Living Small: responsible decluttering


As previously mentioned my closet is bursting.  It’s filled to the brim and holds more clothes than I remember purchasing. When deciding to slim down my closet there are two main reasons for it: one, there’s the simplicity of maintaining and utilizing a lighter closet and two, it’s more environmentally sustainable to adopt good practices within your shopping habits.

Part of this simplification will require getting rid of a lot of older or underused pieces. I’m slowly making several passes over my closet and each time removing the things that I barely wear, that don’t match other things in my closet, that no longer fit properly, or that I simply don’t feel a strong attachment too. I tried to Konmari method, but if I’m being honest, a lot of my closet sparks joy, but I’m working on it. I’m slowly removing more and more and have a feeling that if I keep this up I’ll have the closet I want in a few short weeks.

Once I’ve decided what to remove it gets into the topic of how to remove. While the simplest way of doing this is a few trips to my trash chute, I would rather my old pieces be recycled or reused. Only 20% of discarded clothing items are reused (only around 1% are recycled). That’s staggering when you consider that in the US alone we send 21 billion pounds of textiles to landfills each year. A few of the options I’m exercising.



For a few of my more expensive pieces I’ve opted to sell them on Poshmark as a way to recoup some expense of purchasing them in the first place. This is also a get way to ensure that they are getting a second life with someone.



Specific to NYC there are several groups to donate clothes to. For all my professional attire that I don’t wear anymore, I’m donating to Dress for Success, an “international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life”.



This is similar to donating as I’m being very selective about where I donate my clothes to. I want to avoid the trendy spots as a lot of those places have high turnover and will toss any clothes that haven’t sold in their first few weeks on the shelf. Thrift stores like Housing Works and Cure Thrift Shop sell clothes, not for profit, but to fund lifesaving services for low-income people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and to fund Type 1 diabetes research and advocacy, respectively.



Not into a landfill, but into one of the large recycle bins located around the city. Using this map I’m finding one in my neighborhood. This is the last resort as personally I find it to be the laziest and before reaching this stage I’d like to dole out clothes as responsibly as possible (ex: giving professional attire to Dress for Success).

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