It’s Time for a Back to School Wardrobe Purge!

shutterstock_142921822Back to school preparations can be an exciting time for many families. Poring through catalogues to see what this year’s back-to-school fashion essentials are, planning the ‘first day back’ outfit, and finding the perfect school bag are all fun traditions this time of year.

Unfortunately, there are many students that don’t have these luxuries, and are forced to wear dated clothing that they have long outgrown.

Many kids don’t even have health and safety essentials like winter protective gear, much less the latest fashions. Although being fashionable may be considered a superficial luxury, one can still appreciate the social struggles of trying to fit in among your peers at the school age. Fashion is one way kids bond and express themselves.

There is something to be said for having confidence boosted by what we wear. We think all kids deserve to feel that they look cool.

If you have kids that tend to have overflowing wardrobes of things hardly worn, there is a great learning opportunity available about charity, as well as sustainability and recycling. Not only that, but we could all benefit from taking some time to really examine why we keep clothing. Maybe its time for a fresh organized start! Here are some tips:

The One Year Rule

Go through your closets in detail. If you haven’t worn an item in the last year, and its still in the closet, consider putting it in a donate pile. Of course, some items, like your grandma’s favourite scarf, or baby’s first shoes are just too precious to part with, and that’s ok. But be ruthless with everything else. The ‘lucky jeans’ you will likely never fit into again, or the ‘perfectly good, its almost new, a shame to get rid of it’ top you never wear….it’s time to give these things away.

Pillage through every drawer and closet, leaving only what you wear on regular rotation behind. In fact, any textile that isn’t used regularly, even pillows, blankets, and old towels, regardless of condition can be donated. Just start shoving them in big garbage bags. Don’t bother folding or organizing anything. Don’t forget shoes, boots, belts, purses and jackets too!

98% of all of that is recyclable. Then  load up your car and head to a local used clothing donation bin near you and toss in your bags. You get bonus points if you do some online research and find a clothing recycling charity you really believe in!

Celebrate the Purge

Most people report that doing a drastic purge like that makes them feel lighter and more organized, even if the process caused a bit of anxiety at first. The fact that donating old textiles and clothes is supporting a charity really is an uplifting part of the process. The more you donate, the more services are being supported in your community.

Fashionistas even report that doing the purge leaves their closet feeling like a blank canvas of essentials they can then boost up with new choices. More room for more clothes! W00t!

The best part is, by donating your used clothing to charity bins, you are doing more than just funding a local charity. Textile recycling is a growing green-tech industry that is energizing local economies. Your donations are sorted by type and quality. Clothing that is in good condition will be donated to people in need, and other pieces are resold to fund the collecting charity. Textiles that is in poor condition still gets used, being others transformed into industrial rags and upholstery stuffing. None of the textiles you donate to clothing bins goes to landfill, period.

Your closet purge doesn’t just benefit you, it also benefits your local community in many ways, by energizing itself through green-tech jobs charity funding. Talk about motivation to get organized!

One way to stay on top of your wardrobe (and your fast growing kids’ wardrobes too!) is to keep it in perspective; every time you add a new piece to your wardrobe, donate one or two older pieces. This will keep your closet organized and your wardrobe current.

Note: Hoarding is a serious condition. If you or a loved one are suspected of being a hoarder, and need help, please contact your local chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association for access to support and services.

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