How To: Closet Purge Spring Cleaning!

Written by Mackenzie Bates, Edited by Aurora Hinz and Willa Tsokanis

Now that the weather has finally decided to grant us the gift of spring, we here at esa are giving you these great spring cleaning tips to start your new season off right!

First off, let’s discuss the difference between a thrift shop, consignment shop, donation center, and clothing swaps.

Thrift Shop: “a store selling secondhand clothes and other household goods, typically to raise funds for a charitable institution (”.

Consignment Shop: “a store that sells second-hand items (typically clothing and accessories) on behalf of the original owner, who receives a percentage of the selling price (”.

Donation Centers: a store like Goodwill or Salvation Army that you give your clothing to for free, which they sell to support their organizations. These are more controversial because of the amount of waste they create, the effects these centers have on third world countries, and the values held by the organizations that run them.

Clothing Swaps: “A clothing swap is a type of swapmeet wherein participants exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. Clothing swaps are considered not only a good way to refill one's wardrobe, but also are considered an act of environmentalism (wiki definition)”.

Cleanse Your Closet

Take a visual inventory! Go to your closet and pull out the things you aren’t wearing. Can you remember the last time you put on that t-shirt from 7th grade soccer?

If you notice clothing that is damaged – schedule the time to mend them. Mending and revamping your clothes saves you money and saves more textile from sitting in landfills - your wallet and your planet will thank you. (PLUS who doesn’t love pausing your day to take time for self-care???)

If you have grown out of the style, see what day of the week you can stop by after work to a donation center. Make sure to do a little research about the best donation places or clothing swaps in your local area if you’re not a NYC resident.

There are alternatives to donating clothes to traditional consignment shops as well. Stop & Swaps are becoming popular community events. (Here’s their website. Check them out!)

These events offer a more social and exchange based way to donate clothes - you may even be able to meet new people and learn more great tips. Whatever you don’t exchange you can drop off at a consignment shop on the way home. It can be a great way to find a thrifted dream item or meet someone who shares similar ideas about sustainability and have a good conversation.

NYC Resident Resources

I gathered some resources for New York City events and programs. My hope is that these are easy and accessible resources we can use to support a sharing-economy. A sharing-economy is an economy where assets or services are shared between private individuals. Most of these resources are free and available to everyone.

It’s important for us to realize what our impact on the planet is and to think practically about the habits we can change to lessen the damage. If we donate our clothes and they find a new owner - it keeps them out of a landfill for longer.

If we can’t donate our clothes can we repurpose them in other ways? Of course we can! Esa has tutorials for revamping old clothing and even hosts events to teach you how to repurpose your clothing to keep it out of landfills. It’s a small improvement but when we can change small things we can find solutions for the bigger things.

I will be making a Part II article for Sustainable Spring Cleaning. I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve and tips to share with you. Together we can turn garment trash into treasure!

P.S. - If you don’t live in New York – you can search online for community services offered in your area and see where you can become involved. Thanks for reading!

Resources Below

GrowNYC Stop & Swap Calendar (All Boroughs)

Eventbrite Link: Clothing Swap Search

Check Eventbrite more frequently week of – it’s good for the last minute plan. They post two weeks in advance typically and usually offer more options for location/borough. You can also make a date with your friends and go together. Not all Eventbrite events are free but most options are! I saw House of Yes is hosting a swap :)

esa New York Do & Brew

A clothing swap event that offers DIY upcycling tutorials and mending education. Guests bring gently worn clothes to trade, you can have a drink, and learn about cool hands-on ways to update your wardrobe. Alterations are offered for any pieces that don’t fit like a glove. The recent Spring Do & Brew hosted onsite embroidery - a guest could have their denim jacket embellished with signature esa designs. There were distressing tutorials and a guest could learn how to shred their denim into cool new ways.*if anyone wants to expand on what do&brew / esa is*