National Second Hand Wardrobe Week!

Each year the second full week in February is dedicated to celebrating National Second Hand Wardrobe Week.

You can celebrate this inherently ‘green’ week by swapping clothes with family, friends and neighbors, donating clothing to local charity organizations, or by buying clothing from a local thrift store.  By avoiding conventional new clothing items we can conserve resources, prevent pollution, save money, help others, and get creative.  Buying second hand can be especially helpful when outfitting your child(ren) since they tend to outgrow items at a rapid pace.  If you’re a parent you can give outgrown clothing new life by donating it to local families or a thrift store. 

I mentioned in one of my January posts that I was trying to come up with some sort of clothing resolution to reduce my consumer impact.  I’m so guilty of buying an abundance of clothing I don’t need and hanging on to clothing in the back of my closet that I will never end up wearing.  Admittedly, some of my wardrobe has been sitting in boxes neglected with tags still attached. 

In 2012, I lost almost all of my belongings in Super Storm Sandy.  I was left with pair of rainboots (that had a hole in one of the soles), and a pajama set that I had evacuated with plus a few miscellaneous items I had been carrying on my person.  I have never been so grateful for the kindness of strangers and the donations I received – especially the bag full of socks a coworker had brought me (I even used them to keep my hands warm).  While we were rebuilding and getting back on our feet our community was blessed with support from people who really cared.  It was only when I moved last year that I really noticed how much stuff I had acquired.  I have way more clothing items than I need and half of my clothing is either too small or two big.  It’s been a process these past 5 years to replace the donated items and items I bought hastily with a wardrobe that is my own.  And with each season that passes I am reminded that there are some things that I still haven’t gotten around to replacing.  Just last month I realized I still hadn’t invested in a pair of winter boots since the storm and felt it was time to splurge on a quality pair that will get me through many winters to come. 

Although I still haven’t pinpointed my exact green living goal regarding clothing I do know a few things.  This is a perfect time to inventory my current clothes and decide what is worth keeping and what I can pass along for others to enjoy.  As I go through the process of cleaning out my closet, my dressers, and the boxes collecting dust in my attic I plan to apply minimalist principles and keep only items that serve a purpose.  When I do acquire clothing I am going to try to stick to second hand items and I am going to try to buy mostly high quality, eco friendly, domestically produced, organic items.  I am going to try to limit the amount of clothing items I acquire and be sure to donate a few items in exchange for the new one to maintain balance.

Here are some ways to get started in celebrating the week of the second hand wardrobe:

1.  Inventory your clothing

2.  Swap 5 clothing items with a family member, friend or neighbor

3.  Donate 5 items of clothing to a local charity

4.  Explore your local second hand store or browse online thrift stores for a funky item to add to your wardrobe

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