do not just dump them outside of the shop as they are likely to get wet and dirty and will sit outside the shop until it reopens. We also do not want to throw them in the bin – approximately 350,000 tonnes of wearable clothes go into landfill every year in the UK which is the equivalent £140 million worth of clothing. This is just one of the many ways that fast fashion is killing our planet. If the clothing is wearable it only makes sense to try and give it a new home and even if it’s damaged beyond repair, the clothes can still be recycled.
Although the charity shops are closed there are plenty of ways to shift your unwanted clothes and stop them from cluttering your home.
My first point of call for getting rid of unwanted clothes is to try and sell them. If your items are still in good, wearable condition I would definitely give it a go. I post my clothes on Depop, Vinted and Facebook swap and sell groups such as Swap Family. Selling clothes takes a bit of time because, despite what you might think, there isn’t an instant hoard of people who want to buy your clothes. It’s a slower process but you will be able to make a few pounds in the end.
Donate to Charity Shops
Although the doors of your local charity shop remain closed, there are still ways you can donate to them. The British Heart Foundation, The British Red Cross, Sense and many others have multiple ways to donate your unwanted items, whether that’s clothes, furniture or books. Most charities offer postal and collection donations but check out their individual websites for more information.
Donation bins are another great way to donate clothes. These are often located on supermarket car parks or just on random roads in your town. The Salvation Army and TRAID provide some of the most common donation points so visit their websites to find your local point but remember to always bag them up!
Although donating to charity shops is the go-to when wanting to get get rid of unwanted items, it is worth bearing in mind that charity shops are currently unable to sell any of the stock that is donated so will potentially have way too much to sell when they open again. Did you know that approximately 2/3 of what we donate to charity shops ends up overseas, particularly Togo, Ghana, Kenya, Benin and the Ivory Coast. Perhaps consider this when donating your clothes to charity shops and exhaust all other options first.
If you’re not looking to declutter but instead are seeking a wardrobe re-fresh perhaps try a clothes swap, such as the Big Sister Swap or Swopped. This way you can get rid of the clothes you no longer want and receive some new additions to your wardrobe – it’s a great alternative to charity shopping!
Donate to Those Who Need It
Give Your Best is an an incredible initiative that allows you to donate your clothes to womxn who are refugees or asylum seekers. This it how it works – you upload pictures of your best pre-loved items, including clothes, shoes and accessories, to their website. These photos are then uploaded onto their catalogue on the website and instagram page from which womxn who are refugees and asylum seekers can shop these items for free. If somebody wants your item, you will be contacted and given a postal address. You are asked to cover the shipping if you are able to and then you simply post your item. It’s a super easy system and that helps support and empower other women.
Give Them to Family/Friends
Advertise your clothes in your whatsapp chats or on Facebook with your friends and family and see if anybody wants them. On numerous occasions I have sold something on Depop only for my sister to tell me “I would have had that!!”.
A Note on Damaged Clothes
If your clothes are damaged or soiled beyond repair, avoid throwing them in the bin. Damaged textiles can still be recycled! Recycle Now have an easy clothes and textile recycle point finder on their website which you can see here.
If you’re thinking of doing a wardrobe spring clean why not try one of these methods before sending your clothes to landfill!