Clothing and Sustainability

By Maddy Gourlay and Alyssa Smith


Have you just ‘Marie Kondoed’ your wardrobe and are now left with a mountain of perfectly good clothes that you don’t wear anymore? Like a lot of us, maybe you’ve just collected way too many clothes over the years and don’t know what to do with them. Sure, you can offer some things to your friends and family but what do you do with the rest of it?

Instead of just throwing out your unwanted items, you can donate them so that they can find a new home. Divide the pieces you no longer want into groups that fit the needs of a bunch of different organisations. This way, your unwanted clothes can have the best use in your community.

Women’s Refuge is a charity that provides housing, clothes, books etc. to women and children affected by domestic violence. If you find yourself left with unwanted clothes such as jackets, coats, thermal pieces, shoes, formal clothes, as well as any bedding or furniture, then the Women’s Refuge would love to take it. You know that box of your old books and toys from when you were a child that’s been pushed right to the back of your wardrobe? Well the children in the Women’s Refuge would love it.

The Women’s Refuge is not just about clothes nor is it just about women. Anything you own but no longer need, from bed socks to the biggest of jackets to children’s bedding, has the ability to completely change the life of someone in the refuge.

Everyone has seen and at least knows somebody that has used a clothing bin at some point in their life. But does anyone really know where the contents of these bins go? Once in the bins the good quality pieces go to places like Savemart where they’re sold for affordable prices. This is great as it gives people the opportunity to go shopping for clothes even if they don’t have a lot of money to spend.

The money that is made on the clothes then goes to the Child Cancer Foundation. Clothing bins and Savemart are perfect for items of clothing like t-shirts, jeans, tops, pyjamas and shoes that are still in good condition.

Everyone has seen a Salvation Army family store at one point in their life, I mean, they do have 125 stores across the country! However, it’s important to know that they aren’t just a run-of-the-mill second hand shop, the Salvation Army really does stand to make a difference. Like the organisations mentioned above, the criteria for donation is simply for the item to still be good in quality.

This organisation not only sells second hand goods for low prices, they also raise money for their foundation which goes towards emergency relief, community outreach programmes and services for children and youth in need. Like the Women’s Refuge, the Salvation Army accepts more than just clothes, they take anything from coloured glass to furniture! Any good quality item has the opportunity to really make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate.

When it comes to donating clothing or anything else, don’t just dump your items at the location of the charity in the middle of the night. Go in during the day when they’re open and talk to the workers. Go through your unwanted things together and find out what is most needed and what is not. While learning about the causes of the different foundations, you’ll get to see the impact your donations will be making.

A forgotten sweater in the back of your closet may have a huge impact on the life of another – it’s all about being selective with your donations so that they can be put to the best use possible. Although this process can take more time in your decluttering routine, it will also ensure that your unwanted belongings are being put to the best use possible.

Whether you donate one jacket or a pile of clothes, you’re making a positive difference in the lives of people less fortunate than you, which is a lot better than biffing all of your clothes after your big spring clean.