As an organizer, I spend a lot of time hauling away unused, unwanted, and unworn clothing from my client’s homes. If someone is not going to wear, mend or clean an item, I do believe that it needs to go. I don’t see my business drying up any time soon, given that Americans purchase a lot of clothes (I’m guilty of this, as well!)– spending roughly $82 billion each year according to some estimates! And despite buying new stuff, I still find that I typically wear about 20% of my clothing on a regular basis (in fact, I purchased two long sleeve t-shirts at Target last fall and admit to wearing them 3-4 days/week).
When I haul away a client’s clothes, I typically take them to our local PTA Thrift Shop or to Goodwill. I know that they sell a lot of the goods they receive at deep discounts to low income people locally. But I also know that a great deal of what they receive ends up being re-sold to recyclers or even overseas. Another “green” organizer just sent this article to me today from The Green Guide, and I think it does a great job of highlighting some of the issues related to clothes and shoe donations throughout the US. I urge you to read it to get a better understanding of what happens to clothes in America (9 million pounds are typically trashed and close to 300 million pounds are exported to developing nations!). It’s really enough to make you want to re-evaluate the clothes you have and stop and think before you buy!