Long live second-hand: a guide to recycling your clothes

Long live second-hand: a guide to recycling your clothes

Say goodbye to the old whilst giving new life to your closet’s buried items.

Photo by Ashley Merchant

Photo by Ashley Merchant

 

'I have nothing to wear'. How many times do you say this while staring at a full wardrobe? Well, more than often the answer is in the back of your closet, just waiting to be found. I, for one, have been advising all my close friends to just do a summer cleanse of their wardrobe - or anything that needs a good decluttering spree to be honest.

The amount of memories, useful things, never worn pieces, pretty much every sort of thing I find in my closet brings me as much joy as a shopping afternoon with the bonus that I didn’t have to spend a penny. Getting rid of old possessions also functions as a kind of personal therapy, defying the hoarder in you. The only question you need to ask is “Do I really need this?”. 

I am not trying to channel my inner Marie Kondo but, trend or not, I truly believe in the magic of decluttering your space. Forget ancient tidying up manuals or minimalist movements, this is about keeping it simple. It doesn’t take too much to figure out that getting rid of things that just hang around can bring you happiness and by that I mean less cursing when you try to get into the battle field that can be your closet (hands up!). 

But I would be lying if I told you that this isn’t hard work. Even more when you end up with a bag full of old clothes and you have no idea where to leave them nor to whom. Next step? Fueling the second-hand clothes system! We will spare you the research and condense it in five stops that might be around your area. Ready? Let’s go!

 

Oxfam

The international confederation for relieving poverty has almost 700 shops in the UK alone, so it should be pretty easy to find one near you. You can donate goods directly to their shops or just drop them off at donation banks in car parks around the country. Oxfam accepts clothes and old items and, even if they can’t resell the good in their shops, they will make sure they turn the donations into money by selling them online or recycling them in their very own sorting centre. 

 

H&M

It is always nice to be rewarded when you do a good deed. H&M gives £5 vouchers for a bag of old clothes, no matter what brand or condition they are in. The campaign was launched back in 2013 as part of H&M’s Conscious line and has carried on ever since. According to the Swedish brand, their aim is to become a 100% circular business model, helping textiles from ending up in landfills.

 

Cancer Research UK

Donating clothes and others goods to this charity can be done in various ways, either dropping your bags at their shops or even by downloading their Gone for Good App. You just need to take a photo of your items and submit your contact details, then the charity will contact you to arrange a collection - lazy people, this is the charity for you! Cancer Research estimates that every bag you donate could be worth an average of £25 that goes directly to supporting their research wor

 

Traid

This charity works as a textile saviour, stopping any clothes from getting thrown away either by turning them into funds or recycling resources. They have several shops in London and also do home collections. The funds raised by Traid go towards global projects improving conditions and working practices in the textile industry.

 

Marks&Spencers

Another high street store where you can drop your old garments. The British brand partnered up with Oxfam in 2008 to create their Shwopping campaign and have carried on accepting worn clothes. The items don’t need to be M&S, but if they are they will be re-selled at Oxfam shops. 

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