Clothes are our ways of expressing ourselves. The styles we choose whether we like it or not portray an image of who we are to others. We may not think of it but the clothes that line our closet shelves also have an impact on the planet. Energy, resources and the wellbeing of others are all affected by each clothing purchase (and disposal) that we make.Here are a few steps to creating a more eco-conscious closet:
Make do and mend – originally a British pamphlet released in World War Two to help housewives practice frugality with clothing, the saying can be easily applied today, not only to lessen an impact on your wallet but the environment too. A great way to start is by learning to sew and/or bring clothes to a tailor to be repaired instead of discarding them when they develop holes or lose buttons.
Clean the closet – keep a smaller amount of clothes in your wardrobe. Most of us have very large wardrobes but only wear a very small percentage of them in our day to day lives. Take note of the clothing pieces you reach for time and time again and which fall to the back of the drawer. If you haven’t worn a piece in over a year, it’s likely it won’t be missed if donated for someone else to make better use of it.
Create a wardrobe with vision – we live in a culture of instant gratification, one where we can go out and buy what we want from the store at a cheap price and bring it home to sit in the back of our closets for months or even years without ever being worn. The next time you go shopping ask yourself if a piece fits in with the majority of your wardrobe and can be used optimally. Creating a checklist of qualifications an item should have before adding it to your shopping bag is a great way to ensure your purchases are smart ones.
Second-hand shopping – a great way to keep more clothes out of a landfill is to shop secondhand stores for items on your wishlist. While there is a bit of a hunt involved it will be well worth your time. Look for quality pieces that will last you years to come with proper care. You might be surprised to find some of the labels you may not normally be able to obtain sitting amongst the racks of your local thrift store.
Wash less often – unless they are your gym clothes or you work outside there is little reason to wash shirts and pants after every wash. Not only will washing less prolong the lifespan of a clothing piece but it will also save on water and energy over time.
Avoid dry cleaning – dry cleaning involves chemicals that are not only bad for the environment but people too. When shopping leave clothes that require dry cleaning on the store racks. If you really must have a piece that is dry-cleaning only seek out a dry cleaner that uses environmentally friendly process over the traditional chemical laden one.
Smart purchase – when it’s time to replace your washer and dryer look for low energy appliances that are Energy Star certified. This upgrade is also beneficial to you as you can usually get tax credits for doing so.By keeping a cohesive wardrobe with fewer pieces that you wash less often and mend when they need repairing you will shrink your carbon footprint and keep more money in your wallet and I think that’s something we can all feel good about!