5 Tips to Sustainably Spring Clean Your Closet
Ah... the air is cool and fresh, the sun is starting to warm your shoulders and cheeks, it's spring! The weather is a warm 75 and sunny one day followed by frigid and cloudy 40 degrees the next day as winter loosens her grip. At least that's how it feel down here in New Orleans!
As the order of nature turns to themes of vitality, rebirth, and shedding the old, we turn to the old tradition of tiding up. In fact, many cultures around the world all have some variation of spring cleaning.
And, did you know that even bees do it? Every year they do a full hive cleaning to make way for the upcoming season.
Spring cleaning boasts many benefits including reducing stress and boosting your mood. Also, who can resist the excitement of preparing for the warm weather with a rejuvenated closet? Not me!
In this blog I am excited to share with you a few tips that will help make your closet cleaning more sustainable by lowering waste and creating more intentionality around your consumption habits.
Set the Mood + Do An Audit
First thing's first, let's set the spring cleaning mood. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with the thought of sorting my whole closet, so I set aside some time over the course of a week to do my sorting.
Put on some fun or energetic music, and start your audit with one drawer at a time.
As you take a look at your clothes, ask yourself a few of these questions:
Have you worn that item in the last year? Are you holding on to it out of nostalgia? Is it important to you?
Does it have a tear or broken zipper and has been waiting in your closet for the day you'll get it repaired and yet never do? That's me!
Do you love it but never wear it? Maybe a friend or family member would enjoy it.
Create your discard and keep pile.
Did you know that each year about 5% of global waste comes from our clothing? Let's not add to it!
Take a look at your discard pile and sort that even further by starting a donate/give-away pile. This pile will include pieces that are in good shape but just don't suit your style or your size anymore.
Great! Time to shed that and make space for a closet that is more reflective of who you are now.
Drop these items off at any local Salvation Army or clothing donation bin. You can also reach out to friends and family to see if anyone would like some of your pieces. This gives your garments another life and enforces a circular consumption system.
You can read more about circular and linear systems in our blog about fast fashion here!
Alright, be honest, do you have things in your closet that you'd love to wear once they get that button repaired, hole patched, or zipped replaced? I definitely do!
Take a look at your discard pile. Which pieces fall into this category? Set them aside and make a repair plan!
Time to start utilizing your local cobbler and alterations shop to resole and condition your shoes to make them good as new or to fix that pair of gorgeous jeans with a busted zipper.
Taking time to fix and repair your well loved clothes is not only good for the environment, but it also contributes to a circular economy and props up the local businesses in your community. Win, win!
Do you like a challenge? How about repairing your clothes yourself? This guide lists 40 common clothing repairs and how to do them at home.
Now, my favorite part. It's time to get creative! Go through your discard pile and find the pieces that aren't in good shape anymore or the ones that have a really cute fabric but you just don't like the style of it.
You can repurpose almost anything into cleaning rags, decor, grocery bags, curtains, pillow cases, or even entirely new pieces of clothing! The list goes on and on.
Need some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing? Pinterest is filled with tons of inspiration for up-cycling and repurposing old clothes.
Here are a couple of guides for up-cycling that I found inspiring and helpful:
21 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothing
Okay, you've gone through your clothes and you have donated, repurposed, or repaired them. Now you have space for some new threads and maybe a fresh outfit. That's one of my favorite parts of spring cleaning.
Remember back to our blog about fast fashion? You can read it here to learn about the global economic and environmental impacts of the industry. There are ways to spruce up the clothes in your closet without contributing to over consumption and climate change.
My favorite? Shopping second hand at thrift and consignment stores. There are so many unique things to be found that are not only cheaper, but shopping second hand also helps to lower gas emissions and contributes to the circular fashion system we're striving for.
However, I do understand the excitement around spending your money on a new outfit. If you go that route, be intentional about seeking out eco-friendly and sustainable fashion brands (like, ahem, LAYA Active here). Eco-friendly companies are committed to lowering their carbon footprint and providing a product that a eco-conscious consumer such as yourself can feel good about purchasing.
You can see a list of some of our favorite eco-friendly brands here!
There you have it, 5 quick and easy tips to help you think more sustainably about cleaning out your closet this spring. I hope this inspires you to take a look at how to repair and repurpose things you already have and how to lower your fashion carbon footprint.