Before the change of season sneaks in on us, I wanted to share with you 10 great tips from Recyclebank, the incentives and behavior change platform focused on waste, on getting your wardrobe looking like new without wasting a thing. From keeping your clothes in good shape and patching them up to swapping with neighbors and properly disposing of all the pieces beyond repair, these tips have you covered for the perfect wardrobe makeover.
1. Wash clothes in cold water. Clothes we love to wear tend to wear out quickly. By washing in cold water, washing less often (when possible), and skipping the dryer, you can help these clothes stay as vibrant as the day you bought them, and keep them around a little bit longer, too.
2. Invest in patches. As for any clothes that are beyond those care tips above? To squeeze the last little bit of life out of these clothes, try your hand at sewing up tears or adding patches to cover holes or worn spots. (Some types of patching will even fix rain boots that have sprung a leak!)
3. Wear your clothes for their unintended purposes. Make the most out of everything in your closet by styling your clothes in all different ways — for example, your favorite scarf could also double as a headband or even a poncho, depending on its size. This allows you to get more out of what you already have, which means you won’t be constantly shopping for new clothes… and no one will accuse you of being an outfit repeater.
4. Tailor hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs don't always have to look second-rate. To put your own spin on an old piece of clothing, get it tailored to fit you. And once it fits, you can add a patch, stitch on a new design, or change up little details like buttons to really make it your own.
5. Arrange a swap party. Hand-me-downs don't always work when limited to family, so expand your horizons! Swap clothes with neighbors — they're like the siblings you never had.
6. Raid a thrift shop. Shopping at places like thrift shops can also be a lot like coming into hand-me-downs, but you get to choose what you want — and there's usually a lot more to choose from. Freshen them up and make them your own the same way you would hand-me-downs.
7. Recycle old eyeglasses. Items like eyeglasses can be tricky to get rid of. You can't really hand them down to anyone you know, and recycling the individual materials (lenses and frames) isn't really possible. However, nonprofit organizations like Lions Club International have a different solution. They accept your old glasses by mail or drop-off, and reuse the lenses and frames for those in need.
8. Sell silver for gold. You might be hesitant to clear out those treasures in your jewelry box, but if they’re broken or outdated, you can sell them to get recycled and make some room (and $$$) for new bling.
9. Clean out the closet. When it's time to make room for some new (or “new”) clothes, do everything you can to give the clothes you’re done with a second life. Donate gently used clothes, and get creative with clothes that are too worn to be passed along — they might be able to be used as rags, be upcycled as bedding by animal shelters or as art materials by schools, or even recycled at special drop-off locations.
10. Use kitchen tools for storage. Yes, you read that right. Old dishes and cups that you were looking to get rid of could be the perfect tools to organize your jewelry. Our favorite kitchen-to-closet switch is using a cheese grater to hang your earrings from, so you can display them all at once (it makes it easier to choose which to wear!).