5 Ways to Do Good Just by Clearing Out Your Closet

How to mix spring cleaning, helping others and saving the planet.

May 11, 2015
Woman organizing her closet

Your closet will thank you for it (Shutterstock) 

Spring is officially upon us, and along with flowers and great weather, it’s the perfect time for spring cleaning. And what better place to start than your closet. You know the basic idea - go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that you don’t wear anymore. It could be that it doesn’t fit, it’s out of style, or you just don’t have the occasion to wear it these days. Whatever the reason, it’s time to get those unused items out of your closet, clear up some space - and help your fellow man and the planet at the same time. This inspiring piece from Drew Barrymore can give you some tips for the cleaning process itself.
Once you’ve done the deed and accrued a big pile of clothes and accessories that you no longer need - it’s time to make the world a better place! Read on for five genius ideas on how to do good with your unwanted clothes:

1. SWAP

Clothes swapping has become a hot new trend in recent years - and for good reason! Getting friends together for a clothes swap gives everyone the opportunity to clear out their closets, take home some new threads, and socialize at the same time. Either invite your friends around for a private event, or check out Meetup to find an existing group. Currently there are groups functioning in 80 cities around the world.
Of course, there will be leftovers - clothes that no one wants to take home - which brings us to the next point…

Clothing Swap groups on Meetup

Clothing Swap groups on Meetup (Screenshot) 

2. DONATE

There are dozens of charitable organizations looking for donations of gently worn clothes for people. Make sure to call ahead to find out exactly what the organization is looking for - children’s clothes, shoes, etc - and coordinate your drop off accordingly. H&M stores around the world also collect used garments - the company is currently working on “closing the loop” so that all textiles will be reused, repurposed or recycled.

Volunteers taking clothing donations

Donating clothes is the easiest way to spread good with your spring cleaning (Shutterstock)

3. ALTER

Are you the hands-on type? Time to get the sewing machine out! Anything from simple alterations - taking in or letting out a dress that doesn’t fit anymore - can breathe new life into your old clothes. Much better for the environment (and your wallet!) than throwing things out and buying new clothes.

Sewing machine

Your sewing machine is your new best friend (Shutterstock) 

4. REPURPOSE

There’s alternations, and then there’s full-on sustainable creation. This helpful list has some mind-blowing ideas to start you off, such as produce bags made from tshirts and toddler nightgowns made from outdated pillow cases.

The Green Easy Knit Produce Bag

The Green Easy Knit Produce Bag (Delia Creates)

5. RESELL

For items that are still new, particularly valuable or in top condition, you can consider reselling them to vintage or consignment stores - especially if you’re in need of the extra cash yourself. The internet can also be a fantastic resource for finding new owners for your special items - try selling on eBay, or sites just for second hand clothes like Couture Boutique and Tradesy.

Second-hand clothes for sale on Twice

Second-hand clothes for sale on Twice (Screenshot

As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.

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