A good friend recently invited me to a clothing swap, and at first, I was slapped with a moment of anxiety wondering what I should bring. What do I have that others would want? Once I pulled myself together, I realized how absolutely ridiculous this was. This was a brilliant idea!
I have always been a person who would rather spend the money on a few good pieces that work together rather than hit the Old Navy sale that allows me to bring home 20 things for the same price as the two I know I will have and love forever. This has since found a name, and I am happy to say that although I do still have way more than I need I have been unconsciously curating a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for years. This uncool girl will take that as a very exciting win!
As a family, we have rotated clothing through a variety of sources as we no longer require them for years. We find a balance between donating and selling to second-hand stores. There is a feel-good notion about giving to someone who needs something more than you, and we will always incorporate this into our ‘recycling’ program. We have found that having the kids go through their closets and sort through what no longer fits or gets worn is a great way to teach them how to stay on top of being organized, but it also allows them to be part of the purge.
Once closets and dressers have been gone through the sorting begins, the next to new, pristine items that are brand name labels go into the second-hand store pile, the warm and outdoor items always in the donation pile for the cities outreach teams and drop in shelters. The rest is then sorted between nice enough to donate to someone in need (be it a church, immigration centre, lower income neighbourhood school, shelter, fundraising charity, community swap etc…) and the stained and well-worn items that can be stripped down into work rags for the barn.
The lesson in all of these steps is a great one for our kids. They learn the value in both giving to others (we bring them to drop the items off to our chosen charities) and also the reward in taking good enough care of your items to in turn be paid for them.
I love that the kids get just as excited to go to the local second-hand stores as the mall to spend and replenish what we just purged. They often find items that still have the tags on and have never even been worn. The lessons are endless when they see the value that they can get purchasing previously worn items vs. the same item brand new at the store. This is not to say that we don’t still shop for them at all the current trend stores as well. It’s about balance.
The point is that when my girlfriend suggested this clothing swap for our next get together, I don’t know why I panicked. I know that I have a closet full of things that are good quality and of similar style to so many who will be there. So why not share and swap and bring something new that was already out there in the world? There are so many wastes, and unethical practices that go into the clothing industry why not find a new way to make use of what already exists?