Over the weekend, my sisters and I cleaned out my mom’s apartment and prepared to move her to a skilled nursing wing. Even though we did massive amounts of purging when she moved out of her house, we still found ourselves with a van-full of donations for the local Goodwill.

And what comprised the majority of items? You guessed it: clothes.

I have become conscious — and thus astonished — by the amount of clothes that people discard every day. The career clothes closet where I volunteer literally is overflowing with donations. The local Goodwill even appears to be reaching its limit as it has a warehouse full of castaways. 

Unfortunately, clothes are designed with planned obsolescence. Fashion changes not only with the seasons, but with the whims of designers who want to inspire people to buy new each year. Even if trends stayed the same, body size doesn’t. I have given away perfectly good items because they were too big or too small, and I know I am not alone in doing so. Kids outgrow clothes about as fast as you can buy them, adding to the excess. Rarely do clothes “wear out.” 

The mantra of environmental consciousness is “reduce, re-use, recycle.” We should apply that lesson to clothes purchases. It may not seem like a bad thing to clean out the wardrobe when you are giving the clothes away instead of adding them to the trash, but there are just far too many donated clothes than what people are using. 

I’d suggest that you think twice before you buy new items. Consider buying at Goodwill (etc.) instead of just dropping things off there. Share with friends who have similar aged children. Add a new accessory and make those clothes last one more season. 

It may be fun to be fashion forward, but you’ll be even more stunning if you are  environmentally forward instead.

beth triplett

Donated clothes at Goodwill

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