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Ten Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe Sustainably

Posted on March 14 2018

'Tis the season for closet cleaning! Here at Sancho's, we are big advocates of replenishing your wardrobe with sustainable capsule clothing and we want to offer you tips on how you can do the same...

Many of us think a lot about the food we eat, the products we buy, our reliance on fossil fuels, how we reuse and recycle our waste, and the impact of our carbon footprint on the environment. But we sometimes forget about sustainability when it comes to what we wear. 

The fast fashion industry is very unsustainable. Since the beginning of the 20th century, clothing has increasingly been considered as disposable, making the current clothing system extremely wasteful and polluting. Large amounts of nonrenewable resources are extracted to produce these clothes that are worn for only a short period, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incineration.

However, this doesn't mean you suddenly need to give away all your current fast fashion pieces or only buy secondhand. We understand that clothes shopping, for many, is a form of entertainment. The clothes we put on our bodies are a form of expression. We're excited by new trends or by classic staples. And none of this needs to change when shopping ethically and curating a capsule wardrobe! Ethical clothing can be just as, if not more, fashionable and better quality than high street fast fashion. And these garments are made with love! Love for you, love for the planet and love for the communities who create them.

There are many reasons why you should curate a capsule wardrobe. Here are just a few:

1.     Make you limit your consumption of clothing (which saves time, money and the world's resources)

2.     Make you more mindful of your wardrobe

3.     Encourage you to buy pieces with longevity and to also look after your clothes and make them last

4.     Save energy and time in the mornings

So here are our top ten tips for spring cleaning your wardrobe sustainably, without sacrificing fashion and style!

1. Separate your items

The first step to decluttering your wardrobe is taking out and separating your items. Sort them into categories; for example, pieces to keep, pieces to repurpose, pieces to sell and pieces to donate. If you need a fifth category to put the pieces you're currently umming and ahhing over, we won't blame you!

We understand that it can be difficult parting with certain clothes - maybe they hold special memories, or they look great on a hanger but just don't fit you quite right. When making decisions about which clothes to keep and which to dispose of, ask yourself what you have or haven't worn in the past year. Odds are if you haven't worn something in recent years, you probably won't wear it again.

However, that is not the case all of the time. Maybe there's a lil' gem hidden in the back of your wardrobe that you had forgotten about which would go really well with some of your newer items. In that case, keep it! 

2. Attend clothes swaps

One of the best (and most fun) ways of getting rid of old clothes and sourcing new ones is through clothes swaps. They are not only a good way to refill one's wardrobe but are also considered an act of environmentalism. Head to Google to find clothes swaps in your local area! If there aren't any clothes swaps happening near you anytime soon, why not hold your own with a group of friends? We'll be hosting a clothes swap here at Sancho's in April so keep your eyes peeled for that!

3. Repurpose items

Pieces that are broken or you simply don’t like anymore don't necessarily have to be tossed away immediately. Aside from donating or getting them fixed, there are endless possibilities of altering those pieces. Get a little creative and turn them into a brand new piece of clothing or even something else like a cushion! We have lots of repurposed items here at Sancho's such as our exclusive line of lingerie which was re-purposed from old wedding dresses from a local dressmaker in Exeter.

4. Donate wisely

Don't just chuck your clothes into landfill! That's a big no-no. If you want to make a bit of cash, sell your clothes on places like eBay or Depop. Otherwise, you can donate your clothes to charity shops or homeless shelters, and do a little good for the world while you're at it!

5. Buy ethically

So much new clothing these days is made from synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex and nylon. In other words, plastic fabric. Every time you wash your garments in the washing machine, millions of pieces of tiny fibres are released, of which around half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics.

When buying new clothes, look for organic cotton, hemp, ethically-raised wool, and other natural fibres - all of which are used in one way or another to make the clothing we stock here at Sancho's!

6. Buy secondhand

Buying clothes second hand not only saves you a heck of a lot of money but ensures that the second-hand clothes you purchase have an extra long lease on life, instead of going straight into landfill. Plus, if you're buying secondhand from a charity shop, you're also giving money to a good cause!

7. Stick with the essentials

In the case of your capsule wardrobe, less is more. Stick to the bare essentials: for women stick to a couple of dresses, a few jackets/coats, a few skirts, a few sweaters, a couple of pairs of trousers/jeans, a couple of shirts and a handful of t-shirts. This list will obviously differ from person to person, depending on what you enjoy wearing, but it's a good starting point for thinking about how much you actually need. Make sure you focus on sourcing items which mix and match really well and items which offer practicality, versatility and seasonality so you're never left stuck for new outfit ideas! 

However, sticking to the essentials doesn't mean that you can only buy monochrome pieces. Everybody needs a couple of great statement/confidence pieces to keep things interesting and make you feel empowered! But even with these, make sure you purchase items you can wear on multiple occasions so they don't go to waste.

8. Quality over quantity

Leading on from the last point, always value quality over quantity. It’s much smarter to invest in fewer pieces that are well-made. Always check potential troublemakers: zippers, buttons, hemlines as well as fabric and texture. Items made from recycled or environmentally friendly material and natural dyes tend to be much better quality and will thus have a longer lease of life.

9. Organise your wardrobe

At the end of the day, spring cleaning is all about decluttering and making everything fresh and tidy in time for the summer months. One way to motivate yourself to continue replenishing and curating your capsule wardrobe is to clean and organise your wardrobe. There are many different ways to organise your wardrobe: by colour, by occasion, by style or by season!

You can also invest in organisational pieces to ensure your items don't get creased. We basically want to encourage you to treat your clothes with a little more TLC, which will, in turn, increase their shelf life.

10. Have fun

Spring cleaning shouldn't be a chore or something you feel forced to do. It should be fun! Make it a party, either by yourself or with others. Put on a good playlist, get some fizz and nibbles in, and get organising. 

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