Sometimes our closets and dressers seem like they’re brimming with clothing. Despite this, we might find ourselves feeling like we have nothing to wear. Both situations signal it might be time for a closet cleanup.
The funny part about trimming your wardrobe is that it makes you feel like you have more clothes — mainly because you’re not spending unnecessary energy trying to sift through a mound of shirts you don’t like. Our style changes, and so do our bodies.
Clearing out your closet as part of an annual or bi-annual routine is a great way to keep getting dressed the simple task it was meant to be, rather than a pull-your-hair-out experience!
Ditch the guilt of holding onto something that you know you’re never going to wear because you’re either sick of it, it doesn’t fit right, or even worse — it was a gift. Keeping something in your closet after it’s no longer useful to you doesn’t earn you any gold stars. It’s better to pass items along to places that can either recycle them properly or put them in the hands of people who can actually use them.
What’s even better than being a good steward of the planet this Earth Day? Earning extra savings for your good deed. Did you know that several big retailers allow you to donate your old clothing directly to them and will dish out a discount toward future items? Here are seven stores that let you bring in the old and head out with the new — without paying full price!
The North Face
If you have apparel from The North Face, chances are it’s been put to some good use outdoors. When you find it’s time to pass on a clothing item or footwear, bring it to The North Face retail or outlet stores to earn $10 toward your next purchase of $100 or more through its Clothes the Loop initiative. Your items can be from any brand in any condition.
The items are then sent to nonprofit Soles4Souls, which repurposes them for micro-enterprise programs providing small businesses with new opportunities.
Launched globally in 2013, H&M’s Garment Collecting program aims to help reduce textile waste. Bring in any unwanted clothing or textiles and give them to someone behind the register. They don’t have to be from H&M and can be in any condition. You’ll be handed a thank-you coupon in return that can be used toward a future purchase — or that same day if you like.
Once you’ve handed over a bag of clothing, they’re given to a partner and marked for rewearing, reusing as other products, or recycling of textile fibers to make insulation.
If you have a pile of old denim jeans on hand, head over to Madewell stat! They’ve partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program to recycle denim. Madewell will give you a $20 coupon to be used on any new full-priced pair of their jeans.
Your denim will go into housing insulation for underprivileged neighborhoods, so you can feel good about recycling them. Madewell says that it has recycled more than 1 million pairs of jeans, which can hopefully be used to provide insulation for almost 1,500 houses.
Like Madewell, American Eagle has partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green to help you get $10 off toward a pair of new jeans through its Real Rewards program. The catch: The jeans must be made of at least 90% cotton. Each pair earns you $10 off plus you earn 2x points; Real Rewards credit card holders have the option to earn 4x points.
Old jeans get converted into other useful products, such as insulation, pet bed inserts or sustainable food and pharmaceutical packaging.
If you’re planning a big cleanup soon, send your old items to thredUP, which has partnered with Gap to make recycling apparel easier. Gap even gives you a 15% payout bonus for going through them.
To participate, create a free account and print a shipping label. Pack a box with anything you no longer want that’s still in good condition, like clothing, purses, shoes and accessories. Send it through the U.S. Postal Service or FedEx and you can earn shopping credit for pieces deemed eligible: they show no signs of wear, damage or alteration.
Earn 4%-56% of the estimated resale value for Gap items, along with other eligible pieces from Levi’s, Asos, Nike and Zara. Items that don’t meet thredUP’s quality standards are offered through their heavily-discounted mystery Rescue Boxes or are responsibly recycled.
This is a brand that’s known for its environmental activism. Take advantage of Patagonia’s buy-back program, where you can receive up to 50% of the item’s resale price on gear that’s still wearable and in good condition. The “thank you” credit can be used in-store, on Patagonia’s website or at Worn Wear, which passes on used items to others who can use them.
Parents like to say that kids grow up in the blink of an eye — because it’s true! Thankfully, Carter’s, makers of baby and kid clothing, doesn’t leave you high and dry when your little ones get bigger. The company teamed up with TerraCycle to make recycling used children’s clothing pretty easy.
Sign up for a TerraCycle account and print a downloadable prepaid shipping label. Fill your box with non-donatable clothing for kids and babies. Then pop it in the mail and send it through UPS. Receive 25 reward points per shipment of 15 pounds or more, which can be used to discount purchases from Carter’s.
TerraCycle separates the clothing by type, then shreds and recycles it into raw materials or aggregates and processes it.
Most clothing items can be donated or recycled. For the planet’s sake, don’t throw it out until you’ve exhausted other possibilities.
If you’re not looking to do more shopping anytime soon, you can always donate items to a local thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army. While you might not earn a discount on a new purchase, you can ask for a receipt to lighten your tax load and that’s also a good thing!