5 Creative ideas to give your clothes a second life

Once you learn how damaging the fashion industry and specifically the fast fashion movement is, there is no turning back. You suddenly become a conscious consumer, checking where your clothes are coming from and researching on brands that are using environmentally friendly practices. If you are already conscious and doing your research, it’s a fantastic thing to do! However, it’s also normal to get tired of your clothes from time to time, or to have a few broken or worn out garments that you are no longer using.

Once you realise you are only using a third of your closet clothes, you probably start asking you some questions like: “Am I really going to use this piece of clothing again?”, “how much use do I give to this or that?”, “can I fix or upcycle them?”, “do I have enough space for all these clothes even if I don’t use them enough?”. To help you answer some of those questions, we created this article with a few creative ideas on how to give your clothes a second life.

1. Upcycle or fix your “boring” or worn out clothes

The only thing you need to do is to use your creativity! You will be surprise how many modifications you could do to your clothes that will make you fall in love with them all over again. If you need some help and ideas, there are plenty of DIY tutorials on youtube on how to creatively upcycle and fix your clothes. Here are some great ones that can help you get started with that creative brain of yours:

 

  • 5-minute crafts LIKE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvmE7g7p9cE

  • rachspeed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw__A_wdH9I

  • Fashion Wizardry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qST-tWStGnk

  • 5-minute crafts GIRLY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MdfOILjn6o

 

2. Textile Recycling

Another great way to make some space in your closet is to textile recycle! Try Recycling Near You, a website that recommends different ways to recycle your textiles and clothing. This site even provides you with an interactive map where you can find drop-off locations or pickup companies for your comfort.

 

3. Op-shops and Non-for-profit organisations

This is a great option when you are sure that you won’t be using certain pieces of clothing that are still in a good state. You don’t need to send them to landfill or keep them in a dark corner in your closet. As the saying goes “someone’s trash can be someone else's treasure”, you can make someone else very happy with that jacket that no longer suits you. Here are a three organisations that you can start with, which use donated clothes to style disadvantaged people when they are entering the workforce: Ready Set, Fitted for Work and Dress for Success. You can also donate your clothes in other charities like: Vinnies, Refugee Council for Australia or Red Cross, amongst others.

4. Swop Clothing Exchange

The Swop Clothing Exchange is a project that focuses on circular economy and bringing a new life to clothes. You can sell your used clothes to them for 25% or 50% depending on the quality of the garment. There is one store in Collingwood, Melbourne where you can bring your clothes to swap. They do have a certain criteria of the brands and clothes so make sure you check it out on their website.

 

5. Clothing Exchange Meet-ups

The Clothing Exchange is a sustainable initiative that organises events around Australia, where you can find like-minded people looking to find their clothes a new life. Stay updated for their next event on their Facebook page or through their website.

 

Now you know, there are plenty of options that you can action when you are ready to give your clothes a new life. A rule of thumb that I like to use is that when I purchase new clothes (generally second hand), I get rid of the ones that I haven’t been using in a while by donating, swopping or upcycling, this way I always have just enough clothes and never too many.

 

If you have any other ideas leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!

 

Photo credit shout out to Onur Bahçıvancılar


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2 comments

  • Good point Jill. I haven’t watched this, but I must say I am not surprised. I would say we should do our research better before donating, as I don’t think all places would use the same practices, but this is a great point to take into account. I know there are a few clothing brands who accept old/torn clothes and sell them to companies that as you said, recycle the clothing/textiles for industrial rags or other textile byproducts (H&M, Zara, Upparel).
    Planet Ark is a great website for this, and should give you alternatives near where you live in Australia.
    https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/about/

    • Caro Felton
  • I recently watched an ABC TV Doco on the 2nd hand clothing sales – bales of our (Ozzie) unwanted/donated clothes that are sent to Ghana for resale by various merchants. Sounds like a good circular economy on the face of it. It was utterly horrifying.They demonstrated the enormous mountains of unsaleable items being dumped and burned, 24/7 right next to a slum area, creating toxic fumes for all who live there. I feel morally obliged to NOT participate in this by default. So, where do I send my old/torn/unusable/unsaleable items to, that are not acceptable at Vinnies or like Op-Shops? I have heard that some factories accept these items and use for rags in industrial settings. How do we find these places in our various states?

    • Jill Sparks

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