Many people are under the impression that donating their old clothing to second hand shops is a charitable act that will provide those in need with affordable apparel.
Although this is partly true... the impact of over consumption and continued fast fashion trends often bombard second hand stores with more donations than they can sell. Due to this overload of donations, second hand stores need to seek out buyers to purchase in bulk based on weight or unfortunately, donations essentially become garbage. Many thrift store owners/managers work hard to divert waste and find buyers for specific categories like e-waste and metal recycling, but this takes time and resources that not all businesses have.
"...unfortunately, donations essentially become garbage."
Image Descriptions (left to right): retro ochre yellow and white shaggy checkerboard patterned carpet, vintage black and white octagonal tile flooring. Image copyright: emske, design studio
All this being said, we understand that weightless/freeing feeling of "spring cleaning", but imagine if you never even had to worry about going through your stuff to declutter your life because everything you owned had a use or was special to you. Bodies change and things can lose their purpose in your life, this we are aware of, so sometimes it is important to let things go and hit refresh. All we are saying, is maybe not so often?
- BUY LESS
We understand that this is always being said, and that it truly can be hard to combat since capitalism and marketing reign supreme in our world. What we recommend is educating yourself about the brands you are buying from, vote with your dollar, save up and buy something special that will last the test of time and will make you feel amazing when you wear it.
- Ask yourself "WILL I WANT THIS IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?"
This only seems like a crazy question in this day and age. Years ago when purchasing new clothing wasn't as common as purchasing groceries, people had to wait for a new catalogue to come out to order their clothing from and then wait weeks for it to arrive. There was less instant gratification, so more time was put into clothing purchases since people thought ahead, making sure they would still like it in the weeks, months, years to come.
- SET LIMITS
Are you addicted to shopping fast fashion even though you know it's something you don't ethically stand by? Do you buy on trend items thinking you will love them forever only to find them stuffed into the back of your closet after a few weeks? Try setting limits for yourself, by this we mean limiting the amount of exposure you have to online/in person shops that trigger your impulse to buy. How about checking in with who you are following on social media, many times we don't even realize we are being "sold" to when we are.
These are just a few thoughts, we welcome constructive conversation always and hope this provides a bit of insight.
Supporting articles and further reading