Dealing with the glut

True confession time. Though it’ll hardly come as a surprise…

I love clothes and I have a lot of them.

Apparently it’s not my fault. It’s in my genes! Mum says she has lots and has apologised in advance for the sorting out job that’s ahead of me one day. I know my sister has lots. And apparently my Nanna had lots. She used to sew some of her own and knitted and crocheted too. And I do remember that she was very particular about the clothes she wore and respected the work that had gone into creating them. So you see, it’s in the genes. 😉

One of the (very few) occupational hazards connected with being a personal style specialist / fashion advisor / tour guide of ethical fashion studios is the constant temptation to purchase some of the beautiful things I see. This means things accumulate.

Recently I decided to do a bit of a cull. Within reason, I asked myself whether things ‘sparked joy’ or whether they served a very practical purpose. If the answer to both questions was negative, then out they went! But what to do with them??

I’ve traditionally ‘given’ my clothes to op shops / charities if my sister or a friend didn’t want them. I used to feel good about doing this. But I’ve been aware for some time now that charities are overwhelmed with old clothes being ‘gifted’ to them. In fact it’s become a serious problem for their volunteers to clear up clothes that have been dumped outside their premises. They are so inundated by discarded clothing now that they can’t possibly sort through them all or store them to re-sell. This then costs the charities time and money to dispose of them.

My thinking behind people dumping unwanted clothes (which is basically littering, let’s face it) is that if they’ve paid less than the true cost of manufacturing and never considered the people who work hard to make their clothes, then they don’t value them. Fast fashion = disposable fashion

So this time I thought I’d try consignment stores. One I like accepts only handpicked designer labels so I could place some stuff there but I had plenty more to place. I registered with another consignment store with less lofty standards but even they didn’t want all of my things (despite them being very good quality) as they had a certain shop style they adhered to.

So the moral of the story is, shop for clothes mindfully so you won’t be tempted to discard them readily. Choose only things you know will work for you in terms of your own personal style, colour, shape, silhouette and fit etc and only things that will work with your existing wardrobe. Now more than ever, because of the glut of unwanted clothes out there, it is important to purchase only things you will actually wear, cherish and not quickly discard.

And if you’re keen to ‘help out’ charities, ensure what you donate is of great quality and in good order. If you wouldn’t consider buying it or gifting it to a friend, it’s unlikely to be bought by someone else. Other options for disposal include animal shelters who will accept old clothing for bedding or craftspeople and fashion designers who will upcycle the fabric. Seek out ones that are local to you.

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