How eco friendly is your wardrobe
Is is time to spring clean and declutter your wardrobe?
March and spring is in the air. You know how there is a national day for all kinds of things? Well, today, Wednesday 2 March, is National Old Stuff Day. As the evenings are getting lighter, and the daffs are out maybe you’re thinking this is a good time to have a bit of a sort out, declutter and spring clean? Possibly even a wardrobe weeding session?
This week I’m going to share some of my favourite tips with you when giving your wardrobe an audit. It can be quite a cathartic process. You might even rediscover old treasures while you are at it or maybe you’ll be inspired to experiment with different ways of styling some old favourites.
Getting rid of clothes can be quite an emotional process for many of us whereas for other people it’s a simple activity. I have a friend who has a strict one in, one out policy for her wardrobe. E.g., If she gets a new scarf an old one has to go. I’m not that ruthless and in my experience, neither are most of my clients. The majority I meet have far too many clothes and can even be overwhelmed by where to start when it comes to auditing their existing wardrobe.
The grieving process is normal
As your clothing is so much a part of your identity you may also need to go through some kind of grieving process, either for the clothes or the body you once had. I remember hanging onto things for a few years after I’d given birth to my son, in the hope that one day I’d get back to my pre pregnancy weight/figure. It never happened.
So, if you think about the Elisabeth Kubler Ross Grief Model it kind of went like this:
Denial – I was hanging onto the clothes that were far too small but also that suited a differently proportioned body shape. I’d lost my waist, gained a rounder tummy and my watermelon boobs never shrunk down post pregnancy.
Anger – It felt unfair that having a child meant I’d had to change the way I dressed. I started to wear clothes that were more practical for crawling around on the floor, not restrictive, elastic became my friend. If it needed ironing it was out, if it didn’t stretch it had no chance. Patterns and darker colours replaced my beloved crisp white shirt collection.
Bargaining – If only I could lose weight I’d be back in these clothes.
Depression - Instead of being a carrot that motivated and inspired me, these too small clothes in the wardrobe were a daily reminder of how things used to be. They became a stick I would beat myself with.
Acceptance – Once I’d acknowledged that I was now in the plus size category I began to invest more into looking and feeling nice again. I had been seeing clothes that I was buying as a temporary fix. I was just making do until I got back into my nice ‘slimmer’ clothes. No wonder I felt so crappy.
Marie Kondo method of moving things on
If any of this resonates with you it might be that taking Marie Kondo’s tip of thanking each item for its service before you move it on will help. She also encourages you to keep only things that speak to your heart and spark joy. Being realistic though, not every item in your wardrobe will spark joy. You may have heard me talk about having wardrobe heroes, villains and supporting cast items. The heroes should spark joy and will be made the star of the show by the supporting cast, the villains are the things to move on.
When I talk about moving things on you might want to consider a selling site like eBay and Vinted, or maybe a Swish clothes swap, either a formally organised one like the ones I run for charity or an informal one with friends – swap don’t shop. It could be that you have a clothing bank like Sharewear, or your local charity shop, is the easiest place to move things along to. They will often take things that aren’t fit for resale too and sell them on as rags. (I always make sure I label the bag as such if I’m sending scruffy things so that it saves a volunteer from having to sort through them.) There are organisations such as Smalls for All, Bravissimo and Janice Rose who will even take your bras for re-using. There’s no need for any of your unwanted items of clothing to go to landfill.
How you can have a more eco friendly wardrobe
As you may have gathered, I’m quite big on shopping your own wardrobe to help reduce how much we buy. So many of us have so many clothes that we never even wear. I’d always advise you to play around and experiment with what you already have before you add to the global issue of water pollution and landfill.
According to the World Resources Institute 20% of the global water pollution is linked to garment manufacture. I found it quite shocking to discover that it takes 7500 litres of water to get one pair of jeans shop ready! That’s the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of drinking water for one person! Cotton T shirts are probably even worse at 3 years’ worth per item, because the cost per wear is not going to be as low as most pairs of jeans.
You can do your bit to have an eco-friendlier wardrobe by:
shopping your wardrobe first
buying less stuff
buying better quality so it lasts longer
buying vintage/preloved/ second-hand
avoiding online shopping whenever possible
Did you even realise that some clothing brands send their returns to landfill? So, think of the impact that ‘bracketing’ could be having if your favourite online retailer does this. You’re not sure what colour to go for, or which size might be the right one for you, so you double up on your order with a view to sending the surplus back. This is ‘bracketing’. Free delivery and free returns make this so easy to do. Not all companies do this, some will put the items back into circulation, but it is a real issue. Check before you order next time so you aren’t unwittingly adding to the problem.
Shift your wardrobe from ok to awesome
Lots of food for thought there as we move into the new season.
If you feel like you need a kick start and a bit of help to get you on the right track with moving your wardrobe from ok to awesome you might want to think about treating yourself to my Project FAB! Retreat which is taking place at the end of this month. We’ve got Mother’s day coming up too, maybe get the kids to chip in and help you make that investment in yourself. It’s an ideal opportunity to get bespoke 1:1 advice from me, in person, in a small group setting. A one stop shop to getting your colours, shapes and style sorted with a charity shopping experience and dinner/cocktails thrown in. If you fancy having a no obligation chat with me about it please book a session in here.
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