What if I told you that ethical shopping doesn't start with shopping? I was looking through some old posts and found my first Ethical Shopping 101 post that explained why I started researching what I was buying. In that post, I glossed over my process for how I was going about doing this, so I wanted to go more in depth with how I do this.
There are plenty of bloggers out there that are pushing things like “vegan leather” or “recycled denim”. Buying these things doesn't make you an ethical shopper. Ethical shopping actually starts with evaluating what's already in your closet. Today, I've put together a guide to help you figure out what you have in your closet. I based this off of the process that I use to go through my own things.
My process for cleaning out my closet
Give yourself the time you need.
First, schedule out an entire day to be able to tackle evaluating your closet. There's nothing worse than underestimating how much you have because you always have more. Giving yourself the time to go through each and every piece of clothing, every shoe and every accessory you own will allow you to evaluate each of them.
Empty out everything.
Marie Kondo isn't stupid. Taking all of your clothes out of the dresser, closet, dryer, or wherever else you hide your clothes forces you to confront your stuff head on. I recently moved to the Dallas area and had to empty out not only my closet but my entire place because I had to bring it with me. But once I had taken everything out and saw how much I had, I wanted to really evaluate each piece before putting everything back.
Try it on.
This is why I told you to schedule an entire day to focus on this. To know exactly what you have, you need to try everything on. Just because you have a pair of white jeans doesn't mean they still fit. I'm not one to ask if it brings me joy, but I will check to make sure that each item fits how I want it to. Clothing that fits well should make you feel good.
Evaluate each piece for quality.
Are there holes in that favorite tee of yours? Does that dress you love have a stain that will not come out, no matter how many times you wash it? Don't hold on to things that can't be mended. There are plenty of places that will help recycle clothing. One of those places is Madewell, who will give you a discount when you donate old pairs of jeans. Bonus: They don't have to be Madewell brand.
*Side note: As you're getting rid of some of these items, don't donate the ones that are in poor condition. I have volunteered at places to help sort clothes and found shirts with massive holes, denim that has been completely worn, and even dirty underwear. Really. Donating clothing in poor condition does not help anyone, so don't do it. Non-profits that help people are not your dumpster.
Donate or sell items that no longer fit your style.
When I was cleaning out my own closet, I realized that I still had a ton of clothes from high school. My style has definitely changed since then and I was holding on to things based on memories when they were collecting dust. By donating or selling these items, the clothes that don't fit your style get a new home with someone else!
I hope you find this post helpful as you clean out your closet. I know, cleaning out your closet is the last thing you want to do. But I promise, by knowing what you have, you'll know exactly what you need when you do start on your journey of ethical shopping.