Clo.Chat: Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe: Step 2: Know What You Need and What You Don't!

This post is a part of the series: Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe

**Long Post Alert**

A while back, I counted all my clothes and shoes. The second logical stage of the Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe is Know What You Need or What You Don't!

In other words purge mercilessly!

In my case, I had purged 2 months before I counted my clothes (you see, the idea to count clothes did not yet take shape in my mind). So I took up Step 2 and then Step 1. Which is why I came up with 280 clothing items. I'm sure that the pre-purge count would easily be over 380.

Purging is not the easiest of tasks. But if you care to know, here is what I learned over a few years of closely observing my behavioral patterns:
  1. I usually purge when I'm slightly pissed off or angry (at the world, at large). This mindset, I have found to ignite an unforgiving streak; which, in my opinion, is the key to a good purge. 
  2. I believe in this rule: If I have not wore it in the past 1 year, I'm not going to wear it in the next 1 year. I don't apply this rule to clothes that could be reused either in a different form or as fabric. I also don't apply this rule to versatile pieces like scarves, sarees, well tailored jackets, vests, shirts, fabric with a paisley designs*. There are a few more exceptions, but you get my point.
  3. That's it :) 
* I'm a total sucker for paisley designs.

What do I with all those clothes after a purge? Here are a few things I have done before:

PASS IT DOWN: A very prevalent concept in India (and I'm sure in other countries, as well) where you get to wear your older sister's clothes and accessories. Pass it on, Pass it down, Pass it over :)

DONATE: Every city/town has its own clothing donation centers. The usual suspects in the US are the Salvation Army, Goodwill International Centers, Housing Works etc. The city of New York tied up with Housing Works on a textile recycling program called re-Fashion NYC . Under this program, you can sign up your building to keep a textile donation box on the premises. The idea is to make donating clothes as easy as dropping of recyclables. Most of these programs accept shoes also. But if you are looking for specific shoe donation centers, look up Soles4Souls, Nike.

RECYCLE: Wearable Collections has textile collection trucks/boxes around NYC. One convenient location: The Green Market at Union Square.

The Wearable Collections Philosophy.  Source: Wearable Collections.

RESELL: If you own well maintained branded/ vintage garments, you can sell them on ebay, craigslist, Big Wardrobe (swap/resell) or to local establishments. For example, in New York I found a shop called Second Time Around. They look for designer clothes and accessories in great condition and resell these pieces. You get a pre-decided percentage of the resale price when the piece you gave away sells. It is a cool shop, check it out. I found a Betsey Johnson hounds-tooth skirt in superb condition for $30 there. Woot!

Source: Big Wardrobe

REMAKE: If you got the skill of the needle and/or the creativity or know people who do, you can take an old garment and make something else out of it!

There I go again, I owe you more cookies now that I've made you read this super long post! Hit me up anytime to claim those cookies ;)

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